Following the Money

And turning it off!

Apparently we've finally found "sanctions" with teeth -- that don't require the dysfunctional U.N. to approve.

Who knew this profound new weapon would come from the Treasury Department?
Authority for the new sanctions, as with so many other policy weapons, comes from the USA Patriot Act, which in Section 311 authorizes Treasury to designate foreign financial institutions that are of "primary money laundering concern." Once a foreign bank is so designated, it is effectively cut off from the U.S. financial system. It can't clear dollars; it can't have transactions with U.S. financial institutions; it can't have correspondent relationships with American banks.

The new measures work thanks to the hidden power of globalization: Because all the circuits of the global financial system are inter-wired, the U.S. quarantine effectively extends to all major banks around the world. As Levey observed in a recent speech, the impact of this little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act "has been more powerful than many thought possible."

Treasury applied the new tools to North Korea in September 2005, when it put a bank in Macao called Banco Delta Asia on the blacklist. There was no legal proceeding -- just a notice in the Federal Register summarizing the evidence: Banco Delta Asia had been providing illicit financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies for more than 20 years, according to the Treasury notice. The little Macao bank had helped the North Koreans feed counterfeit $100 bills into circulation, had laundered money from drug deals and had financed cigarette smuggling. North Korea "pays a fee to Banco Delta Asia for financial access to the banking system with little oversight or control," Treasury alleged.

Wham! The international payments window shut almost instantly on Pyongyang's pet bank. Transactions with U.S. entities stopped, but the Treasury announcement also put other countries on notice to beware of Banco Delta Asia. The Macao banking authorities, realizing that they needed the oxygen of the international financial system to survive, took regulatory action on their own and froze the bank's roughly $24 million in North Korean assets. And around Asia, banks began looking for possible links to North Korean front companies -- and shutting them down.

A similar financial squeeze is being applied to Iran. Here again, the impact has come from the way private financial institutions have reacted to public pressure from Treasury.
...
Treasury began squeezing Iran last September, when it accused Bank Saderat, one of the largest government-owned banks, of financing terrorism by funneling $50 million to Hezbollah and Hamas since 2001. The Treasury order cut the bank off from any access to the U.S financial system, direct or indirect. A similar ban was imposed in January on Bank Sepah, which Treasury alleged was a key intermediary for Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization, the agency that oversees the country's ballistic missile program.

Meanwhile, top Treasury officials began visiting with bankers and finance ministers around the world, warning them to be careful about their dealings with Iranian companies that might covertly be supporting terrorism or weapons proliferation. This whispering campaign was enough to convince most big foreign banks in Europe and Japan to back away from Iran.
I noted stirrings of this a year ago in Countdown:
Swiss banks get nervous:

ZURICH, Switzerland - Swiss banking giant UBS AG said Sunday it has stopped doing business with Iran because of the company's economic and risk analysis of the situation in the country.

UBS will no longer deal with individuals, companies or state institutions such as Iran's central bank, company spokesman Serge Steiner said. A similar policy is also being implemented in the case of Syria, he said.


Rumours swirl about Iran moving its foreign assets to avoid a freeze:

Iran is under increasing international pressure over its nuclear program and mindful of the freezing of its U.S. assets after the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran. The nation has an estimated $50 billion in European banks and Iran's Central Bank governor said over the weekend that it will move its reserves quickly if it deems it necessary to do so.

Jan 24 [2006]: More big money senses danger:

It has also emerged that Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank, is looking into ending its business relationships in Iran.

"We are closely looking at the developments and we're increasingly worried," a spokesman told Reuters.
That's somewhat earlier than "last September" as mentioned in the article above!

Whispering Bankers: Deadly as a fleet of B-2 bombers!

NR-1 In Texas

The nuclear-powered deep submergence vessel NR-1, the Navy's oldest active submarine, arrived in Galveston this week in preparation for "an expedition to survey the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and other sites of interest in the Gulf of Mexico." Here's a picture of her leaving Groton earlier this month:

Some other pictures of her taken recently are here, here, and here. The expedition starts on Friday; much more information can be found here and here.

I'm hoping that someday they'll open up the NR-1 for filming so the public can see what a remarkable piece of engineering she really is. I took a tour when I was in SOAC, and I can tell you that she's quite cramped. The only picture I could find from inside the boat was from this page (which also has a diagram of the compartments on the sub -- note that the RC is aft of the Engine Room); the picture shows the Ship's Control Panel, and also shows that the OIC's underway rack is right behind the shipdrivers:

Good luck to everyone involved in the expedition! (Maybe they'll try the infamous "Twinkees At 2900 feet" experiment again.)

Legislating Language

Think the charges of the Left manipulating the meaning of language is far-fetched? Here is a prime example that just popped up yesterday:
Bill would mandate nicer term for illegals
TALLAHASSEE -- A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.

"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."

She has introduced a bill providing that: "A state agency or official may not use the term 'illegal alien' in an official document of the state."
...
"There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn't label them," she said. "They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens."

Wilson said the first word isn't as bad as the second.

"'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said.
What an ironic statement. Yes, you will indeed be living with illegals...

So the perfectly descriptive and accurate term "illegal alien" would become "undocumented immigrant", which obviously connotes someone who is just requiring some paperwork that gosh, we have a responsibility to produce, and pronto!

Asked if her bill (SB 2154) might run afoul of Gov. Charlie Crist's "plain speaking" mandate for government agencies, Wilson said, "I think getting rid of 'alien' would be plain speaking."
The whole thing about "alien" being "from outer space" is also totally disingenuous.

It's playing deliberately playing dumb to try to delegitimize the proper meaning of the word.

That's exactly the tactics of language manipulation.

I mean, come on, you stupid cow, did you think the word "alien" suddenly popped into existence in the age of Space Travel?

Hmm, let's see, the online dictionary says
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin aliēnus, from alius, other; see al-1 in Indo-European roots
And
alien (adj.)
1340, "strange, foreign," from O.Fr. alien, from L. alienus "of or belonging to another," adj. form of alius "(an)other" (see alias). Meaning "of another planet" first recorded 1944 in science fiction writing; the noun in this sense is from 1953. The noun sense of "foreigner" is first attested 1330. An alien priory (1502) is one owing obedience to a mother abbey in a foreign country.
I've often jibed that the historical memory of Leftists doesn't seem to extend back beyond 1968. Well here's firm evidence that I was actually not too far off! This legislator seems to only know the word's latest shade of meaning since 1944, and claims to be unaware of the previous six hundred years of usage!

The definitions of the noun form are:
al·ien –noun
1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen).
2. a foreigner.
3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.
The "outer space" sense is the fourth definition!

Unless education is rescued immediately -- meaning, in addition to basic Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, an emphasis on history, geography, basic philosophy and logic, patriotism, and civics (as an American public education should not attempt to turn out either craftspeople nor professors, but good citizens) -- the representative democracy is doomed to being hijacked by charlatans and pollsters.

And by "history", it MUST NOT be presented from the oh-so-popular Marxist school of interpretation, but the out-of-favor so-called Great Man school, which is much more accessible and exciting to young students.

Social Studies, World Cultures, New Math, and Communications would be cut in my scheme.

And don't forget a brief intro to Latin!

Make good little Neo-Victorians out of 'em!

UPDATE: An aside on schools of historical thought.

This kind of makes sense, doesn't it?
The Great man theory is a theory held by some that aims to explain history by the impact of "Great men", or heroes: highly influential individuals, either from personal charisma, genius intellects, or great political impact.
...
It is often linked to 19th century philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle, who commented that "The history of the world is but the biography of great men."
So it's an Anglo-Victorian theory. And guess who opposes it:
The editors of the influential 18th century French encyclopedia Encyclopedie were ideologically opposed to biographies because they believed too much ink had already been spilled on hagiographies of church fathers and deeds of kings, and not enough about the average person or life in general.
...
Many historians believe that a history which only follows around single persons, especially when their significance is determined primarily by political status, is a shallow view of the past, and that sometimes such a view excludes entire groups of people from being parts of the study of history.
So it's all about an artificial "fairness", instead of the powerful and the politicians -- who, by definition, were the ones making the decisions.

