Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kabul in a Far Better Shape than You Think

Fire of Liberty

As I was watching FOX News this past Monday I came upon the rioters in the street burning cars and raising all kinds of hell in the streets of Kabul after a truck our soldiers were driving collided(faulty brakes)with several Afghan civilians. One thing that really got my attention was a young guy before a large group started shouting in perfect English that the folks in Afghanistan wanted Bush , the Americans, foreigners and their various influences out of Afghanistan for good. Now I'm not a complete expert on Afghanistan but I know that based on the pre-war nature of Kabul, the likelihood that an everyday Afghan enunciating such fluent English is very rare. I'm guessing he's part of the large groups of rabble-rousers who's migrated to Afghanistan from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf or even Europe to cause trouble and thus presented a sense of chaos in Kabul to the Western media. With cameras on the scene, folks from New York, L.A., Chicago, London, Paris, Berlin, and even Middle Georgia were presented with a deluge of scenes of cars and shops afire, rioters in the streets and the cameo of our English speaking thus presenting Afghanistan in complete chaos and the Afghan security forces and police absent from the scene. Now most folks would assume from the footage that all is lost in Kabul but luckily for us there's fine bloggers like Bill Roggio who are providing us a far better assessment of the situation in Kabul than what the MSM seems to report. According to Roggio's fine reporting over at Counterterrorism Blog the Afghan capital is at a relative calm which is far from what a casual viewer would have thought was possible. I'd say folks will gleam more knowledge from reading this post than anything the MSM has put together, so be sure to read it and get informed.

Hanging The Democracy Movement In The Wind

Fire of Liberty

Tonight in Tehran the mullahs are falling all over themselves in laughter because the United States has declared that they're willing to have direct talks with Iran. It looks like Secretary Rice is returning to her realist foreign policy training and pushed the march towards freedom foreign policy to the wayside to get in the good graces of Europe and the Republican Wets in the Senate. The only thing that this hat in hand approach towards Iran is providing some legitimacy for the mullahs. All the regime has to do is point out that their saber rattling has brought the 'Great Satan' to its knees much like it did in 1979. This show of weakness before the mullahs will push the radicalism in the Islamic world even further thus creating the strong horse versus weak horse scenario that the great Middle East historian Bernard Lewis has pointed out since September 11th, 2001. (He originally pointed this out in an article in Foreign Affairs upon reading Bin Laden's 1998 fatwa against the US).

The folks in the NSC, CIA, and State Department might think that this is a move in the right direction but they're leaving the democratic movement of Iran(Egypt, Lebanon, Syria) out on the lurch even when the regime is feeling the pressure of the democracy movement, see here. As you know, I've stood shoulder to shoulder with the folks of Iran who take on the Islamo-fascists each and every day and thus we should be focused more on following the Jeffersonian/Lincolnian/Reaganesque policy of promoting the principles of liberty and freedom and thus embracing the democracy movement throughout the world that President Bush stated in his 2nd Inaugural Address rather than giving a vast upper-hand to the mullahs by offering direct talks. It seems as of late that we're standing by the chicken coop door with the door opened and telling the fox to get his full. Where is the sanity to this move after standing by the forces of freedom for the last five years.

A Closer Look At Senate Immigration Bill

Fire of Liberty
Robert J. Samuelson, columnist for the Washington Post and Newsweek, has a wonderful column out today in Newsweek that shows the hidden costs of a comprehensive immigration reform policy that Senator Kennedy is praising to high heaven. According to Samuelson, the MSM (With the exception of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, National Review) seemed to be singing like larks about how the Senate's bill would open an avenue for amnesty for the 12 million illegals already in this nation but failed to report to the news-consumers of America that the legislation would also doubles the limit on legal immigration from the current 20 million people to a whopping 40 million folks over the next twenty years. Now I don't know about you but if its a trying time for the current flow of legal immigrants to assimilate and become Americans along with the burden of granting amnesty for the 12 million illegal immigrants(Their families as well) one can imagine what we'll be in for if Congress doubles our immigration limit to 40 million. I'd say that Samuelson puts his finger on the trouble that is waiting down the track some twenty years from now when he notes the following:
But if it had, senators would have had to defend what they were doing as sound public policy. That's the real point. They would have had to debate whether such high levels of immigration are good or bad for the country. What arguments would they have used?

