Monday, July 31, 2006

Putting Ourselves in Their Shoes

Let's imagine a situation similar to Israel's where the US is the one under attack. This is actually possible given the right chain of events.

First, let's assume that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado follows through with his threat to start a civil war in Mexico unless he is made president. Mexico has had some provinces, mainly in the south, rebelling for years so this is quite possible. Now, let's assume that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez takes advantage of leftist anti-Americanism and starts providing support for the rebels, both in cash and in weaponry. Given civil conflict in Mexico, this is likely.

This next is a bit of a stretch but let's assume that the Mexican rebels decide that they want part of the US back. La Raza has demanded Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California so it could happen. In order to force the issue, they set up near the border and start lobbing missiles into the US. Most of these are un-aimed short-range missiles and mainly threaten cities within a hundred miles of the border but they also show off some long-range missile's that are part of Chavez's billion dollar purchase of arms from Russia. These can hit any city in the US. Further, Chavez announces that he is pursuing nuclear and biological weapons for self-defense.

So what would we do? Just sit and take it, knowing that worse was coming? Invade Mexico knowing that there would be civilian casualties? Attack Venezuela directly knowing that it would likely turn all of South America against us? Would we get any sympathy from Europe or the UN?

There is no good solution but we would at least be in the position of being strong enough and large enough that we would not be in danger of annihilation.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Deja Vu

I had a bit of Deja Vu during tonight's news. NBC ran a story about some formerly dedicated Republicans who were disenchanted with the party and would likely vote Democrat. David Broder wrote a very similar column about a long-time Republican who is disgusted with the party ad planning to vote against it.
They were running the same story two years ago - people who voted for Bush in 2000 were not going to vote for him in 2004. They ran this story again and again. From the news coverage, Bush didn't have a chance.
The funny thing is that they never run stories about people who voted Democrat and are now planning to vote Republican. It's almost enough to make you think that the MSM is trying to give the impression that the Democrats can't lose.

Now that I think about it, I remember hearing a long piece on NPR in the fall of 1994. It was on how the Democrats in Congress coudn't lose. That was the year that the Republicans took Congress. Hmm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism

The left is turning very anti-Israel. The polite leftists say that Israel's response to the boarder incursion and kidnapping of two soldiers and the nightly firing of some 200 rockets has been disproportional. I'm not quite sure what they think would be a proportional reaction - probably sanctions. But these are the nice guys.

At the DailyKOS, someone made this post:
Imagine a world without Israel

by qrswave

Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 06:41:50 PM PDT

Or is that not allowed?

> Muslims, Jews, and Christians could live in peace without fear of mutual destruction.
> There would be no more need for US AID or justification for Dimona.
> We could bring down the Wall, send prisoners home, and families could be reunited.
> We could dismantle checkpoints, open crossings, and pull down barbed wire fences.
> There would be no more settlements or armed settlers because the people would be united.
> We could replant trees and olive groves and rebuild battered cities.
> No more suicide bombers or sniper fire, and no more dead civilians.
> No more targeted killings and hell-fire missiles, or systematic demolitions.
> Palestinians and Jews could live together and the world could address other issues.
> What a simpler place this world would be
> if there was no need for a Jewish majority - where there would otherwise be none.
> Is it so hard to imagine?

Now, KOS is full of hard-core lefties who often shoot of their collectives mouths. What does the mainstream think? Consider this column from Richard Cohen in the Washington Post:

The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.

His recommendation is
The smart choice is to pull back to defensible -- but hardly impervious -- borders. That includes getting out of most of the West Bank -- and waiting (and hoping) that history will get distracted and move on to something else. This will take some time, and in the meantime terrorism and rocket attacks will continue.

There is a common thread in writing from the left. They insist that they are not anti-Semitic (anti-Jew), or even anti-Zionist (anti-Israel) they just disagree with Israel's policies. Often the writers are Jewish themselves. These columns make it clear that the left considers a Jewish state to be a mistake.

A look at history shows why Jews feel the need for their own state. Time and again, a country would be receptive to them and they would move there, then politics would change and they would be persecuted. For hundreds of years, Spain was considered the New Israel, the new homeland of the Jews. That changed abruptly in 1492 when the Jews were expelled. Germany, Poland and Russia were open to Jews in the 19th century but turned into death traps for them in the 20th century.

It is no wonder that the Jews want a place where they are in the majority and can protect themselves instead of hoping that the welcoming country of this century doesn't change in the next. With the growing Islamic influence in Europe, Canada, and the US, there are few places that can be guaranteed friendly through the end of the 21st century.

So, was it a mistake for them to settle on the middle east for their homeland? Iran's president suggested that Europe should set aside some land for them there and Cohen's piece seems to imply the same thing.

I'm not buying this argument. For one thing, Israel is the Jewish homeland and has always had a significant Jewish population. For another thing, all of the countries in the middle east are recent creations divided up by the British. There is no country with a legitimate claim on the land Israel occupies.