Such additional details may be interesting, but for getting students interested in history, biographies of the powerful are far more effective.

Worst of all,
This critique has spread to other fields such as literary criticism, in which Stephen Greenblatt's New Historicism argues that societies play roles in creating works of art, not just authors.
Marvelous! I now take personal credit, however small, for Hamlet!

What? I shouldn't take credit for works produced in my past society? Then why do I take blame for my past society's sins?

The pernicious result of Marxist interpretation and the Annales school is to obliterate the importance of the individual, and to render the notion of objectivity invalid, thus making it difficult if not impossible to counter attacks on our cultural norms.

Marxist history in fact has a distinct goal; it is not neutral:
Marxist history is generally teleological, in that it posits a direction of history, towards an end state of history as classless human society. Marxist historiography, that is, the writing of Marxist history in line with the given historiographical principles, is generally seen as a tool. Its aim is to bring those oppressed by history to self-consciousness, and to arm them with tactics and strategies from history: it is both a historical and a liberatory project.
Its adherents are therefore inherently hostile to Western culture as we know it.

When Government Officials Want To Satisfy Their Public Self-Abuse Needs...

... it seems that Idaho Falls is the place to go. From this weird article in the Idaho Statesman:
Boise International Airport Federal Security Director Doug Melvin resigned Tuesday citing personal reasons, the Transportation Security Administration announced.
Melvin's resignation follows an indecent exposure citation he received last week at an Idaho Falls hotel.
According to police reports, Melvin, 48, was cited for indecent exposure while staying at the Fairfield Inn on Feb. 19.
The report says Melvin entered the swimming pool area, removed his clothing, walked around nude and exposed himself to other hotel patrons and staff.
The report says Melvin reportedly masturbated while in front of pool-area windows directly in view of the main elevator.
Melvin was then escorted to his room where "he admitted to having a swimming suit, but failing to utilize it when in the pool area," the Idaho Falls Police Department report said.
And what could have caused this lapse in judgment?
The police report lists alcohol as a factor in the incident.
Do ya think?

An Update On PCU Hawaii

PCU Hawaii (SSN 776) is going to be commissioned in Groton on May 5th; this has some people in Hawaii, where she's eventually going to be based, wondering why she won't get out there until 2009. All of us submariners know that the answer is "PSA" (among other things), but this article makes for some interesting reading as various people try to explain what will happen between May and the boat's eventual interfleet transfer.

One of the better tidbits I got out of the article was the URL for the Navy League's USS Hawaii website. You can also see some USS Hawaii art on the CSP boat page, and some pictures (including a close-up of the obnoxious broom) here on the CSP website.

Crashing The Googleplex

It seems a guy from Boise decided to go on a quest -- pitch a business idea to Google without an appointment, and blog about the process while he was at it. Aaron Stanton left for California a couple of weeks ago, and he's heading back to Boise tonight. During the last couple of weeks, he's created his own quite impressive blogswarm -- pretty good for an Idaho guy. We don't know yet how he did after he got the meeting, but his blog makes for interesting reading.

Edwards Surrenders

What a stunning disgrace!

Edwards apologizes for 2002 war vote

NEW YORK - Democrat John Edwards said Tuesday that honesty and openness were essential qualities for a president, and that he was proud to acknowledge his 2002 vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
Well guess what, you can't take back a declaration of war, Johnnie boy, while it's still going on -- without surrendering to your enemies!

Voters, the former North Carolina senator said, "want you to be willing to change course when something's not working. We've had six-plus years now of a president who is completely unwilling to do that."
We've established that a "change of course" that tries harder to win by sending reinforcements is OUT OF THE QUESTION for the Democrats, which leaves only retreat and surrender.

A quitter in a war he himself authorized thinks he should be President?

Could he be any more irresponsible?

Not to mention that authorizing the war was not, in fact, a mistake!

Par for the course from this insincere pretty boy, which we already learned from his recent handling of having hired two controversial far-left bloggers for his campaign, then seeming to fire them -- but only after attempts to edit and sanitize their old blogs failed to hide their true character -- then taking them back after having them recant their previous writings and issue an apology, and then having them ultimately resign.

Because either he's the type that would force his own people to publicly humiliate and repudiate themselves, or more likely, the whole exercise was a knowingly insincere attempt at hollow appeasement of the critics in a sham show of remorse.

Can the man demonstrate even less character and leadership?

Australia Needs Submariners!

Check out this story in The Australian -- here are some excerpts:
"The navy is currently experiencing a shortfall of submariners of about 30 per cent of requirement," a Defence Department spokesman said in response to questions from The Australian yesterday. "The shortage of submariners has meant there has been a reduction in sailing days..."
...But these missions are now threatened by a critical shortage of mechanical and electrical technicians, as well as electronic and acoustic warfare specialists...
...The navy said it was considering a range of initiatives to improve the pay and conditions of submariners and entice more sailors to join.
The navy last year allowed civilians to join the submarine arm directly without first serving on surface navy ships, as had been previously required.
It has also increased the size of the special submariner allowances, which traditionally mean pay of up to 20 per cent more than sailors on ships...
...The navy has repackaged its publicity pitch for submariners, extolling the virtues of being based at the fleet headquarters in HMAS Stirling in Perth.
"Nearby you can enjoy a round of golf, or take a peaceful walk deep into jarrah forests," the Defence website says, while spruiking local fishing, nightclubs, markets and water sports.
When discussing the submariner's training course at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria, the navy promises that "despite the Hollywood stereotypes, there won't be gruff drill instructors screaming in your face".
"The type of people we are looking for are what we call extroverted introverts - people who get along with others but at the same time are mentally able to occupy their 'own space', even though others surround them," the navy says.
Collins-class boats have a crew of about 45, so the 30% shortage means that the Aussies need to find an additional 75 or so qualified people to be submariners every couple of years. Getting rid of the requirement that prospective submariners serve in surface ships first should help, as should the extra money. What they really need, though, is a good movie that shows submariners as the supermen they are -- virile, indestructible, and irresistibly desired by the opposite sex. (I would have said "women" instead of "opposite sex", but the Aussie Sub Force has female submariners -- they started training in 1998. This shortage of qualified personnel should put to rest arguments made by those who support opening U.S. submarines to women that we need to do this to ensure we have enough qualified applicants.)

Honorary Citizens

Ho-hum. Not much excitement generated about this idea:

Bill would make Anne Frank honorary US citizen
The draft legislation, which has not drawn a great deal of enthusiasm from the family, was presented by Long Island, New York Democrat Steve Israel.

The lawmaker drafted a bill along the same lines in 2005 but reworked it after seeing the publication in New York of letters written by Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank, detailing his efforts in 1941 to take his family to the United States.

"The best way we can honor Anne Frank in death is to give her what her father sought for her in life," Israel said.

"News that Anne Frank's family sought to flee to the United States makes it clearer than ever that we should bestow honorary citizenship upon Anne Frank, who has been recognized as a great hero and source of inspiration for the children of this nation."
I say, as long as Congress is spending time on inoffensive gestures, that's time they're not spending raising my taxes and taking away my rights.

And it's clearly intended, however microscopically, to attempt to right a past wrong in the only way available.

I mean, it hardly makes less sense than Virginia's recent expression of regret for slavery, an event which wasn't even close to anyone still alive today.

But no, that won't do at all!
Bernd Elias, a German cousin of Anne Frank, living in Switzerland told The New York Times: "I cannot see the point. She saw herself as Dutch."