No one can contend that the United States needs expanded immigration to prevent the population from shrinking. Our population is aging but not shrinking. With present immigration policies, the Census Bureau projects a U.S. population of 420 million in 2050, up from 296 million in 2005. Another dubious argument is that much higher immigration would dramatically improve economic growth. From 2007 to 2016, the Senate bill might increase the economy's growth rate by a tiny 0.1 percentage point annually, estimates the Congressional Budget Office.

The doubling of legal immigration under the Senate bill that I cited at the outset comes from a previously unreported estimate made by White House economists. Because the president praised the Senate bill, the administration implicitly favors a big immigration expansion. The White House estimate could be low. Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation has a higher figure. The CBO has a projection that the White House describes as close to its own. But all the forecasts envision huge increases.

Our immigration laws involve a bewildering array of categories by which people can get a "green card'' -- the right to stay permanently. The Senate bill dramatically expands many of these categories and creates a large new one: "guest workers.'' The term is really a misnomer, because most "guest workers'' would receive an automatic right to apply for a green card and remain. The Senate bill authorizes 200,000 "guest workers'' annually, plus their spouses and minor children.

One obvious question is why most of the news media missed the larger immigration story. On May 15, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama held a news conference with Heritage's Rector to announce their immigration projections and the estimated impact on the federal budget. Most national media didn't report the news conference. The next day, CBO released its budget and immigration estimates. These, too, were largely unreported.

If history follows as it did with the passage of previous immigration reforms, one can expect to see in twenty years time a huge mess boiling over after 40 million people immigrate here and another 14 million illegals cross over the border because they'll wager that they can come here illegally because the generation before them had received amnesty. At least we've got a columnist in the MSM like Mr. Samuelson who keeps the citizens of this country informed on the actions going down with regard to immigration reform.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

We Remember You

Fire of Liberty

As I comb through some of the articles and pieces that I missed this week, I came across a wonderful column by Peggy Noonan which provides a fitting and moving dedication to the soldiers who have battled for our freedoms since the founding of this great nation. I thought I'd share a part of the column that seemed to have reached out to me and salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here's a look:
It is good that we have this day to remember heroes, to think again of those who over the centuries put themselves in harm's way for our country, for us. It is good that we remember, and take inspiration from, tales of valor, of flags carried uphill, like the one carried by the intrepid young First Lt. Arthur MacArthur, during a Union charge in the Civil War (he would go on to become a lieutenant general and the father of a son named Douglas), and heavily defended positions taken by a lone soldier, like Sgt. Alvin York in World War I. It's good to remember the simple human potential for bravery that lives within all of us, and that in some is fully tapped and met with brilliant, unforgettable actions.

The starkest description of the meaning of what the members of the armed services do, and have done, is the simple observation that freedom of speech was not secured for us by editors, readers and writers, but by soldiers who gave their lives to win it and would give their lives to defend it.

But thinking of "From Here to Eternity" has me thinking of the old American Army of the 20th century, the Depression era, peacetime army that Jones captured as no one else ever had. It was an unspectacular thing, that Army, or seemed so until December 1941. Jones's Pvt. Prewitt was a lost Southern boy who found a home in that Army. He and his friend Angelo Maggio of New York "could live better Inside."

They came from little, had no money, had received indifferent public educations, and the 1930s Army they joined was neither racially integrated, gender-neutral nor adequately funded. The great divide, the caste system, was between officers and enlisted men. The latter were given training and discipline and were left with a passionate and passionately mixed attitude toward the institution that made them part of something as it chipped away at their individuality, that employed them and enslaved them, that made them men and often treated them like children.

When James Jones himself joined the Army, in 1937, a young man whose options seemed limited, he wrote back home, "This place is hell. They herd you around like cattle; they order you around like dogs; they work you like horses; and they feed you like hogs." In the 1953 film of the novel, directed by Fred Zinnemann, the first shot after the credits is of men marching in brisk formation. But all you can see are their boots on a dusty field, perfect but anonymous.

They were not, the men of the peacetime, Depression-era Army, especially respected by the public they served.
G-d bless our servicemen and Peggy Noonan for her continued support of our troops of the past and present.

