Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm travelling through Poland, and will be unable to post for a couple of days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Big bomb.

Check out Times on Line:

Nestled deep in George Bush’s latest $190 billion request to Congress for emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a tantalising little item that has received scant attention.

The US Department of Defence has asked for an additional $88 million to modify B2 stealth bombers so that they can carry a 30,000lb bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator (or MOP, in the disarming acronymic vernacular of the military).

Welcome to America.

Check out the video that Disney made for the US Government, for free, to welcome visitors to the country.

I like it! It captures what the US is all about.

The UN: a communist creation?

The UN, its creation, and its communist roots. Check it out here.

The Anglosphere.

Read Christopher Hitchens' article on "how a shared tradition of ideas and values—not bloodlines—can be a force for liberty". Two great quotes:

Arthur Conan Doyle:

You Americans have lived up to now within your own palings, and know nothing of the real world outside. But now your land is filled up, and you will be compelled to mix more with the other nations. When you do so you will find that there is only one which can at all understand your ways and your aspirations, or will have the least sympathy. That is the mother country which you are now so fond of insulting. She is an Empire, and you will soon be an Empire also, and only then will you understand each other, and you will realize that you have only one real friend in the world.
On the UN: "...the UN—in its failure to confront the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur and in its abject refusal to enforce its own resolutions in the case of Iraq—is a prisoner of the “unilateralism” of France, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, China."

Thank you!

I just discovered a "special" blog, Bill & Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure. The author is right:


This is what it's all about. You can see a lot of the emotions of Afghanistan on their faces. Determination, friendliness, happiness, uncertainty, and trepidation are all there on one face or another. The children of Afghanistan are the future of Afghanistan, and when these children are educated and grown and live in an Islamic democratic society that works, there will be no home in Afghanistan for extremism. That is what will make our country and all the countries of the world safer.

It is not something that will be fixed overnight. And in the meantime there is more work for soldiers and police to do. Either we can do it, or our sons can do it for us. I know that I would prefer that my sons not have to do this.

Germany: A society without children is a society without a future.

Read the article in the Weekly Standard written by Steven Ozment, professor of history at Harvard, about Germany's plight.

In Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Germany, native birth rates barely leave a single offspring behind to replace its two parents. As a result, large and growing numbers of foreign workers--predominately Bosnian, Turkish, and African Muslims--have immigrated to Western Europe to work the vacant, or unwanted, jobs native Europeans now lack the manpower to fill. The economic and social costs of European reluctance to be "fruitful and multiply," as the Bible puts it, are high and going higher for Europeans. Denmark's immigrant population is only 5 percent Muslim, yet that 5 percent receives 40 percent of the state welfare budget, and those families are just beginning to grow.

The civic and political costs promise to become even more frightening as immigrant populations
grow unchecked and assimilation to European languages and culture remains partial and increasingly tactical. Should there be successful Muslim proselytizing among German youth--many of whom do not share their elders' flight from the traditional family, religion, and work ethic--Germany could become, religiously if not yet politically, a mixed Muslim state within a quarter-century.

In Germany's large Muslim communities, speaking German and mastering the German Basic Law are proving to be effective tools not only for immigrant assimilation to German culture, but also for the ascendancy of immigrant culture over German. With the continuing growth of these communities, and the construction of mammoth mosques within them, will come increasing demands by the inhabitants to govern by sharia law rather than by German Basic Law.

One might have expected that Germans, who have been historically Europe's most theologically literate people, would have rediscovered and reembraced the lessons and resources of their own Catholic and Protestant heritage in coming to terms with European Islam. The misdeeds and shortcomings of those Christian churches in the 20th century do not merit their present oblivion. This is especially true in light of Christianity's vital historical contributions to European law, culture, and polity, without which Germans might still today be wandering across Germania in search of an Arminius.

Despite some countervailing evangelical straws in the wind, Germans today have hardened their agnosticism and atheism against established religion, apparently believing, counterintuitively, that the sermons of Luther and Bonhöffer are a less mighty fortress against Germany's gnawing problems (low native birth rates and bleak existentialism) than the old tin drums of Günter Grass and Jürgen Habermas. It is a good German question to ask today: Which of the two are more likely to assist new mothers with child-care and child-rearing and keep Germans' sunny-side up?

A year and a half ago, in a gripping interview with Die Zeit, Matthias Platzeck, Franz Müntefering's successor as Social Democratic party chairman, complained about the large numbers of Germans who no longer believe in the traditional German family, religion, and work ethic. One need only count late-20th-century Germany's historically low birth rates, scant church attendance, and mini-work-weeks with early retirement and cushy pensions, to see the gravity of Platzeck's complaint.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

80% of Afghans want the "foreign" troops to remain.

Here's the Toronto Sun's story:

If the CBC had known that a public opinion poll it co-sponsored in Afghanistan would turn out the way it did, you can be assured the CBC wouldn't have had anything to do with it.

Conducted by Environics, the poll probes the attitude of Afghans towards Canadian troops -- both in the Kandahar region, where our guys are fighting the Taliban, and throughout the country.

Only 15% of Afghans wanted Canadian troops to leave immediately; the greater proportion of 80% wanted them to remain until the Taliban was crushed.
You can read more about it here as well.

Extreme makeover...


thanks to a joint Iraqi-US effort at the Yarmook Girls' School in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood. $200,000.00 in new roof, paint, etc., to help repair the school during the summer months.

Canada and its smoking laws: Muslims can smoke, infidels cannot.