Another cousin living in San Diego, Edith Gordon, said: "It doesn't seem right to me somehow, when we didn't let her into the country."
We? It was people mostly all dead now that didn't let her in, Edith. And others are trying to say that wasn't right. Rather revel in the guilt than expiate it, eh?

Can't see the point, Bernd?

Perhaps you can understand the point, though, of Paris in 2003 having made convicted, unrepentant, and obviously guilty cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal an honorary citizen?

Mumia Made Honorary Citizen of Paris
It is the first time Paris has bestowed the honor since Pablo Picasso was made honorary citizen in 1971, Socialist Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe told an audience of 200 people, taking the occasion to attack the barbarity of the death penalty. In attacking the "barbarity called the death penalty," the mayor said "as long as there is a place on this planet where one can be killed in the name of the community, we haven't finished our work." Raising his fist in a sign of solidarity, Delanoe then shouted "Mumia is a Parisian!" as the crowd cheered and applauded.

Black activist Angela Davis, a former member of the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, hailed the "profound sense of humanity" of Abu-Jamal, attacking American unilateralism and racist attacks against immigrants.

The movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal "takes on a new sense in face of American unilateralism, the aggression against the Iraqi people and the racist attacks against immigrants which can only further gnaw away at the vestiges of democracy in the United States," said Davis, a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz.
How I'd love to pull the lever on ol' Sparky...

And then the suburb of Saint-Denis went and named a street in Mumia's honor as well, and the French communists cheered in wild delight.

That all makes sense, you see.

But making Anne Frank and honorary American citizen, because her father tried to bring her here, is apparently a bizarre and puzzling concept.

At least some sanity is still alive. The French commies are being sued by Philadelpha Republicans with their own laws:
The 59th Republican Ward Executive Committee of Philadelphia, representing the Germantown area, retained a French attorney and filed criminal charges against the French cities of Paris and Saint-Denis last Thursday in connection to the case of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Paris awarded Abu-Jamal honorary citizenship in 2001 and Saint-Denis, a suburb near Paris, named a street after him this year.

Ward Chairman Peter Wirs allege that these actions violate Article 28, Section 2 of the French Penal Code, which impose a five year imprisonment and fine of 45,000 [Euros?] to anyone who publicly "have glorified the perpetration of a crime" such as murder.

"All the other politicians were talking the talk, but not getting anything done. I'm from the old school. I'm gonna walk the walk and get this resolved," Wirs said.

The French Communist Party denounced the 59th Republican Ward Executive Committee in their newspaper, L'Humanite, calling the lawsuit a "provocation" that would not dissuade the socialist elected officials of Saint-Denis or cause them to "change their mind since they are defending the values of democracy, the struggle against the death penalty and are willing to act so that there is no more political prisoners in the USA."

"This is just a fundraising gimmick for them [French commies]. They keep telling supporters that he's gonna die at any moment. He's not even on death row," Wirs added, noting District Judge William Yohn's 2001 decision [being appealed by both sides] overturning Abu-Jamal's death sentence, but not his conviction.

Wirs said French journalists gave him unconfirmed reports that the French Communist Party intends to burn him in effigy at an upcoming rally.
Mumia must die!

That Mythic Golden Age

More propaganda from Reuters, slobbering over supposed medieval muslim achievements, which were oh-so-superior to our poor, pathetic culture -- talk about double standards:

Medieval Muslims made stunning math breakthrough

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.
Bite me! They did not! If a monkey types a word at random on a keyboard that doesn't mean it's going to write Hamlet next, because it has no understanding of what it just did.

Modern mathematicians understood what they were deriving, and how the equations described the design, and what the significance of it was.

This artwork is just an interesting geometric design, that in hindsight, happens to vaguely be describable by Penrose tiling.

Big deal!

But Reuters can't miss the opportunity to shovel its propaganda:
By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be "quasicrystalline" designs, Harvard University's Peter Lu and Princeton University's Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. [what, like anybody "described" them elsewhere? -- ed.] Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.

"Oh, it's absolutely stunning," Lu said in an interview. "They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years."

Lu and Steinhardt in particular cite designs on the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran, built in 1453.
Of course, whenever wire services talk about the 15th century about the West, they're always talking about how evil we are for harming noble, peaceful indigenous populations -- never anything positive like this fantasy:
While Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, Islamic culture flourished beginning in the 7th century, with achievements over numerous centuries in mathematics, medicine, engineering, ceramics, art, textiles, architecture and other areas.

Lu said the new revelations suggest Islamic culture was even more advanced than previously thought.
They're advanced, do you hear me, ADVANCED!!!

My first thought on reading about this "quasicrystalline" breakthrough was it was ridiculous.

Such a view appears down at the bottom of the article:
Joshua Socolar, a Duke university physicist, said it is unclear whether the medieval Islamic artisans fully understood the mathematical properties of the patterns they were making.

"It leads you to wonder whether they kind of got lucky," Socolar said in an interview.
...
"And it will be a lot of fun if somebody turns up bigger tilings that sort of make a more convincing case that they understood even more of the geometry than the present examples show," Socolar said.
"Unclear", ha, that's a good bit of understatement right there.

And maybe spacemen built the pyramids!

Lost Faith

Essay on the consequences of double standards over our core beliefs:
The worst inconsistencies, however, involve the violation of core Western ideals, most importantly free speech. Many Muslims demand the right to deny the Holocaust, recycle Nazi-era anti-Semitic drivel, characterize Christianity as polytheistic idolatry, and excoriate a decadent, corrupt Western civilization. But no such criticism of Mohammed or Islam is tolerated, and in fact is met with violence and threats.

The past few years have seen numerous examples, from the riots over the extremely mild political cartoons featuring Mohammed, to the uproar over the Pope’s quotation of a Byzantine emperor. The exercise of free speech in all these cases is met with rage, violence, and hysterical demands of “respect” for Islam, but there is no reciprocal respect for Western values. And for the most part, we in the West go along with this double standard, and thus accept the logic of the jihadist position: we are weak and unsure of our beliefs. Our craven behavior is a sign of our inferior status and our justified subjection to those who passionately believe in the rightness of their faith.

Let’s be clear on the roots of this cowardly response––the West has lost its faith. We have created John Lennon’s juvenile utopia in which there is “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.” Shorn of transcendent validation, now all our beliefs are contingent and negotiable, easily traded away for security or comfort. At the same time, the therapeutic mentality bestows on the non-Western “other” a finely calibrated sensitivity to his culture, no matter how dysfunctional, all the while it refuses to extend such consideration to its own. Why would it? Haven’t generations of Western intellectuals and artists told the world how corrupt and evil the West is? Having culturally internalized this self-loathing, we are vulnerable to those who are filled with passionate intensity about the rightness of their beliefs and the payback due to us for our various historical sins such as colonialism or imperialism or globalization. And then we wonder why the jihadist considers us ripe for conquest, and destined to be subjected to the superior values of Islam.
It then goes on to recount this outrageous example:
Consider the following cautionary tale, from San Francisco State. Last October the College Republicans held an anti-terrorism rally during which posters painted to look like the flags of the terrorist gangs Hamas and Hezbollah were walked on. Since those flags have the name of Allah in Arabic, a complaint was filed in which the College Republicans were accused of “incitement,” “creation of a hostile environment,” and “incivility.” The complaint is now headed for trial before one of those campus star chambers created to monitor and police student behavior.

You don’t have to be a Constitutional scholar to see that this investigation is a gross violation of the students’ First Amendment right to free speech.
...
Here’s where the double standards and incoherence of much politically correct behavior comes in. On any college campus in this country, every day, inside of class and out, you can encounter speech that is “insensitive,” “uncivil,” or “hostile.” But of course, this speech is directed towards Christians, or “conservatives,” or Israel, or Republicans, or “straight white males.” Nobody attempts to censor this speech or haul people before tribunals to answer vague charges such as “incivility,” which will be defined according to the subjective standards of the complainants. And if someone does complain, the faculty and administration will immediately go into high dudgeon mode and start preaching the glories of unfettered free speech no matter how offensive.
Petty ivory-tower tyrants.