Monday, May 29, 2006

To all Veterans: Thank You

Fire of Liberty

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

On this Memorial Day, we take a moment to remember the countless numbers of Americans who died in various other Flanders Fields throughout the world. So let me take a few moments to send out a great big Thank You to all of our servicemen who have died or risked their lives in various conflicts and wars to defend our nation and preserve the freedoms we hold dear. God bless ya'll.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mexico: Liberalize Your Economy

Fire of Liberty

Bloomberg columnist Amity Shlaes has a good column out today on the whole illegal immigration debate which notes that a lot of our problems can be solved on Mexico's side of the border via economic growth and a further liberalization of the Mexican economy. If the government will move away from their highly regulated and monopolistic ways of business towards a more market-based economy with lower taxes and less red-tape, folks in Mexico would witness an economic boom that would create a massive influx of jobs that pay far better wages than the currently make in Mexico thus cutting back on the flow of Mexicans looking to the US. Shlaes notes that the people of Mexico have an opportunity to ensure such prosperity by electing Felipe Calderon, a market oriented candidate who advocates a flat tax and the further liberalization, president of Mexico come July 2, 2006. After seeing the folks of Mexico break the 70 year domination of the socialistic PRI by electing Vicente Fox, one can only hope that the folks in Mexico want to continue their path forward and upward by electing Calderon but then again the current drift to the left seems to have engulfed various parts of Central and South America. All in all, the fate of Mexico belongs in the hands of its people. For me, I hope they choose a path of growth to take the burden off themselves and on our citizens in the border states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. It's always good to have an libertarian like Amity Shlaes pointing out that Mexico's wacky quasi-socialistic economy is one of the main reasons why Mexicans are flocking here illegally everyday.

A True Story on Cuba's Revolution

Fire of Liberty

If you're thinking about going to see a movie this Memorial Day weekend and aren't that fired up about X-Men, The Da Vinci Code or MI-III then I suggest you try to take find a theatre that's playing Andy Garcia's new movie The Lost City. Its basically a well written and directed movie about what a Cuban family(and the nation for that matter) had to endure at the hands of Castro, Che and fellow communistas during the 1959 Cuban Revolution. While a lot of Hollywood's luminaries yuck it up with Castro, Barbara Walters gushes of Cuban Health Care and Education and kids walk around wearing T-shirts emblazon with Che's face, there are individuals like Garcia(Who left Cuba at a young age with his family to escape the oncoming horror of Castro ) have made it the effort to produce a film that reveals that Castro and his right hand man Che Guevara are really monsters who engulfed Cuba in a revolutionary fire that has resulted in a "Worker's Hell" that has resulted in shear misery and death for the citizenry of Cuba. Now I know that Garcia's movie won't get a nomination for an Oscar or any praise from the folks in Hollywood but it is much to the true on Castro's regime than what his fellow actors and directors seem to put out on the Tropical Gulag" ninety miles off the coast of Florida. So try to catch The Lost City but in the meantime read this review by National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Catching Terrorists Via The Net

Fire of Liberty

Though I generally fall far more to the right than the whole staff at the New Yorker, I generally head over to the web-site from time to time to read most pieces written by Jeffrey Goldberg or find some interesting profiles of writers/thinkers, reviews of books, literature, food and whatever else catches my eye. Well, today I decided to try my luck and see if I could find anything interesting and to my surprise I stumbled across a great article by Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Rita Katz and her efforts to take down Islamic terrorists via her organization Search for International Terrorist Entities(SITE). According to Wallace-Wells, Katz and her colleagues at SITE comb the various Islamic Terrorists chat-rooms and countless other sites in an effort to discovering the techniques, technical know-how, thinking and plans of the various jihadists who intend to kill American citizens, soldiers as well as our allies/friends throughout the world. Basically Katz and SITE provide our intelligence agencies with a extra hand in deciphering the massive reams of information that terrorists are continually producing on the information highway thus making it much easier to catch terrorists at a much greater rate than we currently do. Though a lot of individuals in the intelligence community tend to look down on Katz due to her lack of "intelligence experience"(This just shows you how the CIA is so protective of their turf that they're unwilling to think that folks from other areas of our society can track down terrorists even better than they can.)they still can't ignore the fact that sometimes the private sector filled with devoted individuals have a better chance of combining through valuable information and deciphering what the terrorists are up to compared to a bloated bureaucracy like the CIA and the DNI have become.