Read all of Mark Steyn's column. Here's an excerpt:

“The decline of the West,” wrote Samuel P Huntington, is still in the slow first phase, but at some point it might speed up dramatically.” What is the point at which it becomes irreversible? If you’re on a river heading over the falls, it’s not the moment when you plunge over the precipice and are dashed on the rocks below. That’s the great visual dividing line – Joseph Cotton in Niagara: one minute his boat’s horizontal, next it’s heading straight down. But the critical point happens way back upstream. It’s still flat, it’s still the river not the distant falls, but what you thought were the placid shallows has, in fact, a strong silent running current and, before you even know it, you’re being swept along.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on Poland's elections:

...from Finland: "Poland is still deeply divided. The voter turnout was the highest since the fall of communism. This time the urban middle classes and the Poles living abroad who want a closer relationship to the EU played a key role. ... This generation was tired of having to be ashamed of its politicians and has now hit back. Nonetheless, the fact remains that 45 percent of the population didn't vote."

And from Poland: "Over 80 percent of Poles support European integration. The government has the legitimation to act in this area. ... Over the past 14 months Poland has acquired a reputation for acting as a brakesman and even blocking joint EU initiatives for the sake of national interests. If we became the first to ratify the new treaty we would act as the engine that puts the treaty on a new track."

More reaction from Germany...

regarding Poland's elections: "Europe is delighted by the decision of Polish voters to replace conservative Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski with the EU-friendy Donald Tusk. German commentators welcome the swing to the political center."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Night and Day.

I went to see this show the other day - there were impressive kicks and maneuvres, though it would have been nice to have had some dancing to old melodic tangos:


Last night, I watched Top Hat for the umpteenth time. What grace and beauty. That's why it's ageless. Enjoy Cheek to Cheek:



On Poland's elections:

From the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Online (by subscription only, so here are excerpts):

It was billed Poland's most important election in 18 years, and it didn't disappoint. Sunday's poll won't have the impact of the historic June 1989 vote that brought on communism's death throes in Europe. But it should resonate outside Poland.

The election immediately ends, after two years, the strange double act atop Polish politics. A surprise Civic Platform victory pushed Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski out, though his identical twin, President Lech Kaczynski, stays on.

But Civic Platform's triumph heralds more than a change of personalities. Voters handed power to economic liberals in the Thatcher mold. They also dumped two extremist parties from Parliament, giving lie to the oft-heard trope that Eastern Europe suffers from some incurable populist bug. And, in the highest voter turnout since 1989, young people with hazy memories of communism made themselves heard for the first time, bringing a welcome generational shift.

********
Poland transitioned to the current post-post-communist era in 2005, when the main ruling left-wing party tainted by corruption was rudely bounced out of power. Donald Tusk, the conciliatory leader of Civic Platform who barely lost the 2005 presidential election, comes from the same rightish political camp as Law and Justice. In Sunday's election, Civil Platform and Law and Justice won three in four votes.

As we wrote two years ago, Mr. Tusk and the Kaczynskis were poised to build the Polish version of the "Reagan coalition" with security hawks, patriots and ardent free marketeers all under the same roof. These parties had promised to form a governing coalition then but true to national character, squabbled and turned into adversaries, probably for good. The Kaczynskis went on to regret their coalition with the extremists.

Mr. Tusk now has another opportunity to realize a new political era. His party doesn't need to shy away from remembering the traumas of Poland's recent past. But his success will depend far more on reviving its role as a pacesetter for economic transformation. In the early 1990s, its "shock therapy" reforms showed the world the surest path from communism to free market. Civic Platform can make Poland a liberal laboratory. The party wants to reduce the deficit and cap spending to prepare Poland for tax cuts and the euro and to skinny down its burgeoning state. If Mr. Tusk manages to implement a flat tax on personal and corporate income by 2009 -- following the example of many of its neighbors -- Poland will be the largest EU country with one.
*****
...mark Sunday as another triumph of representative democracy in this region. Though sometimes rambunctious, Poland is a model of vitality for Western Europe's more stodgy political systems. And if Mr. Tusk plays his cards right, it could yet become an economic model, as well.



Whoever Did This Knew What They Were Doing...

...according to California Fire Battalion Chief. "Fire officials are now stating that the Orange County Santiago fire was purposely set and there is speculation that other fires may have also been deliberate."

Laura Bush helped launch in 2006 the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research.



The First Lady launched the "Making It Our Business: Breast Cancer Awareness" Program in Dubai, and here are her remarks.

A Polish-American disconnect?

Regarding elections in Poland:

Contrary to the opinions of voters in Europe, were it up to Polish American voters, based on their preferences shown in the Polish elections, Poland's Kaczynski Government would not only have stayed in power, it would have taken majority control of the Sejm and Senat.

Viva La Muerte. "Long live death".

This is the rallying cry of jihadist "suicide" terrorists.

Curiously, the important link between Islamist terror violence and repressed male sexuality remains widely unrecognized. Regarding female suicide bombers, even less is understood.
****
What genuinely animates Islamist "suicide" terror is the tangibly ecstatic promise of personal salvation through sacred acts of killing. It is. then, this particular redemptive promise that blocks the way to American and Western success in counter-terrorism at home and abroad. From a military standpoint, it is an incomparable offer that can never be countered with bombs or with "boots on the ground."
Read the whole article here.

Women's rights: where are the Western feminists?

WARNING: The video below is SHOCKING and VERY DISTURBING.



A German view:

of elections in Poland. Check out Der Spiegel here and here.

The human bomb: The destructive principle inheres in us, whether we know it or not—this is the persistent message of the tragedians.