The Womanchurian Candidate

Some interesting quotes, all clearly referenced from the source material, of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who aspires to be our next Commander in Chief.

Collected at Maggie's Farm, entitled Ms. Potty Mouth. I'll just select a few for flavor:
This ill-tempered, violent, foul mouthed, hateful and abusive woman wants to be your president and have total control as commander-in-chief of a military that her party so openly and proudly admit they detest.

"F**k off! It's enough that I have to see you shit-kickers every day, I'm not going to talk to you too!! Just do your G*damn job and keep your mouth shut."
(From the book "American Evita" by Christopher Anderson, p. 90 - Hillary to her State Trooper bodyguards after one of them greeted her with "Good morning.")

"If you want to remain on this detail, get your f**king ass over here and grab those bags!"
(From the book "The First Partner" p. 259 - Hillary to a Secret Service Agent who was reluctant to carry her luggage because he wanted to keep his hands free in case of an incident.)

"Get f**ked! Get the f**k out of my way!!! Get out of my face!!!"
(From the book "Hillary's Scheme" p. 89 - Hillary's various comments to her Secret Service d etail agents.)

"Stay the f**k back, stay the f**k away from me! Don't come within ten yards of me, or else! Just f**king do as I say, Okay!!!?"
(From the book "Unlimited Access", by Clinton FBI Agent in Charge, Gary Aldrige, p. 139 - Hillary screaming at her Secret Service detail.)

"Many of you are well enough off that [President Bush's] tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to have to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
(Hillary grandstanding at a fund raising speech in San Francisco; SFGate.com 6/28/2004.)

"Where's the miserable c*ck sucker?"
(From the book "The Truth About Hillary" by Edward Klein, p. 5 - Hillary shouting at a Secret Service officer.)

"Come on Bill, put your dick up! You can't f**k her here!!"
(From the book "Inside The White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 243 - Hillary to Gov. Clinton when she spots him talking with an attractive female at an Arkansas political rally.)

"We are at a stage in history in which remolding society is one of the great challenges facing all of us in the West."
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 119 - During her 1993 commencement address at the University of Texas.)

"We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people"
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 20 - Hillary to Rep. Dennis Hastert in 1993 discussing her expensive, disastrous taxpayer-funded health care plan.)
Several Presidents have been known for their nasty tempers as well, but that excuses nothing.

Saudi TV

Mainstream islam, from our friends the Saudis, on state-run tv in 2002.

I love this video clip, demonstrating the indoctrination of a three year old girl, who has been taught Jews are evil apes and pigs.

The pride of the young teacher in the student's responses is thoroughly disgusting.

An excerpt of the transcript:
Amer: How old are you, Basmallah?

Basmallah: Three and a half.

Amer: Are you a Muslim?

Basmallah: Yes.

Amer: Basmallah, do you know the Jews?

Basmallah: Yes

Amer: Do you like them?

Basmallah: No.

Amer: Why don't you like them?

Basmallah: Because.

Amer: Because they are what?

Basmallah: They are apes and pigs.

Amer: Because they are apes and pigs. Who said that about them?

Basmallah: Our God.

Amer: Where did he say that about them?

Basmallah: In the Koran.

...

Amer: Basmallah, Allah be praised. May our God bless her. No one could wish for a more devout girl. May God bless her and her parents. The next generation of children must be true Muslims, Allah willing. We must educate them while they are still children to be true Muslims.
True indeed, true indeed.

Shocking Photos!

Oh no, photos from civil-war-ravaged Iraq!

Do you dare look?

Hint: I'm being facetious.

I can't decide whether my favorite is the one of students walking under a banner reading "We will not succumb to terrorism. This is our answer.", or of the grown men sitting with grade-schoolers to learn how to read and write.

The other day I was forced again to view Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room at the gym, and CNN's "special report" on sectarian violence, that began -- now get this -- "almost as soon as the invasion of 2003!"

Oh, that's rich.

All rainbows and roses under Uncle Saddam, was it?

Sectarian mass graves filled themselves, did they?

Kurds had some unfortunate industrial accidents, eh?

If it's off their tv screen, they can't conceive of it existing.

The 2006 MilBloggies

Now that the Oscars are over, we can turn our attention to the really important awards -- the 2006 MilBloggies. You have to register with the site in order to vote, but it's worth the effort -- there are a lot of good milblogs out there that could use your support before voting closes on Tuesday, Feb. 27th. I'm most excited about voting for submarine wife Wendy of All Ahead Full in the "Spouses" category; hers is the only submarine-related blog I could find among the finalists. In the Navy category, all the nominees (CDR Salamander, Neptunus Lex, SMASH, and Doc in the Box) are great, but the 'Phib got my vote. The Veteran category likewise has five great nominees, but I went for Blackfive -- partly because they have submariner Subsunk posting over there. For Military Supporter, my vote went to FbL at Fuzzilicious Thinking because of her work on Project Valour-IT -- although most of the bloggers nominated also supported this worthy cause. The other categories also have many worthy blogs to consider -- it's worth a couple hours of your time to check them out if you haven't read them before.

Digital Maoism

As a follow-up to this previous post on Glossocracy and Leftist Tactics, here is an essay decrying the move towards an internet Hive mind, because of the mob rule it encourages.

This is what is being see at the popular social aggregator site Digg, where nominated posts from LGF get quickly "buried" by a mob of self-appointed Digg censors.

DIGITAL MAOISM:
The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism

It is introduced as:
In "Digital Maosim", an original essay written for Edge, computer scientist and digital visionary Jaron Lanier finds fault with what he terms the new online collectivism. He cites as an example the Wikipedia, noting that "reading a Wikipedia entry is like reading the bible closely. There are faint traces of the voices of various anonymous authors and editors, though it is impossible to be sure".
And key points are:
...the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.
...
In the last year or two the trend has been to remove the scent of people, so as to come as close as possible to simulating the appearance of content emerging out of the Web as if it were speaking to us as a supernatural oracle. This is where the use of the Internet crosses the line into delusion.

Kevin Kelly, the former editor of Whole Earth Review and the founding Executive Editor of Wired, is a friend and someone who has been thinking about what he and others call the "Hive Mind." He runs a Website called Cool Tools that's a cross between a blog and the old Whole Earth Catalog. On Cool Tools, the contributors, including me, are not a hive because we are identified.

In March, Kelly reviewed a variety of "Consensus Web filters" such as "Digg" and "Reddit" that assemble material every day from all the myriad of other aggregating sites. Such sites intend to be more Meta than the sites they aggregate. There is no person taking responsibility for what appears on them, only an algorithm. The hope seems to be that the most Meta site will become the mother of all bottlenecks and receive infinite funding.

That new magnitude of Meta-ness lasted only a month. In April, Kelly reviewed a site called "popurls" that aggregates consensus Web filtering sites...and there was a new "most Meta". We now are reading what a collectivity algorithm derives from what other collectivity algorithms derived from what collectives chose from what a population of mostly amateur writers wrote anonymously.

Is "popurls" any good? I am writing this on May 27, 2006. In the last few days an experimental approach to diabetes management has been announced that might prevent nerve damage. That's huge news for tens of millions of Americans. It is not mentioned on popurls. Popurls does clue us in to this news: "Student sets simultaneous world ice cream-eating record, worst ever ice cream headache." Mainstream news sources all lead today with a serious earthquake in Java. Popurls includes a few mentions of the event, but they are buried within the aggregation of aggregate news sites like Google News. The reason the quake appears on popurls at all can be discovered only if you dig through all the aggregating layers to find the original sources, which are those rare entries actually created by professional writers and editors who sign their names. But at the layer of popurls, the ice cream story and the Javanese earthquake are at best equals, without context or authorship.