I'm glad that we have private entity like SITE under the hands of Katz especially when our intelligence agencies are having a hard time finding individuals who speak fluent Arabic and understand the way of the Arab world(Who see the Islamic terrorists as a great threat rather than the academic status quo of Islamic terrorists being "misunderstood individuals who have endured years of Western colonialism"). I have to say that you couldn't find a more qualified individual than Katz to do the job of searching for dangerous terrorists especially after you read the following:
Katz was born in Basra, Iraq, in 1963, one of four children of a wealthy Jewish businessman. In 1968, in the wake of the Six-Day War, the Baath government, with Saddam Hussein as its head of security, encouraged attacks against Iraqi Jews. Some Jews from prominent families were arrested and charged with spying for Israel, among them Katz'’s father. After he was imprisoned, his wife and children were transported to Baghdad and kept under house arrest in a stone hut. Katz'’s father was convicted in a military tribunal and executed, in 1969, with eight other Jews and five non-Jews, in a public hanging in Baghdad'’s central square. Hundreds of thousands of cheering Iraqis attended; the government offered free transportation to people from the provinces, and belly dancers performed for the crowd. Katz was six years old.

After the family had been living in the hut for months, Katz's mother drugged the guards and escaped with the children. By pretending to be the wife of a well-known Iraqi general, a woman she faintly resembled, she got the family first to the Iranian border and then to Israel. They settled in a small seaside town called Bat-Yam. Katz did her military service in the Israel Defense Forces after high school, and studied politics and history at Tel Aviv University. She married a medical student, and went into business with her mother, manufacturing clothes; Katz handled sales. In 1997, Katz'’s husband won a fellowship to do research in endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health, and they moved to Washington with their three children. (They later had a fourth.)

The particulars of her biography——her father'’s execution, her escape from Iraq, and her education in Israel——give Katz, in the eyes of some in the counterterrorism community, a kind of bionic character, as if she had been designed to hunt down terrorists. Her friends and allies are awed by her background; her critics find in it reason to be suspicious of her motives. Katz claims to attach no special meaning to it. "“I would have to think about that,"” she said, when I asked her if her early life had made her particularly sensitive to the terrorist threat. Later, she told me, "“I know that the people who killed my father aren'’t the same as the jihadis, but obviously I would never have got interested in the politics of this part of the world if it weren'’t for his execution."” (She also said, "“When you grow up in a place like Iraq, you understand maybe a little bit about how Arabs think, and also what they are capable of.").
So if you want to read a good and lengthy piece on on an individual and her associates who work day and night tracking the various Islamic terrorists who threaten our lives and way of life then I'd say check out Benjamin Wallace-Wells piece "Private Jihad" in the New Yorker. Now I'm all for going after terrorists via the long end of the law but I still prefer that we kill the terrorists dead in their tracks and prevent them from returning to the battlefield. I can find a good gem every once in a while and I think I found one.


Also check out Katz's book Terrorism Hunter to learn more about how she goes about taking down terrorists.

A Nation Of Laws

Fire of Liberty

As members of the Senate celebrate the most recent passage of the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill, there's a lot of folks in the country scratching their heads wondering what in the heck are these folks doing with regards to our borders.(My two Senators (Chambliss and Isakson) voted no with 34 others) With the passage of this bill, the Senate has signaled that they could care less about the 12 million who broke the law but are making it possible for more uneducated illegals to come in here while making it harder for the more productive and highly educated individuals from entering this nation. So it seems that the individuals within this august body seem to forget that we live in a nation that is ruled by laws and has a people that expect individuals to abide by them. Well, George Will has a wonderful column in the Washington Post that shows how the folks in D.C. are failing to enforce laws that are already on the books with regards to immigration by pushing through outlandish things like the publication of bilingual ballots(The same thing goes for bilingual education). Here's a look at what Will had to say:
To understand why millions of conservatives do not trust Washington to think clearly or act reasonably about immigration, consider bilingual ballots. These conservatives, already worried that both the rule of law and national identity are becoming attenuated because of illegal immigration, now have another worry: The federal government's chief law enforcement official might need a refresher course on federal law pertaining to legal immigrants.

In 1906, the year before a rabbi in a Passover sermon coined the phrase "melting pot'' during torrential immigration from eastern and southern Europe, Congress passed and President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation requiring people seeking to become naturalized citizens to demonstrate oral English literacy. In 1950, the requirement was strengthened to require people to "demonstrate an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language.''