A MUST READ from André Glucksmann:

For half a century, we fashioned our peace, both external and internal, according to Sartre’s fragile axiom: “The atomic bomb is not available to just anyone; the crazy person [who unleashed Armageddon] would have to be a Hitler.”

Great confusion understandably resulted when this certainty disintegrated before our eyes, exploded by human bombs in Manhattan. An annihilating power is available today, or will soon be available, to just about anyone; the destructive will of an enemy without borders, equivalent to Nazi dreams, targets civilians: this combination amounts to a do-it-yourself Hitler kit. How can one make sense of, how can one neutralize, a human bomb?
*******
The worst of the storm has barely passed, and one is busy “moving on”—renovating dead-end roads, regilding the clocks of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. We turn away from reality and its truths, which are neither easy to live with nor pleasant to talk about. Before long, repression is complete.

Will repression overtake us again as we get further from the revelation of 9/11? “
******
We have entered another world. The threat of a new Ground Zero, small or great, advances behind a mask. The human bomb claims the power to strike anywhere, by any means, at any time, spreading his nocturnal threat over the globe, invisible and thus unpredictable, clandestine and thus untraceable. The terrorist without borders makes us think about him always, everywhere. Without an accidental delay on the tracks—just a few minutes—the pulverization of two trains in Madrid, at the Atocha station, would have claimed 10,000 victims, three times more than in Manhattan. Then there was London. Whose turn is next? Each of us waits for the next explosion.
**********
In Iraq, then, what rages is a war of terror against civilians, not a war of independence against an occupying foreign army and its indigenous military supporters. Vietnam is far away; those who miss Woodstock forget that the world has changed in 40 years.
********
The fight to avoid the Somalization of the planet is just beginning, and it will probably dominate the twenty-first century. If they resist the sirens of isolationism, Americans will learn from their mistakes. Europe will either resolve to help them or abandon itself to the care of the petro-czar Vladimir Putin, who stands ready to police the old continent, while preaching antiterrorist terrorism, with his devastation of Chechnya as a case in point. The borderless challenge of emancipated warriors allows us little leisure for procrastination.
Read the whole article.

Islamofascism.

Christopher Hitchens' Defending Islamofascism - It's a valid term. Here's why.

Historically, fascism laid great emphasis on glorifying the nation-state and the corporate structure. There isn't much of a corporate structure in the Muslim world, where the conditions often approximate more nearly to feudalism than capitalism, but Bin Laden's own business conglomerate is, among other things, a rogue multinational corporation with some links to finance-capital. As to the nation-state, al-Qaida's demand is that countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia be dissolved into one great revived caliphate, but doesn't this have points of resemblance with the mad scheme of a "Greater Germany" or with Mussolini's fantasy of a revived Roman empire?


A President's heavy heart...

bestowing the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy.

















Monday, October 22, 2007

A clash of Polish civilizations?

? "The Polish elections broke down to a contest between two distinct regions of Poland occupied by people of distinct age groups, lifestyles and cultures."

Sin palabras...

Nobel laureate Doris Lessing said the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States were "not that terrible" when compared to attacks by the IRA in Britain.
"September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible," the Nobel Literature Prize winner told the leading Spanish daily El Pais.

"Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings fell, but it was neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as they think. They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be," she said in an interview published Sunday.

A must-read from Iraq:

If you want to really know what's going on in Iraq, you must read the dispatches written by this intrepid independent journalist, Michael Yon. Here are excerpts of his latest contribution:

All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.
********
Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn—whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts.
*******
As I travel around the world, I see that even many of our close allies have a false impression of American soldiers as brutally oppressive towards people. Even our great friends in Singapore and the United Kingdom, and the pro-American people on the island of Bali, Indonesia, think we are savaging people. This loss of moral leadership will be costly to Americans on many fronts for many generations to come.
*******
It is important that Americans let their best and clearest voices be heard around the world. If the world contained only twenty people, only one would be American. We represent about 5% of the world population. What those other nineteen people think about America is truly very important to each one of us. We cannot afford to let the media around the world continue promulgating so many recycled misconceptions about our soldiers and the character of our nation.
Michael Yon is famous for having taken this poignant photo:

Go visit his website, for an eye opener. He represents America's best.

Majority of Cubans Want to Vote for Castro’s Replacement:

"A survey conducted in Cuba for the International Republican Institute (IRI) indicates that nearly three-quarters of Cubans surveyed (73.9%) would like “to vote to decide who succeeds Fidel Castro” as President. The survey of 584 Cubans was conducted from September 5-October 4, 2007." Read more about the IRI Survey.


Cuba's Threat to U.S. National Security .

The Heritage Foundation has a featured series called "Cuba at the Crossroads":

Over the next few months, leaders from Congress, the Executive Branch, academia, and the media will come to Heritage to lead focused discussions on the potential role of the United States in shaping post-Castro Cuba, the future of U.S.–Cuba relations, and the role a newly democratic Cuba might play in the hemisphere.