Kevin Kelly says of the "popurls" site, "There's no better way to watch the hive mind." But the hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?

Readers of my previous rants will notice a parallel between my discomfort with so-called "Artificial Intelligence" and the race to erase personality and be most Meta. In each case, there's a presumption that something like a distinct kin to individual human intelligence is either about to appear any minute, or has already appeared. The problem with that presumption is that people are all too willing to lower standards in order to make the purported newcomer appear smart. Just as people are willing to bend over backwards and make themselves stupid in order to make an AI interface appear smart (as happens when someone can interact with the notorious Microsoft paper clip,) so are they willing to become uncritical and dim in order to make Meta-aggregator sites appear to be coherent.

There is a pedagogical connection between the culture of Artificial Intelligence and the strange allure of anonymous collectivism online. Google's vast servers and the Wikipedia are both mentioned frequently as being the startup memory for Artificial Intelligences to come. Larry Page is quoted via a link presented to me by popurls this morning (who knows if it's accurate) as speculating that an AI might appear within Google within a few years. George Dyson has wondered if such an entity already exists on the Net, perhaps perched within Google. My point here is not to argue about the existence of Metaphysical entities, but just to emphasize how premature and dangerous it is to lower the expectations we hold for individual human intellects.

The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.
...
The artificial elevation of all things Meta is not confined to online culture. It is having a profound influence on how decisions are made in America.
...
It's not hard to see why the fallacy of collectivism has become so popular in big organizations: If the principle is correct, then individuals should not be required to take on risks or responsibilities. We live in times of tremendous uncertainties coupled with infinite liability phobia, and we must function within institutions that are loyal to no executive, much less to any lower level member. Every individual who is afraid to say the wrong thing within his or her organization is safer when hiding behind a wiki or some other Meta aggregation ritual.
...
There are certain types of answers that ought not be provided by an individual. When a government bureaucrat sets a price, for instance, the result is often inferior to the answer that would come from a reasonably informed collective that is reasonably free of manipulation or runaway internal resonances. But when a collective designs a product, you get design by committee, which is a derogatory expression for a reason.

Leftist Tactics

I haven't read this book, but the summary seems insightful.

How the Left was Won.
The following is an excerpt from the opening pages of Chapter One of How The Left Was Won: An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order.

Let’s face it, when you get right down to it, all of liberalism is fueled by a singular strategy—a strategy which has been continually perfected and relentlessly executed over the past forty years. That strategy is to promote and exploit divisiveness.

Everything liberal politicians do is based on this simple principle. Tell the people that are given to hating the most, that they are the ones who are hated. Tell the people who expect the most, that they deserve more. Tell blacks to hate whites. Tell women to hate men. Tell the lazy to hate the motivated. Tell the poor that only conservatives are rich, and then be sure to tell them to hate them for it.

Class warfare, race baiting, name calling and man-hating—all with a singular goal: to get themselves in power by promoting and exploiting divisiveness. Of course, once this divisiveness turns into frenzy, these same people suddenly act as if they actually want to solve a problem that didn’t even exist before they did everything they possibly could to create it.

To liberals, every issue, every situation is an opportunity to divide. History, religion, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the death of a soldier, a political debate, the hurricane which devastated New Orleans. Every tragedy exploited to divide. Every victory belittled to divide. Every incident, every word, every distorted statistic, every holiday—you name it, they will find some way to divide it.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the politicians who promote and exploit divisiveness; it is the people as well. Malcontents, jealous of anyone with any sort of success, come up with any way they can to attack those who are more successful then they are. Someone is rich only because they stole something from them. Certain groups are more successful only because they took advantage of them. Work has nothing to do with it. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Planning ahead has nothing to do with it. Even luck has nothing to do with it.

And what do these kinds of people view as the solution to this imaginary injustice? Why special rights, privileges and opportunities for themselves, of course. Level the playing field. Get something for nothing. Take from the rich, the white, the male dominated, homophobic society that has already given them everything. Take what they have, what they built, what they earned—whether it be money, property, liberty or opportunity—and find some way, some justification, some cause or some guise to redistribute it to the people who have done nothing to earn it. To people who refuse to compete on merit. To people who insist on taking more out of society than what they put in to it. To people who don’t give a damn that their inclusion comes only at the expense of someone else’s exclusion. The strategy is simple, really—promote divisiveness and then exploit it for your own benefit.

Liberals should thank God every day for differences between people because without them, liberalism would be dead in the water. Without them, the country might have some stability. Without them, it might have a chance to survive. Without them, the problems between those who want and those who have might actually be manageable in some meaningful or productive way. But differences have given liberals the perfect opportunity to stop any rational discussion dead in its tracks. Differences have led to polarization. Differences have led to countries within a country. Differences have led to the dreaded xist-ism-monger-phobia. Differences have allowed liberals to add any of these four sounds to the end of any word they choose, virtually guaranteeing that they can get away with anything they want.

Worse yet, liberals actually have the nerve to turn around and endlessly accuse conservatives of divisiveness. To them, conservatives— who believe everyone should be held to the same standards—are somehow divisive. To them, conservatives—who believe everyone should have the same rights regardless of the guises used to justify different ones for different people—are somehow divisive. To them, conservatives—who sacrifice their time, money, careers and often their lives to defend the true meaning of freedom and liberty—are somehow divisive.
Their insidious control of language is also explained in this lucid essay on Glossocracy. It is deep and long and should be read in entirety, but here are a few key parts:
Boot believes that democracy, or in the words of Abraham Lincoln, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by glossocracy, the government of the word, by the word and for the word.

Modern glossocracy can be traced back at least to the slogan of the French Revolution, “Freedom, equality, brotherhood.” As it later turned out, this meant mass terror, martial law and authoritarian rule. According to Boot, the more meaningless the word, the more useful it is for glossocrats. The impulse behind Political Correctness consists of twisting the language we use, enforcing new words or changing the meaning of old ones, turning them into “weapons of crowd control” by demonizing those who fail to comply with the new definitions:

“Like the Russian intelligentsia of yesteryear, the glossocratic intelligentsia of today’s West is busily uprooting the last remaining vestiges of Westernness. The press is one gardening implement they use; education is another.”
...
Political Correctness was pioneered by feminists, including the totalitarian changing of the language to make it more gender-neutral and less “oppressive.” Those who successfully manage to enforce their definition of words win the ideological contest.
...
I find it interesting that the same people who, in the 60s and 70s, broke up the traditional family structure in Western countries and warned people against the dangers of overpopulation, telling people to lower their birth rates, come back a few years later and say that we have to import millions of immigrants because we have such low birth rates.
Direct examples of this new totalitarianism of language are given from Sweden. The essay then continues,
“As political and economic freedom diminishes” said Aldous Huxley’s in Brave New World, “sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” This fits perfectly with Huntford’s description. The state strips away your personal, economic and political freedom, yet grants you sexual freedom in return, boldly hailing itself as your liberator.

Language is underestimated as a source of power. Those who control the language and the school curriculum control society.

George Orwell said: “If freedom of speech means anything at all, it is the freedom to say things that people do not want to hear.” In his book 1984, a totalitarian Party rules much of Europe. Their three slogans, on display everywhere, are: War is peace, Freedom is slavery and Ignorance is strength. It’s the ultimate glossocracy, even creating an entirely new language called Newspeak:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.”

I love Orwell’s book, but frankly, it fits an openly totalitarian society more than it does Western nations. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, with its hedonistic society where people derive pleasure from promiscuous sex and drugs, is closer to the mark. Scholar Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of 1984 and Brave New World in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death:

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Anna Nicole Smith, anyone?

Postman warned against the pitfalls of our mass media society:

“What started out as a liberating stream has turned into a deluge of chaos. Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don’t know what to do with it.”

This can potentially be exploited by those in power.
...
In 2007, Big Brother is real, but a sensual distraction, not an oppressive tyrant.