Hence, if someone needs a ballot written in a language other than English, that need proves the person obtained citizenship only because the law was not enforced when he or she sought citizenship. So one reason for ending ballots in languages other than English is that continuing them makes a mockery of the rule of law, including even the prospective McCain-Kennedy law that pro-immigration groups favor.
So once again we have a bunch of law makers who created a new set of laws while ignoring the ones that we have on the books. One can only imagine what shape this nation would be like if our society as a whole just decided to up and ignore all the laws of this nation because they just want to. My advice is to work with what you've got rather than waste our time pushing ineffective laws.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Boot-Strap Time

Fire of Liberty

As you know, I'm a big fan of Booker T Washington's "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" ideals that puts the emphasis on the individual and the private sector of alleviating problems like poverty, crime, drug use, illegitimacy and what not rather than sitting merely complaining and waiting for the government to solve their problems. Such thinking or return to such ideas is something that the black community of America needs to return to in order to fix the problems I noted earlier(The same goes for all Americans).

In fact this is pretty much the point that respected people like Bill Cosby, Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, John McWorter try to convey the the black community in their various speeches and publications. Another individual that's studied issues on race and the problems that affect this community is Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, who penned a fine piece in the May 21 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times that calls on individuals in the inner city and black community in general to return to the wisdom of Booker T. Washington. Though I recommend you read the whole piece, I'd like to share with you what I thought was the most impressive part of the piece. Here's a look:
Washington bore a heavy burden, and his goal was a practical one. African Americans in the 1880s were a vulnerable population, and the best way to improve their chances was through an educational program that would send them into the world as skilled workers and wise consumers, not agitators. And to make it happen, Washington had to appease, cajole and deflect white skeptics, politicians and race baiters every day of the year.

Behind the program lay a simple strategy. Before you demand political rights and social status, Washington told his followers, get some economic power. Learn a skill, find a job, do it well, make your boss or client need you. Buy some property, take care of it, pay taxes, and raise property values so that the community wants you. Be a paying customer in the local shops so that the proprietor who admits you will count on your business. The profits you generate and the work ethic you model will blunt their racism and boost your finances. Let them shun you in the train stations and the voting booth for now. When black families are secure, when black capital is indispensable, when black labor is in demand, then will come the time for political action.

There is no better message for young Americans today, especially young black men. If we ramp up Washington's curriculum to include the professions, his self-reliance, work ethic, and thick skin when it comes to race relations are a welcome alternative to the cynicism and despair that characterizes racial talk today. It is also more in line with the realities of American life. As the 2000 Census demonstrated, more African Americans are moving into the middle class, and the political/social revolution of the civil rights movement is one of the glories of our history.
The various members of Congress can continue to offer up countless government programs and flood dollars upon dollars in these segments in society if they want to but I'd bet my last two on the wisdom of Booker T. Washington over anything that seems to orginate out of D.C. So my advice is for more folks to read Washington's writings and speeches and get to setting their community in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Support Mugabe, Get a $88,000 Land Cruiser

Fire of Liberty

As the people in Zimbabwe are starving to death, seeking new homes after being thrown out of their homes due to Mugabe's "Drive Out the Filth" campaign as well suffering from an inflation rate hovering above 1,000%, the ruthless regime of Robert Mugabe has purchased some 100 Land Cruisers valued at £47,000 a piece($88,362.35)to dole out to various members of his family and regime loyalists to retain his hold on power. One thing that perplexes me is that even after Christina Lamb has run several fine pieces in The Times on the horrific nature of the regime, few nations besides the US and the UK are interested in saying a thing about Mugabe and his actions. If the UN amounted to anything you'd think they'd step up and condemn Mugabe and call up sanctions or call for him to step down but as with Rwanda, Kosovo and Sudan they've once again demonstrated their ineffectiveness. So here's hoping someone ends the burden of the people in Zimbabwe real soon. (Twenty-six years of Mugabe is enough hell for anyone to endure.)

**Even worse, mothers are abandoning up to 20 babies a day due to the lack of food in Zimbabwe(Once the bread-basket of Africa) due to the regime seizing farms from farmers to give to cronies (Thus no crops being grown) as well as the tremedous inflation rate of 1,000%.(Cost too much to buy food.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Braving the Fire of Radical Islam

Fire of Liberty

Suzanne Fields penned a wonderful column in yesterday's Washington Times that provides a good look at two Muslim women who have braved the odds to protest Islamic extremism and its horrific nature towards women. I'd say that these two individuals are chief examples of why we're taking on the terrorists in the first place(Well that and the destruction of the WTC and some 3,000+souls on 9/11)