Cuba's Threat to U.S. National Security

The next event will feature a discussion of the many ways that Castro's Cuba threatens U.S. national security. A number of security issues stand out:

  • Cuba is aggressively spreading anti-Americanism throughout Latin America and is deeply involved in backing and advising the increasingly totalitarian and virulently anti-U.S. regime of Venezuelan dictator-President Hugo Chávez.
  • Since Raul Castro took the reins as acting head of state in 2006, Cuban intelligence services have intensified their targeting of the U.S. Since 9/11, however, U.S. intelligence agencies have reduced the priority assigned to Cuba.
  • Cuba's Directorate of Intelligence (DI) is among the top six intelligence services in the world. Thirty-five of its intelligence officers or agents have been identified operating in the U.S. and neutralized between 1996 and 2003. This is strong evidence of DI's aggressiveness and hostility toward the U.S.
  • Cuba traffics in intelligence. U.S. intelligence secrets collected by Cuba have been sold to or bartered with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and other enemies of the United States. China is known to have had intelligence personnel posted to the Cuban Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) site at Bejucal since 2001, and Russia continues to receive Cuban SIGINT information. Additionally, many Cuban intelligence agents and security police are advising Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.
  • Cuban intelligence has successfully compromised every major U.S. military operation since the 1983 invasion of Grenada and has provided America's enemies with forewarning of impending U.S. operations.
  • Beijing is busy working to improve Cuban signals intelligence and electronic warfare facilities, which had languished after the fall of the Soviet Union, integrating them into China's own global satellite network. Mary O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal has noted that this means the Chinese army, at a cyber-warfare complex 20 miles south of Havana, can now monitor phone conversations and Internet transmissions in America.

(Hat tip: Babalu).

Results of Polish elections:

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski conceded defeat to the Civic Platform Party led by Donald Tusk. "Tusk says he wants Poles to feel comfortable in their own country again. Civic Platform is a center-right party which has pushed for lower taxes on businesses, a smaller bureaucracy, and closer integration into the European economic system. Tusk has said he will seek to withdraw Polish forces from Iraq."

Read more here.

Here's more: Young voters return home to secure defeat of right-wing twin

And, for interesting commentary check out Free Republic.

Amsterdam "youths" riots...

Check out Klein Verzet for an update on the car burnings in Amsterdam. It has been 6 nights already...

When the French "youths" rioted and burnt cars in Paris, it seemed we all paid more attention to this. I think, like everything else, we are becoming too accustomed to these incidents, and do not react with the outrage we once had.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stalin's children.

“The Whisperers” by Orlando Figes "is a humbling monument to the evil and endurance of Russia's Soviet past and, implicitly, a guide to its present."

Vaclav Havel on architecture.

Jan Kaplicky's futuristic design for a new national library
in the Czech Republic



Václav Havel: "I was delighted that Prague, which has so few beautiful or modern buildings, would finally have an interesting structure that would make architectural history. ... But my delight was premature. Mediocrity and triteness have once again won the day. ... Prague and all our other cities are spreading out like cancers in all directions and destroying large tracts of Czech countryside. ... If you leave Prague you can travel for miles without coming across a single town, street, village or woods - just supermarkets, hypermarkets, car dealerships, administration buildings, warehouses, huge car parks and other anonymous buildings. In sum: mindless nothingness. ... The library debacle is just one small example, but it's typical of these times and particularly of the Czech brand of capitalism."

Of Poland, generational gaps, elections, and cherubs.

The International Herald Tibune's story on Polish elections:

The text message spread with viral speed among the cellphones of Polish youths. With national parliamentary elections coming up Sunday, kids had a clear mission: "Steal your grandmother's ID," the text jokingly implored.

It referred to the conventional wisdom here that conservative older women put the ruling Law and Justice Party and the Kaczynski brothers - the famous twins with the round faces of aging cherubs who are prime minister and president - into office. Without their identity cards, the grandmothers would not be able to vote. If granny does not vote, the government could be driven from office.
For background information, there's more here.

Ethnic Swedish ...

converts to Islam. There are about 5,000 of them, many female:

Imaan Granath, another Swedish woman who converted to Islam, says that people "have to look at Islam from a non-Arab perspective." Granath’s story started with her fascination with the tale of Aladdin:“I’ve always been interested in different cultures, I loved travelling and loved learning languages. When I was a kid I used to dress up as an Arab princess - and I still do."

Christian-Muslim dialog.

An initial Christian response to the letter from 138 Muslim scholars to the Christian community:

"Muslims do not accept that one can discuss the Koran in depth, because they say it was written by dictation from God," [Cardinal Jean-Louis] Tauran said. "With such an absolute interpretation, it is difficult to discuss the contents of faith."

The fact that Muslims can build mosques in Europe while many Islamic states limit or ban church building cannot be ignored, he said. "In a dialogue among believers, it is fundamental to say what is good for one is good for the other," he said.

Anti-Americanism American style.

Understanding anti-Americanism made (and harbored) in USA:

The truth is that America not only harbours the most eloquent and noisy anti-Americans in its own breast, it provides a safe haven for people to come from all over the world to condemn it.
***
The Americans who win global approbation in Oslo or at the UN are not simply critics of current American policy. They want to construct an international system that will for ever prevent the US from pursuing its own objectives, a system designed to dilute, counterbalance and constrain America’s ability to govern itself. They prefer a world in which American democracy is subordinated to a kind of global government, rule by a global elite, tasked to make decisions on everyone’s behalf in the name of multilateralism.
***
Fortunately, while the American system may be forgivingly tolerant of people with wild and dangerous ideas, it doesn’t generally let them run the country.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Diplomacy.

"Britain spent nearly $10,000 on a surprise 50th birthday party for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2004."
And this is news now?????

"If it were anybody other than the Brits (or maybe the Aussies) I'd consider a $90 per head party to be a slap to the national face."

72-year-old Iraqi man kills suicide bomber:

He was guarding a post. "'I did it for the honor of my family and the honor of my country,' said Baresh, when he met with Col. Terry Ferrell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division."

Anti-Americanism in Ireland, UK, France...

Fascinating videos on European anti-Americanism. Even young school children in France's elite school are absorbed by it.