In the 19th century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by Napoleon. The British people rose to the occasion and defeated the threat. In the 20th century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by Adolf Hitler. The British people rose to the occasion and defeated the threat. In the 21st century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by the combined forces of Islamic Jihad and a pan-European superstate. The British people didn’t notice the threat, as they were too busy watching semi-naked people do obscene things on TV. I bet even George Orwell didn’t see that one coming, but maybe Huxley did.

I quoted The Road to Serfdom recently, and was told that it was “irrelevant” since it was written in the 1940s. I disagree. Here’s a passage from it where Friedrich Hayek accurately describes Political Correctness. Page 117:

“The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognised before. (…) The most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of the meaning of words by which he ideals of the new regimes are expressed. (…) Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.”
The word "gay" springs immediately to mind.

Hayek was particularly concerned with words such as “equality” and “justice,” especially in combination:

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict which each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.”

There is reason to fear that words such as tolerance, diversity and dialogue have become just as perverted, twisted and meaningless in the West under Multiculturalism as words such as freedom and democracy were in the East under Communism.

Every time something bad involving Muslims in Europe happens, the solution is supposed to be “dialogue.” But what created the problem in the first place was the Euro-Arab Dialogue. Dialogue is thus the cause of Europe’s Islamic problems, not the solution to them.

The peculiar thing about “diversity” is that the more ethnic diversity you have, the less diversity of opinion you have, since everybody is scared to death of saying something that might “insult” somebody. Moreover, people cry for more surveillance to counter the turbulence caused by all this diversity. A survey showed that a full 80 percent of Swedes favor increased surveillance to tackle terrorism and serious crime. 87 percent think that the police should be able to secretly bug telephones and access computers of ordinary citizens. Diversity, thus, leads to internal and external censorship and a more totalitarian society.

Besides, those who praise diversity the most are frequently those who are the least tolerant of diverging opinions. As British newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn puts it: “The Fascist Left have turned the Nanny State into the Bully State. There is no limit to their intolerance in the name of tolerance.”

“Tolerance” has been defined as support for Multiculturalism and continued mass immigration. Tolerance thus means that Western populations should eradicate themselves and their own culture. It means a slow-motion surrender to Islamic culture and Islamic rule. Yet if you are against tolerance you must be some kind of evil racist or something. Who doesn’t like tolerance and diversity?
...
Cornered linguistically, deprived of words to formulate what we fight for and against and cut off from our historical roots, Westerners have become easy prey for our enemies.
...
Modern Westerners tend to have a poor knowledge of our own history, and what little we do know we are taught to hate. We are taught, simultaneously, that our culture doesn’t exist and that it is evil, which seems like a contradiction in terms, but both claims serve to undermine traditional loyalties, which no doubt was the intended purpose. Since our Multicultural Humpty Dumpties have already decided that there is no such thing as Western civilization, only a random collection of cultural impulses from a variety of sources, you look silly, ignorant and uneducated if you defend it, a bit like a Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
...
Yet even though we now have a word for an imaginary problem, Islamophobia, we still haven’t coined a term for a very real problem, the pervasive self-loathing and desire by some Westerners to eradicate their own culture. I’ve noticed that in many stories involving magic, a magician gains power over something once he gives it a name. So let’s give the anti-Western self-hatred a name. What about self-termination? This is an historical epoch where the West has gone from self-determination to self-termination.

If language is used to assault Western culture, regaining control over it should constitute our first line of defense. We have a right to resist those who advocate our nation’s self-termination. A policy which deprives us of self-determination and maybe our children of self-preservation is evil, and we have not just a right, but a duty to oppose it, even if it is championed by our own government; in fact, especially then. It is unacceptable that those who put the survival of our countries at risk are allowed to claim a monopoly on goodness.
...
Whereas the Soviet Union was, in the words of Ronald Reagan, the Evil Empire, perhaps the European Union will be remembered as the Glossocratic Empire, probably the first empire in human history built primarily through the ability to manipulate words. This was achieved by downplaying crucial information and drowning the public in irrelevant information, and by boring people into bureaucratic submission.

However, just as Neil Postman warned against the pitfalls of the information society, he also said that “Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose.”

It is no coincidence that the newest and most decentralized medium, the Internet, has become the preferred medium for opposition to the ruling glossocracy. As author Bruce Bawer has noticed: “Thank God for the [Inter]Net. I tremble at the thought of all the things that have happened during the past years that I would never have known about without it. (...) If Europe is saved, it will be because of the Internet.”
Maybe Al Gore will end up saving the world anyway!

Critiquing the Goracle

Al Gore's alarmist "documentary" has just won an Oscar. Predicting this event, here is a critique of An Inconvenient Truth:
The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.

Where’s the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker’s Summary from the United Nations’ much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore’s film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Even 17 inches is likely to be high, because it assumes that the concentration of methane, an important greenhouse gas, is growing rapidly. Atmospheric methane concentration hasn’t changed appreciably for seven years, and Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland recently pronounced the IPCC’s methane emissions scenarios as “quite unlikely.”

Nonetheless, the top end of the U.N.’s new projection is about 30-percent lower than it was in its last report in 2001. “The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica for the rates observed since 1993,” according to the IPCC, “but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future.”

According to satellite data published in Science in November 2005, Greenland was losing about 25 cubic miles of ice per year. Dividing that by 630,000 yields the annual percentage of ice loss, which, when multiplied by 100, shows that Greenland was shedding ice at 0.4 percent per century.

“Was” is the operative word. In early February, Science published another paper showing that the recent acceleration of Greenland’s ice loss from its huge glaciers has suddenly reversed.

Nowhere in the traditionally refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore’s hypothesis. Instead, there’s an unrefereed editorial by NASA climate firebrand James E. Hansen, in the journal Climate Change — edited by Steven Schneider, of Stanford University, who said in 1989 that scientists had to choose “the right balance between being effective and honest” about global warming — and a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was only reviewed by one person, chosen by the author, again Dr. Hansen.
It's nonsense.

Winds of War

Warclouds are brewing.

To end the global jihad, there are two poles we must confront.

One is the original apocalyptic Shiite threat, led by Iran and its quest for nuclear weapons. Its worldwide terror arm is Hizb'allah.

The other is its Sunni competitor, driven with money and ideology from Saudi Arabia and forged in the terror camps and madrassa indoctrination centers in the lawless areas formerly controlled by Pakistan. Its worldwide terror arm is al-Qaeda.

It's like Coke and Pepsi.

Or an even better analogy, Nazis and Commies! Both were at core similar: expansionist tyrannical one-party rule based on socialist state power, with technical distinctions that led them to fight each other to the death.

Much like Sunni and Shia jihadists.

And they're getting ready to fight each other.

And in this we should facilitate their conflict all we can like in WW2, and then defeat the one left standing.

Here are indications of the brewing great islamic civil war:

Report: Israel Asks U.S. for Iraqi Airspace Corridor for Iran Strike

And

Chaos in the Gulf: Kuwait preparing for war and Shia riots in Bahrein

Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Watan believes that Kuwait and NATO will sign a bilateral agreement in March. This agreement will include only Kuwait and will not concern the other monarchies in the Gulf. It will basically allow NATO to use Kuwait as “a point of safe passage made for the armies of the Alliance”. In December 2006, the two parties had already signed an agreement on intelligence sharing. Kuwait thus reinforces the Western umbrella which should protect it in the event of a regional conflict involving Iran.

Another sign of Iran creating chaos: Saudi daily newspaper Al Watantells us about the second consecutive night of riots in Bahrein. The two suspects arrested admitted having been involved with about thirty other people to spread violence in Bahreïn. Several regions with Shia majority especially in the north witnessed also violence and rioting.