One final point - is the Israeli response disproportionate? A big part of their response is based on the nightly rocket attacks - attacks that can reach all of Israel. To stop or slow these, they are bombing the bridges and roads used to transport the rockets and the airport that receives them. Since this infrastructure is also used by the civilian population, it seems cruel but I suspect than most of the critics would advocate doing the same thing if terrorists in Canada started launching nightly attacks on the US.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Discovering Hot Air

Last night the Discovery Channel aired a special on Global Warming. It was billed as an event that would make the viewer an expert on the subject and able to judge for himself about the truth of the matter. In fact, it was a compilation of all of the worst exaggerations designed to scare people into supporting solutions without properly understanding them.

I'm sure that others will pick the show apart in detail. I'm going to pick up on one small piece to show how the program misleads.

While talking about rising oceans, the announcer said that "The only reason that we go to the ocean is to go to the beach but, for every foot that the ocean rises, we lose 300 feet of beach." Leaving aside that there are other reasons for going to the ocean than going to the beach, there are still three problems with this statement.

First there is the implication that beaches are static resources that can be covered. In fact, they are constantly changing. Beaches are part of a natural cycle of currents. In some places the currents pick up sand, in other places the sand is deposited. If the ocean level rises then new beaches will be formed naturally.

OK, so there will be beaches, but probably not where we expect them to be. Is that a problem? Not really. In many places, the natural currents have already changed and the modern vacation spots are no longer where the beaches naturally occur. Locations such as Virginia Beach spend millions of dollars annually rebuilding beaches that are trying to migrate elsewhere naturally. If the oceans rise then this process will continue. It might have to be accelerated but it will not be much different from what it already being done.

The final point, and one that they really don't want you to think about, is what would happen if we really do adopt significant measures to stop Global Warming? Great Britain has suggested a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. With households accounting for around 50% of carbon emissions, that means that individuals will have to cut their lifestyle deeply. Recreational travel will be a thing of the past.

This means that, for most of us, going to the beach will be out of the question. The beaches may be saved but the only people who will be able to appreciate them will be the ones living close enough to walk there.

A great deal of the show was like this - they didn't tell outright lies but they committed numerous lies by omission.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The June Attack on Iran

Last April, Seymour Hersch was making the rounds insisting that President Bush planned a major attack against Iran in the near future. He based this on a column he had published in the New Yorker. That column didn't give any timetables for the attack but he named June on several talk show appearances (which were verbal and therefore harder to find a link for). At the time, no one called him for making the exact same prediction a year earlier. At that point he was claiming that the attack would be in June, 2005.

We are now half-way into July so it is safe to say that there will be no June attack. Further, there seems to be less talk about attacks.

So, will anyone call Hersch on his mis-calculation? Besides me, that is.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Plame Game

Valerie Plame, former CIA covert operative and wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson is suing members of the Bush administration. Plame claims that her identity was leaked as revenge against her husband in retaliation for his criticism of Bush's Iraq policies.

I worry about the state of the union when former CIA and State Department people turn out to be really dumb. Assuming that this actually comes to trial, she is going to have to get on the witness stand and explain how she could be a covert agent when she was married to an ambassador. The two of them will have to reconcile the many public statements that Wilson made against his sword testimony before the 911 committee when it came out that he had repeatedly lied.

Wilson said that he went to Niger at the request of the Vice President's Office. He was actually sent by the CIA at his wife's suggestion. The defense attorney will grill the two of them on how Cheney could possibly defend himself without disclosing how Wilson was actually hired.

The left ignored what actually happened and continues to make him a star for no other reason than that he hurt Bush. By dragging all of this out into the open again, Plame assures that the real story will be heard again.

Or possibly she's delusional. In various interviews, her husband has described her as "Jane Bond" and talked about her cloak and dagger secret life.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Small Town 4th

We spent the weekend in Bath, Maine which is a small town. There is a military base a few miles away and the largest employer, the Bath Iron Works, makes destroyers for the Navy. All of that adds up to a fairly conservative town.
We skipped the fireworks. They had some Sunday that we did see and it was foggy so we went to Superman Returns.
We did go to the parade this morning. Before it started, a news camera went around asking people to sing the national anthem. I heard a couple of people do it. One skipped a line but sounded pretty good. The other remembered the words but wasn't quite on-key. Both were applauded anyway.
Very few people work red, white and blue. I had on a Captain America T-shirt. No one recognized what it was but three different people complimented me on it.
The parade was long - around 90 minutes. Everyone took it seriously. This is the sort of parade that the Doo Dah Parade organizers can't stand.
There were a lot of Republicans in the parade. I there were 3 or 4 floats and a bunch of candidates They threw candy and talked with spectators they knew.
After a while a small group with "Bring the troops back now" signs went by. The silence was noticeable. One Democrat had his supporters march with this group. The rest of the Democrats were further back.
The main group of Democrats was much smaller than the Republicans and I think that they only had one float. They threw candy and had a singer singing "God Bless America". This group was out-of-step with Democrat leaders, MoveOn organizers, and particularly MoveOn organizer, George Soros who  says that America is the main obstacle to a stable and just world.Then there is this idiot at Kos who is sickened that his (now former church) sang "God bless the USA" right after a soldier was accused of an awful crime.
It really makes you wonder how Kerry won this state.
Bottom line, patriotism is alive and well in small-town Maine.