There are some amusing moments (French meeting to discuss the terms "airbag" versus "coussin gonfable"), and some very touching scenes, especially Videos 3 and 4, which cover Poland. The Polish clips are a must-see.















Why America doesn't ratify treaties...

Anti-Americanism rears its ugly head whenever the subject of treaties comes up, because the US is perceived to be arrogant by not signing or ratifying "international treaties that the rest of the world endorses".

There are ... two main differences between the American system and the more usual Parliamentary system of dealing with treaties. First, the President can only make Treaties with the consent of two-thirds of the Senate. That is why President Clinton signed Kyoto but did not ratify it, as the Senate voted preemptively 95-0 against consenting to any treaty that was agreed along Kyoto's lines.

Secondly, and more importantly, treaties trump national law, having the same status as the Constitution. This means that activists can take the US Government to court and have national law quashed on the basis of a treaty commitment. Judges can also instruct the Federal Government to take steps to meet treaty commitments.
Read the whole explanation here.

Also,
It is a common misconception that the senate ratifies treaties. The senate does not ratify a treaty. Under the constitution, the senate's function is to consent to a treaty (or decline to do so). It is the president who ratifies. That is, if the senate consents to a treaty by the required two-thirds vote, that act does not operate to make the treaty the law of the land. The president still has to ratify.

The president cannot ratify without senate consent, but the senate's consent does not create an obligation on the president's part to ratify. Moreover, presidents can unilaterally pull us out of treaties — as Bush, for example, did with the ABM treaty and, more recently, with the Optional Protocol to the Treaty on Consular Notification. If ratification were a legislative act, I don't believe a president could reverse it unilaterally — it would have to be done by statute. The president has this power, however, because ratification is an executive act.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Poland is selling one of its most potent symbols of freedom — the Gdansk shipyard on the country's northern coast."

"I don't like it," [former President of Poland, Lech] Walesa says. "You don't sell your mother."

Who are the "diminutive, elfin-faced" "poison dwarfs"?

They are the identical twins, Poland's Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, as they are referred to by the press. (Interesting how one never reads about Iran's President as being a "poison dwarf" or Venezuela's President having an "elfin-face"!).

They seem to rattle everyone... akin to a Bush-derangement-syndrome. Read more here.

The changing face of Scotland: it's Polish!

And the "UK Home Office report claimed immigrants had a better work ethic than their indigenous counterparts and were less likely to take time off sick."

Scotland needs immigrants since its low birth rate will dip the Scottish population under 5 million in the next 20 years.

Source: The Herald

American Cesspools?

Some American colleges, according to Dr. Walter Williams.

The average taxpayer and parents who foot the bill know little about the rot on many college campuses. "Indoctrinate U" is a recently released documentary, written and directed by Evan Coyne Maloney, that captures the tip of a disgusting iceberg. The trailer for "Indoctrinate U" can be seen here.
***
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has published "Choosing the Right College," to which I've written the introduction. The guide provides a wealth of information to help parents and students choose the right college.
Read the whole article.

Also, for interesting information on the politically incorrect movie "Indoctrinate U" read here, here, and here.

Understanding the American government.

Victor Davis Hanson explains:

The president establishes American foreign policy and is commander in chief. At least that’s what the Constitution states. Then Congress oversees the president’s policies by either granting or withholding money to carry them out — in addition to approving treaties and authorizing war.

Apparently, the founding fathers were worried about dozens of renegade congressional leaders and committees speaking on behalf of the United States and opportunistically freelancing with foreign leaders.

***
...recently hundreds in Congress have decided that they’re better suited to handle international affairs than the State Department.
***
Partisan politics often drive these anti-administration foreign policies, aimed at making the president look weak abroad and embarrassed at home.
***
Congress should stick to its constitutional mandate and quit the publicity gestures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Well, while I try to figure out what has happened with what's called a "splogger hijack"...

... I don't have time to blog ... BUT... I leave you with these wonderful gems (thanks to a friend) for old times' sake... ENJOY!!!




Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Memories: The Cars we Drove In The 50s & 60s‏

Click the pic above for a trip down memory lane...



29 years ago today:

Check out this BBC video on John Paul II's comments about the Church in Poland.

Also,

This fiery figure is being hailed as Pope John Paul II making an appearance beyond the grave.

The image, said by believers to show the Holy Father with his right hand raised in blessing, was spotted during a ceremony in Poland to mark the second anniversary of his death.



Poland in the news...

From the Gulf Times:

Gunmen launched simultaneous mortar and machinegun attacks on two mainly Polish military bases in southern Iraq yesterday, after Shia militants vowed to step up pressure on Polish soldiers to force them out.
***
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has vowed to keep Polish troops in southern Iraq despite the attack on the ambassador earlier this month.

The ambassador was wounded in a triple bomb attack on his diplomatic convoy in Baghdad in which one Polish secret service officer and a passerby were killed. Five days later a car bomb killed two people near Poland’s Baghdad embassy.

Yesterday’s attacks come days ahead of an October 21 parliamentary election in Poland in which Kaczynski, a strong US ally, faces a challenge from opposition parties who want to pull Polish troops out of Iraq.

From the Chronicle Journals:

Poland’s main opposition leader castigated a popular ex-president in a debate Monday, accusing him of hurting the country in his past role as a communist leader and of allowing corruption to flourish in democratic times.

"You built communism and that heritage is hurting Poland very much," Donald Tusk, the head of the pro-business Civic Platform party told Aleksander Kwasniewski in the third and final televised debate before parliamentary elections Sunday.

"Throughout your entire life as an adult, you were building socialism in Poland: whether before 1989 - we all know well in which party - and as president, for 10 years," Tusk told him. "This is why it is so hard for the Poles to free themselves and to gain economic sovereignty."