Knowing of Iran's strategy to destabilize Sunni monarchies with a significant Shia minority, one should not be surprised of these latest events.
And

Pakistan is Dissolving
The Pakistani government is preparing to cede the Federally Administered Tribal Agency of Bajaur to the Taliban. Jan Aurakzai, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, has informed the media that a 'peace deal' fashioned after the Waziristan Accord is imminent, Dawn reports.
...
Pakistan has lost control of its western territories, and is attempting to put the best face on this failure by cutting deals that cannot and will not enforce, and then claiming success. Musharraf, Aurakazi and a host of Pakistani political and military leaders continue to claim success with the Waziristan Accord, and promote the false hope that further peace deals can bring peace in the west.

This failure comes at the expense of security in Afghanistan, the West, as al-Qaeda is plotting strikes and training terrorist from the tribal areas, and within Pakistan itself. The Taliban are openly pushing their agenda in the Northwest Frontier Territory, and are conducting a nationwide terror campaign to cower the government. The peace deals in North and south Waziristan, the upcoming deal in Bajaur and others soon to follow, and the inability to take action against the terrorists inside their own borders poses a direct threat to the existence of the Pakistani state.

SoCal Vacation Lessons Learned

As promised, if you click the "read more" you'll get my lessons learnt from our recent vacation:

1. Taking a family trip to San Diego and L.A. was a way better idea than my initial plans on how to spend my vacation. My ideas included:

a) Live-blogging my naps.
b) Wandering around town making fun of people who still believe that professional boxing is a real sport.
c) Coming up with a Mock Fantasy Draft for the family Fantasy Football League.
2. The vacation was successful because I got to go on my two favorite rides at Disneyland:

a) The Tram Ride:

b) The Alameda Police Golf Cart ride:

3. If your son watches The Colbert Report, he'll probably want to get pictures taken with celebrities:

I have no idea what the "thumbs up" means, but I'm sure it's obscene.

4. The new Submarine Ride at Disneyland isn't open yet...

...but it's a great place for bloggers with a nom de blog like "Bubblehead" to get their picture taken:

5. Universal Studios Theme Park in Hollywood is a good place to spend one day, but I have no idea what anyone would do there on the 2nd day of a visit. On a related note, the MWR in San Diego only sells two-day tickets.

6. Traffic in L.A. totally blows. We left Universal Studios at 5 p.m., and had gotten only 8 miles down the 101 during the next hour. The next 8 miles took a half hour, and we covered another 8 miles in the subsequent 15 minutes. After that (at 6:45 p.m.), traffic opened up a little, so we did about 50 mph until we got almost to Camp Pendleton.

7. I'll probably come up with more later, but now it's time to go watch the Oscars.

Iranian Propaganda Sounds Like Old Soviet Stuff

Check out this article on the Iranian reaction to recent U.S. submarine problems in the Iranian press. Excerpts:
Chemical and radioactive substances have leaked from a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine at the repairing site in Bahrain, an Iranian navy official has said.
The substances have leaked from the USS Newport News submarine which collided with a Japanese tanker near the Straits of Hormuz on January 8, Commander of Iranian Navy, Rear Admiral Sajjad Kuchaki said.
He added that the USS Newport News collision with the Mogamigawa has happened because of irresponsibility of officials on the American submarine.
"USS Newport News has suffered substantial damages, but Americans tried denying this," Kuchaki stated.
Saying that the submarine has been transferred to the Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet, the commander added that although initial reports rejected the spread of chemicals, "Our news sources revealed that traces of chemical and radioactive leakage are evident at the Bahrain port where the U.S. submarine is being repaired..."
...Kuchaki added that Commander Matthew A. Weingart was relieved of command due to his recklessness and Captain Norman B. Moore has taken his position.
He further noted that the submarine was transited to Bahrain for temporary repairs, and it will return to the Port of Norfolk for a complete overhaul.
The commander raised the question of why Persian Gulf States and environmental organizations are being indifferent to this matter when they are very well aware of the environmental consequences of the incident.
"The Persian Gulf littoral states and departments that claim they are supportive of the environment, which often exaggerate the smallest oil spill, have not reacted to the spread of chemicals that threaten the region's ecosystem."
Kuchaki went onto say the USS Minneapolis (SSN708) left Norfolk for Europe and stopped in Italy and England for a week.
Four crewmen were swept overboard in rough seas as it pulled out Plymouth harbor in England. The incident occurred due to a hasty and poor decision by the commander.
Pointing out that the presence of crew members on deck is strictly forbidden at time of departure Commander of Iranian navy added, "How could the officials of the mentioned submarine not notice four of their crew members on deck, taking into consideration the importance of this matter, and then start departing?"
The commander expressed regret that American commanders did not value the lives of their soldiers. He was also surprised at how American families trusted such irresponsible commanders.
Kuchaki added that the U.S. commanders' incompetence and irresponsibility were the cause of this tragic incident.
"Countries in the region must not allow their waters to be the parading ground of such people. How can they maintain security in the region and control the flow of oil exports from the Strait of Hormuz with such reckless leadership?"
[Emphasis mine] The article is clearly intended to try to influence the Gulf States (Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE) in the same clumsy matter as the old Soviet stuff back in the 70s and 80s. What interested me in the article was how the Commander of the Iranian Navy may have inadvertantly let something operational slip out. Notice that he seems surprised that anyone would be topside on a submarine after it gets underway. While Western submariners know that we do this all the time, it appears to me that the Iranian submariners must not, which would explain RADM Kuchaki's surprise at this. Now, I'm not sure how we could use this slip operationally, but it's still a good lesson for U.S. submarine officers who talk to the press to take to heart.

Update 2248 25 Feb: Just to close the loop, this Bahraini story has the American denial of the charges -- as well as an interesting statement from the Iranian embassy in Manama that they hadn't heard anything about the Iranian admiral's accusation.

Update 0529 27 Feb: Vigilis has some of RADM Kuchaki's previous questionable statements.

Let's Make "American Geography" The Official Geography Of Idaho

An Idaho state senator has introduced a bill to make English the state's official language:
The Senate State Affairs committee voted 7-2 on Friday to debate the plan next week, with Republicans beating back an attempt by Democrats on the panel to kill the measure. The Democrats had argued it's divisive and would do nothing to change the existing situation, in which nearly all Idaho affairs are conducted in English in a state where the population is overwhelmingly white.
Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, said his bill is modeled after laws in neighboring Utah and Arizona and would make English the state's "official language."
[Emphasis mine] Normally, I'm against bills that seek only to "make a statement" and not actually do anything, but if this bill could help state senators learn the meaning of the word "neighboring", I'm all for it. Maybe the bill could mandate that state senators answer a test question something like this, and anyone who answers "G" would have to take a remedial geography class:

Q1: Given this map, which is a neighboring state to Idaho?



A. Utah
B. Montana
C. Wyoming
D. Nevada
E. Oregon
F. Washington
G. Arizona

Back Home

Just got back home from vacation -- lessons learned document to follow. I was excited to find that my copy of the 2007 Submarine Almanac had arrived in the mail while I was gone, so I'll have lots of good stuff to read this weekend.

MilBloggers At Work And Play

While I'm doing only minimal updates on this blog (we're done with Disneyland, and are heading to Universal Studios today), I haven't been posting at all over on the MilBlog Ring HQ. Luckily, that's a group blog, so there are lots of great milbloggers who've been posting over there regularly -- you should check it out if it's not already on your daily reading list.

Status Of Undersea Warfare Magazine

Ron Martini, normally a pretty good source of submarine-related information, has a post over at his BBS that seems to indicate that the Navy's official Undersea Warfare magazine may have stopped publishing (although it's possible that he was just asking a question). Since I'm on my laptop and forgot my password to log in over there, here are my thoughts on the matter.