From Catholic News Service:
Poland's Catholic bishops have urged support for candidates who uphold Catholic teaching in an upcoming parliamentary election, in which the party of the country's president and prime minister face possible defeat.

"We ask all lay faithful and clergy in our country and beyond its borders to pray for the homeland and participate in large numbers," the Warsaw-based bishops' conference said in a pastoral letter. "But we also need to vote properly, which means in accordance with moral conviction. Believers should give their vote to people whose attitude and views are close, or at least not opposed, to the Catholic faith and Catholic values."

Saint Al of the Ecopalypse.

A Mark Steyn special.

An Iranian exiled activist...

speaks out:

"Iranians have already benefited immeasurably from democracy funding, especially from the Persian-language broadcasts by Voice of America television and Radio Farda ("Tomorrow"), for which a majority of the $75 million at issue now is allocated. These broadcasts offer news and perspectives to the Iranian public that they would not otherwise have, including news regarding developments inside their own country. The broadcasts are popular with millions of diverse Iranians and have successfully broken the Islamic Republic's attempt to isolate the country from external sources of information. The Iranian regime could not be happier to see its popular nemeses--VOA television and Radio Farda--exterminated by Iranian Americans and others purporting to do good.
....
American lawmakers and Iranian-Americans who would eliminate financial support for Iran's democrats need to understand the following: Supporting Iranian civil society and the nonviolent struggle toward democracy and human rights is likely the most cost-effective means to prevent a future conflict with Iran or an armed struggle within its borders. Democracy is difficult to achieve. But with its remarkably young, educated population, and a long-stifled yearning for the fruits of modernity and liberalism, Iran has many of the key ingredients for success.

With some help from their American allies, Iranian democrats are brave enough and capable enough to achieve for their country what the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Vaclav Havel achieved for theirs."

Help save Ayatollah Boroujerdi.

Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute is circulating an urgent petition to save Ayatollah Boroujerdi, who has been sentenced to death in Iran. As Mr. Ledeen says,

The history of political prisoners indicates dramatically that those who receive external support have a much higher survival rate than those who are abandoned to silence.

It only takes 10 seconds to sign the petition.

Thanks to Gateway Pundit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Believe it or not!

Man coughs up bullet.



"Will the Americans of this generation...

turn out to be as willing and as able to bear the burden of World War IV as their forebears were in World War II and again in World War III?"

It's the culture!

"...the most successful example of globalization is not Starbucks or McDonald’s but Wahhabism, an obscure backwater variant of Islam practiced by a few Bedouin deadbeats that Saudi oil wealth has now exported to every corner of the earth — to Waziristan, Indonesia, the Caucasus, the Balkans, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Toronto, Portland, Dearborn, and Falls Church. You can live on the other side of the planet and, when Starbucks opens up in town, you might acquire a taste for a decaf latte, but that’s it: otherwise, life goes on. By contrast, when the Saudi-funded preachers hung out their shingles on every Main Street in the west, they radicalized a significant chunk of young European Muslims: they transformed not just their beverage habits but the way they look at the societies in which they live." Read it all here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Che Guevara's children silenced in Tehran...

even though they were 2 of the 3 guests of honor at an Iran-Venezuelan sponsored conference! Why? Because the daughter, Aleida, contradicted speaker Hajj Saeed Qassemi, who said that "Che ...[was] a true revolutionary who made the American Great Satan tremble ...[and had been] a truly religious man who believed in God and hated communism and the Soviet Union."

Aleida spoke: "My father never mentioned God. He never met God."

Check out Amir Taheri's TEHRAN'S PRICE FOR 'SOLIDARITY'- MULLAHS SEEK USEFUL MARXIST IDIOTS.

Remember the Danish cartoons of Mohammed?

The BBC produced a segment on what happened and actually showed the cartoons.



Hat tip: LGF

BMW's major shareholder, slave labor, and their German Nazi past.

"Germany's wealthy and reclusive Quandt family, a major BMW shareholder, has gone on the defensive. For decades the family repressed its Nazi past, but a new documentary film provides new photos of old revelations that have prompted the Quandts to confront their own history of using slave laborers in factories during World War II."

Read it all at Spiegel Online.

Social critique.

I just re-read a fine article written by Theodore Darlymple on how and how not to love mankind. By comparing Ivan Turgenev's poignant story of a deaf and dumb serf who destroys his beloved dog, "Mumu" (a must-read for any dog lover), to the Communist Manifesto, Darlymple blows Marx out of the water.

Here are a couple of excerpts, to whet the appetite:

Almost every intellectual claims to have the welfare of humanity, and particularly the welfare of the poor, at heart: but since no mass murder takes place without its perpetrators alleging that they are acting for the good of mankind, philanthropic sentiment can plainly take a multiplicity of forms.

Two great European writers of the nineteenth century, Ivan Turgenev and Karl Marx, illustrate this diversity with vivid clarity. Both were born in 1818 and died in 1883, and their lives paralleled each other almost preternaturally in many other respects as well. They nevertheless came to view human life and suffering in very different, indeed irreconcilable, ways—through different ends of the telescope, as it were. Turgenev saw human beings as individuals always endowed with consciousness, character, feelings, and moral strengths and weaknesses; Marx saw them always as snowflakes in an avalanche, as instances of general forces, as not yet fully human because utterly conditioned by their circumstances. Where Turgenev saw men, Marx saw classes of men; where Turgenev saw people, Marx saw the People. These two ways of looking at the world persist into our own time and profoundly affect, for better or for worse, the solutions we propose to our social problems.
******
When we look at our social reformers—their language, their concerns, their style, the categories in which they think—do they resemble Marx or Turgenev more? Turgenev—who wrote a wonderful essay entitled "Hamlet and Don Quixote," a title that speaks for itself—would not have been surprised to discover that the Marxist style had triumphed.

By a curious twist of fate, the coldhearted Marxist utopians in Russia found a cynical use for Turgenev’s story "Mumu," which they printed in tens of millions of copies, to justify their own murderous ruthlessness in destroying every trace of the former society. Could any more terrible and preposterous fate have befallen Turgenev’s tale than that it should have been used to justify mass murder? Could there be any more eloquent example of the ability of intellectual abstraction to empty men’s hearts and minds of a sense of shame and of true feeling for humanity?

Let us recall, however, one detail of Turgenev’s and Marx’s biographical trajectory in which they differed. When Marx was buried, hardly anyone came to his funeral (in poetic revenge, perhaps, for his failure to attend the funeral of his father, who adored and sacrificed much for him). When the remains of Turgenev returned to St. Petersburg from France, scores of thousands of people, including the humblest of the humble, turned out to pay their respects—and with very good reason.
Read both the article and the story. They are quite illuminative.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Polish elections' debate.

Do you know we're going to be one of the last and one of the most numerous (forces) in Iraq?" Tusk said to Kaczynski. "You say we've gained a lot from our ties with the U.S., but you don't name a thing. Where are the visas, where are the business deals?"

Kaczynski, a strong supporter of the close ties with the U.S., countered that Poland has in fact strengthened its friendship with Washington, and should stick in out in Iraq.

"Once you go in and are already there, desertion is the worst and the stupidest solution," Kaczynski said. "We have gained a lot from the United States. We became a noted country. Today, that is the one country that in a pinch _ and that's happened before _ can help us, and we need that kind of alliance."

"Poles in their entire history were never deserters, were never cowards."
Read the MSNBC article here.

I watched the debate on Polish TV. My Polish is very, very weak, but Kaczynski's message re Iraq and Poland's relationship to the US came across with force and -in my humble opinion- quite well.

In my limited knowledge of Polish politics, I think the Tusk-Kaczynski debate represents the "intelligentsia's" approach to politics versus the "grassroots" approach.

Lt. Michael P. Murphy ~ American Hero ~

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, an American Hero, will receive posthumously
the Medal of Honor.

"Lt. Murphy was shot in the back while transmitting the call for help, dropped the radio, fell over, and got back up and continued to transmit. He then went back to his position of cover and continued to fight. He did not survive the battle."

Hat tip: Powerline.

Murphy, known as “Mikey” to his friends and family, shot and wounded, managed to crawl onto a ridgeline and radio headquarters at the nearby air base for them to send in reinforcements. Taliban fighters were closing in on the team’s position, shooting their weapons and firing rocket-propelled grenades.

“Mikey was ignoring his wound and fighting like a SEAL officer should, uncompromising, steady, hard-eyed, and professional,” Luttrell wrote in his recently published book, Lone Survivor, about his military experiences, his team and the events of that day and the deaths of his teammates, his friends.

The fighting grew more intense, but the team pressed on in the close-quarters battle. At one point, Luttrell wrote, Murphy took his mobile phone, “walked to open ground. He walked until he was more or less in the center, gunfire all around him, and he sat on a small rock and began punching in the numbers to HQ.”

“I could hear him talking,” Luttrell wrote. “‘My men are taking heavy fire ... we’re getting picked apart. My guys are dying out here ... we need help.’

“And right then Mikey took a bullet straight in the back. I saw the blood spurt from his chest. He slumped forward, dropping his phone and his rifle. But then he braced himself, grabbed them both, sat upright again, and once more put the phone to his ear.

“‘Roger that, sir. Thank you,’” Luttrell heard Murphy say, before the lieutenant continued to train fire on the enemy fighters.

“Only I knew what Mikey had done. He’d understood we had only one realistic chance, and that was to call in help,” Luttrell wrote. “Knowing the risk, understanding the danger, in the full knowledge the phone call could cost him his life, Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, son of Maureen, fiancé of the beautiful Heather, walked out into the firestorm.

“His objective was clear: to make one last valiant attempt to save his two teammates,” he wrote.

Not long after the call, Murphy was shot again, screaming for Luttrell to help him, but Luttrell, also hit and wounded, couldn’t reach him. "There was nothing I could do except die with him,” he wrote.

Russia and a nuclear Iran? Per Stratfor:

"Putin knows full well that a nuclear-armed Iran would greatly complicate everything the United States is attempting to accomplish in the Middle East, and it is always useful to remind the Americans that the Russians are in the position to either grant or deny the Iranians that capability on the eve of grand strategic talks. After all, it is Russia that is building a nuclear power plant for the Iranians at Bushehr.

But this is not all just posturing before a major round of talks.

Putin is perfectly capable of looking at a map. Russia -- not the United States or Europe -- is Iran's neighbor, and the demonstrated 900-mile range of Iran's Shahab-3 missile brings a great many of Russia's industrial and population centers into potential striking distance. Should the Iranian missile actually reach the 1,500 miles that Tehran claims, it could even hit Moscow. Of the Western states, only those in the eastern Balkans are potentially at risk (and only if the 1,500-mile figure proves true). It is not so much that Russia believes an Iranian attack is imminent -- this would be suicidal for Iran, to say the least -- but rather that the shifts in the balance of power that a nuclear-armed Iran would cause would be far more detrimental to Moscow than to Washington.