Ron points out that the Summer 2006 issue was the last one on their website; however, this issue, in conformance with the Undersea Warfare magazine tradition, was put out pretty late -- in this case, in late November. The Spring '06 issue was actually fairly prompt -- it came out in July. Since I haven't heard that they've ceased publication, I'm just assuming that they're being late as usual and will sometime put out a "combined" two-season issue like they did in 2002 to "catch up" with the calendar. Has anyone else heard anything different?

ROP Attack Maps

Fascinating collection of maps of worldwide terror attacks by the ROP.

Resolved:

Anyone who intentionally starts climbing a mountain in the middle of winter for "recreation" shall be required to sign a form prior to starting their climb stating that either a) they will pay for any rescue efforts made of their behalf, or b) they waive all rescue efforts.

New "Hey, Shipwreck" Episode Out

The 6th episode in the "Hey, Shipwreck" space submarine video series I blogged about earlier is posted -- check it out here.

I Got Skillz

We made it up to Disneyland today (after a detour through some dicier areas of L.A. when we didn't realize that I-5 was shut down and missed the Disney exit). There seems to be only one new ride since we were here last, but it's pretty good: the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride. It was fun for all, as this photo of me beating a teenager in a "laser"-shooting game attests:

If the teenager in question comes back with abuse for me about the alleged existence of some Space Mountain picture where he and everyone else in my family are looking all cool and I look like a cornered rat, don't believe him.

End U.K. Apartheid

Divest Now!

Why don't I think rock stars will take up that old slogan this time?

Swim centre bars two-year-old girl because she isn't Muslim
When Lee Williams saw a parent-and-toddler session advertised at his local pool, he thought it was the perfect chance to teach his young daughter to swim.

Arriving at the leisure centre already in her swimming costume, two-year-old Darby was desperate to get into the water.

But she was left in tears when staff said they were not allowed in the pool because the session was for Muslim women and their children only.
...
According to Islam, women are forbidden from exposing their bodies to any man but their husband.

The incident is the latest in a series of rows between local authorities and the public over swimming lessons for ethnic minority groups.

In December last year, Croydon Council in South London came under fire for running Muslim-only sessions at one of its leisure centres.

Non-Muslim members of Thornton Heath leisure centre were angry that they could not swim during the Muslim-only sessions on Saturdays and Sundays unless they obeyed the strict dress code.

For men, this involved wearing shorts which kept the navel hidden and were extended below the knee, while women bathers had to wear a swimming costume which covered their body from the neck down to the ankle.

Similarly, Wolverhampton Council and South Lanarkshire local authority have also been criticised for operating women-only swimming for Muslims.
Not an isolated event.

Strangers in their own country.

Bubblehead In The Mist

We went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park on Saturday, due mostly to my new philosophy of "Schedules are for people who aren't on vacation". I used to treat vacations like most other aspects of my life -- I'd come up with detailed schedules, work out contingency plans, and get frustrated when others didn't understand the importance of sticking with the schedule. Basically, I was a submariner. (I also packed way more clothes than I needed to -- I'd count the number of days, and multiply by two to get the number of separate outfits I'd need; after all, I might get wet on all of those days, and would need a change of clothes.)

Since then, I've bought into the theory that vacationing means a vacation from sticking to a schedule -- just do what you feel like doing at the moment. On Saturday, our plan was to get down to the Main Base and get tickets for the amusement parks we're hitting this week, and then go to the San Diego Zoo (because, as everyone knows, there's nothing in the world cuter than a baby panda). We ended up hanging out at the Exchange a little longer than expected, so we didn't get to the Zoo until a little after noon. It was a really nice Saturday at the beginning of a 3-day weekend, though, so it turns out that everyone else in San Diego had decided to go to the Zoo as well. After driving around in the parking lot for 40 minutes without finding a spot, we decided it wasn't going to happen, so that's why we headed 35 miles north to the Wild Animal Park.

It'd been 2 1/2 years since we'd been in San Diego, but based on the one data point of seeing freeway traffic on a holiday Saturday, and seeing more new houses on top of hills next to the freeways, I'd say the SD area continues to get more crowded. That doesn't mean that it's not still just about perfect.

Sudden Jihadi Syndrome

The number of these domestic "events" has been growing, but there has been a reluctance to view them all together as a common thread.

Each instead is proclaimed loudly and insistently to be completely random and related to nothing.

But it's getting harder to deny.

Witness this interesting list of domestic islamic terrorism (but carefully undefined as such in the media) put together by a commenter here:
Unfortunately, the US and Europe are not only confronted by a still undefeated al-Qaeda, but by an increasing number of Muslims in their own populations who - inspired and religiously agitated by bin Laden - are prepared to pick up arms and spend their lives to act on that inspiration...

• A 30-year-old Muslim man, Naveed Afzal Haq, who went on a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center in Seattle, announcing "I'm a Muslim-American; I'm angry at Israel."

• An Egyptian national, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who shot two and wounded three at an Israeli airline ticket counter at LAX.

• A bearded 21-year-old student, Joel Hinrichs, who blew himself up with a backpack filled with TATP (the explosive of choice in the Mideast) outside a packed Oklahoma University football stadium not long after he started attending the local mosque.

• A 23-year-old student, Mohammed Ali Alayed, who slashed the throat of his Jewish friend in Houston after apparently undergoing a religious awakening (he went to a local mosque afterward).

• The D.C. snipers — John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, both black Muslim converts — who picked off 13 people in the suburbs around the Beltway as part of what Muhammad described as a "prolonged terror campaign against America" around the first anniversary of 9/11, which he had praised.

• Omeed Aziz Popal of Fremont, Calif., who police said hit and killed a bicyclist there then took his SUV on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco, mowing down pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks before police caught up with him, whereupon the Muslim called himself a "terrorist."

• A 22-year-old Muslim, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, who stole a car in Minneapolis and rammed it into other cars before stealing a van and doing the same, injuring drivers and pedestrians, while repeatedly yelling, "Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill" — all, he said, on orders from "Allah."

• A 22-year-old Iranian honors student, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who deliberately rammed his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina to "punish the government of the United States" for invading Iraq and other Muslim nations.
Add to that list the following recent curious and highly suspicious and suggestive events from the last few days.

First,
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A local cab driver [named Ibrihim Ahmed] allegedly tried to run over two customers after a fight over religion became heated.

The incident happened early Sunday morning on the Vanderbilt campus and left one man hospitalized and a cab driver arrested, said police.

Two students visiting from Ohio were coming from a bar downtown when they got into an argument with their driver over religion, said police. After they paid the driver he allegedly ran them down in a parking lot.
Second, with motive still unclear,
FBI agent Patrick Kiernan declared to reporters Wednesday he had no reason to believe the random, dispassionately executed murder of five people by 18-year-old Bosnian Muslim immigrant Sulejman Talovic Monday night had anything to do with Islamic terrorism, calling it “just unexplainable.”

But Salt Lake Police spokeswoman Robin Snyder told WND the FBI is still working with her department on the case, and investigators continue to explore the terrorism angle.
And then this revelation about a 1997 shooting in the Empire State Building:
GAZA CITY - Ali Abu Kamal’s relatives say they are tired of lying about why the Palestinian opened fire on the observation deck of Empire State Building, killing a tourist and injuring six other people before committing suicide.

Kamal’s widow insisted after the shooting spree that the attack was not politically motivated. She said that her husband had become suicidal after losing $300,000 in a business venture.

But in a stunning admission, Kamal’s 48-year-old daughter Linda told the Daily News that her dad wanted to punish the U.S. for supporting Israel - and revealed her mom’s 1997 account was a cover story crafted by the Palestinian Authority.
Wake up!

It's like children's teasing in which someone takes your arm and by swinging it makes your hand slap yourself, all the while saying, "I'm not hitting you; why are you hitting yourself?"

Except it's deadly.

Here are islamic terrorists killing us, all the while saying "islam is not attacking you!"

That is designed to make it difficult for us to respond.

See through the deception!

The list speaks for itself.