There are very good reasons why the Russians have been dragging their feet at Bushehr, a project that was supposed to become operational nearly a decade ago. Putin is perfectly happy to take Iran's money, but if he can get a better deal from Washington on the broader dispensation of U.S. forces in the Eurasian theater, he is perfectly willing to throw Tehran under the American bus. Beep beep."
Go here to read the whole article (member login).

Combat video.

Amazing! What's going on: The beam of light is an infrared target illuminator (IR spotlight). The guys on the ground point it at the spot they want the aircraft to shoot. It is invisible to the naked eye.

Air support is provided by a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter gunship. The rapid shots are 20mm cannon, the slower shots are 30mm cannon and there are a couple of 2.75" rockets thrown in. The green twinkling lights near the target were probably muzzle flashes from enemy weapons.

The blinking lights closest to the camera are IR "good guy" lights to let the air support identify friendly forces.

And as to the Nobel Peace Prize...

Scott Johnson from Powerline asks: "How about some recognition for the scientists of Laputa discovered by Gulliver in the course of his travels? Is it too late to recognize them for their fine efforts to extract sunlight from cucumbers?"

Islamization of Europe.

I missed this bit of information the New York Times reported last July 2007:

Msgr. Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict XVI's secretary and close adviser, warned of the Islamization of Europe and stressed the need for the Continent's Christian roots not to be ignored. In comments released in advance of an interview to be published today in the German weekly Süeddeutsche Magazin, he said: ''Attempts to Islamize the West cannot be denied. The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness.'' He also defended a speech Benedict gave last year linking Islam and violence, saying it was an attempt by the pope to ''act against a certain naïveté.''

Iranian fables.

The story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as told to Iranian children:

Click the picture above to watch the story or go to MEMRI.

Beautiful Krakow.


National Geographic has an interesting video regarding the restoration that Poland's beautiful Krakow is undergoing.

Israel under siege:

"...from Iranians building a nuclear bomb, Syrians stockpiling chemical weapons, Egyptians and Saudis developing serious conventional forces, Hizbullah attacking from Lebanon, Fatah from the West Bank, Hamas from Gaza, and Israel’s Muslim citizens becoming politically restive and more violent.

World-wide, professors, editorialists, and foreign ministry bureaucrats challenge the continued existence of a Jewish state. Even friendly governments, notably the Bush administration, pursue diplomatic initiatives that undermine Israeli deterrence even as their arms sales erode its security."
Read Daniel Pipes' Zionism's Bleak Present.

(Thanks to Israpundit).

The Sharia Bake Sale.

Waking up the university students:

Before getting a crack at the brownies, potential customers are quizzed about their religious beliefs. Inquiries about matters of conscience may offend hungry passers-by who take for granted the freedoms enshrined in Western constitutions — and this is precisely the point. Such objections afford an opportunity to explain that in nations governed by sharia, the personal is political and one’s faith is the chief determinant of social status.
To this end, those who wish to play along are divided according to religion. Muslims — actually, Muslim men — are sold brownies at the price of one dollar each. Christians and Jews, so-called “People of the Book,” are instructed to line up at a small, adjoining table and wait. All others are declined service, with organizers citing limited supplies. These provisions mimic sharia’s treatment of dhimmis, the term for Christians and Jews who are granted official protection under Islamic law but enjoy far fewer rights than their Muslim neighbors. Other non-Muslims enjoy fewer still.

Expanding on this theme, people on the dhimmi line are charged two dollars for their treats. The added fee represents the jizya, the tax imposed on non-Muslims in conformity with Koran 9:29 and Sahih Muslim 19:4294. These customers also receive poor service and smaller-than-average portions, thereby satisfying the Koranic requirement that they “feel themselves subdued.”

Finally, brownies are sold to Muslim women at a cost of three dollars, a nod to the institutionalized oppression that Phyllis Chesler has aptly labeled “gender apartheid.”

‘We should not be reluctant to assert the superiority of Western values’ ...

This was the motion presented for debate by Ibn Warraq in London last Tuesday. Tariq Ramadan opposed it. Read all about it here and here.

The results:
Before:
For the motion 313; Against the motion 221; Don’t Know 207

After:
For the motion 465; Against the motion 264; Don’t Know 18


Quote of the day: ‘I don’t want to live in a society where I get stoned for committing adultery. I want to live in a society where I get stoned. And then commit adultery.’ Ibn Warraq





Thursday, October 11, 2007

My job's giving me a heart attack!

"When Helen Smith had a heart attack at age 37, she was in shock. She was young, healthy and in tip-top shape. There'd been no warning signs. She had no family history of heart disease.

It was no little heart attack, either. It was a big one, she says, that forced her to take drugs and wear a pacemaker for the rest of her life. What in the world, Smith wondered, had caused the heart attack? And, more important, what could she do to make sure she didn't have another one?"

Read more about it here.

Stress does harm your heart, so beware (especially women, who seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress!). By the way, blogging may be beneficial to your health!!!!

EU demographics.

"There are currently more elderly people than children living in the EU, as Europe's young population has decreased by 21 percent - or 23 million -- in 25 years, 10 percent of which in the last ten years alone. ... Despite these figures, the EU population has grown by 8.2% over the last 27 years, now reaching almost 500 million. This paradox can mostly be explained by an ever increasing number of immigrants coming to the EU. Last year alone, 75% of the population growth was the result of immigration flows, says the report." Read the whole article.

The Christian-Muslim dialog.

The Pope pursued his attempts for a Christian-Muslim dialog and he just got a reply from 138 leading Muslim scholars: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."

Read the letter here.