Historical Insight On Spanish Civil War

Fire of Liberty

If anyone has read anything on George Orwell you know that the great writer/thinker became disillusioned with communism and his fellow travelers after fighting alongside his comrades-in-arms in the Spanish Civil War. As Orwell noted in his masterful book Homage to Catalonia, he decided to split ways with his communist brethren after he witnessed the totalitarian nature of the Soviet commanders who rounded up and executed various members of the Spanish Republican army and members of the International brigades because they weren't as devoted to the Soviet cause as they were. Now while a lot of folks in Hollywood, academia and the left seem to go on and on about the horrific nature of Franco and his allies while noting how the Spanish republic and its allies fought a gallant fight against the fascists, they seem to have erased from their memory banks the fact that the Soviet commanders were not only fighting Franco but were also conducting a purge of their allies who were deemed enemies of the cause. Luckily, British historian Antony Beevor seems to be uncovering the horrific nature and intentions of the Soviet commanders by researching the various records of the Soviet Union. Beevor presented his most recent findings in an opinion piece in today's edition of The Times in which he noted the following:
Even before most volunteers reached Spain, Soviet advisers were planning to destroy their left-wing allies. In September 1936 General Gorev reported to Moscow: "“A struggle against the anarchists is absolutely inevitable after victory over the Whites. This struggle will be very severe."” André Marty, the Comintern representative, wrote in October: "After victory we will get even with them, all the more so since at that point we will have a strong army."” And Pravda declared openly in December that the “"cleaning up of Trotskyist and anarcho-syndicalist elements will be carried out with the same energy as in the USSR"”. The Popular Front alliance was merely a tactic "“for the moment". Stalinists were not prepared to share power with anybody else.

Although Stalin had said that he wanted "“to prevent the enemies of Spain from seeing her as '‘a communist republic'"”, Comintern representatives sought total control. Spanish Communists had infiltrated the directorate of personnel in the Ministry of Defence from the start of the war. By March 1937 party members held 27 out of the 38 key posts, and sympathisers held several more. A report to Moscow that month claimed: "“The party now has hegemony in the army, and this hegemony is developing and becoming firmly established more and more each day."”

Marty wrote about the socialist prime minister in a revealing report to Moscow. Largo Caballero, having been a Communist sympathiser and hailed by their press as the Spanish Lenin, had discovered the reality of their tactics. "“Caballero does not want defeat,"” Marty wrote to Dimitrov, "“but he is afraid of victory . . . Victory means an even greater strengthening of the position of the Communist Party. A final military victory over the enemy means for Caballero and the whole world the political hegemony of the Communist Party in Spain. This is a natural and indisputable thing . . . a republican Spain, raised from the ruins of fascism and led by Communists, a free Spain of a new republican type, will be a great economic and military power, carrying out a policy of solidarity and close connection with the Soviet Union."” Comintern bosses evidently saw the Spanish Republic as a future Soviet satellite state despite Stalin'’s desire to hide his involvement.

Non-Communist International Brigaders, believing the slogans of anti-fascist unity, were dismayed by Communist hatred of Leftist allies, but party members swallowed the line of the Moscow show trials that "“Troskyist-Fascists"” were secret Gestapo agents. Stalinist paranoia was exported to Spain, yet Russian historians are starting to believe that the conspiracy theories manufactured in Spain served to accelerate the purges in the Soviet Union.

The greatest shock for these "“volunteers for freedom"”, as the International Brigaders were called, came with the Soviet style of discipline, selecting men at random and shooting them through the back of the head. When one division retreated during the Segovia offensive, General Walter also ordered "the machine-gunning of those who pull back, executions on the spot, and the beating of stragglers"”. Even the elite Spanish Communist formation, the 11th Division, was not spared. After it collapsed during the Battle of Brunete, the chief Soviet adviser reported to Moscow: "“Lister'’s division lost its head and fled. We managed with great difficulty to bring it back under control. The toughest repressive measures had to be applied. About 400 of those fleeing were shot on 24 July."”
It's rather amazing how a totalitarian state like the Soviets, Nazis, and Chicoms seems to be at keeping records of their horrible crimes committed against their fellow man. Thankfully, historians have decided to dive head-first into these massive files to reveal the true nature of these regimes. So enjoy reading the true history of the Soviet regime during its eighty year reign. You'll learn a lot.

**Check out Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, Beevor's The Battle for Spain, and Ronald Radosh's Spain Betrayed.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sino Spy Games

Fire of Liberty

Even as the White House, Pentagon, National Security Council, and the various intelligence agencies in this nation are expending their brains and braun in a effort to take down Islamic fundamentalists throughout the dark corners of the world, we also have to watch our backs for state actors like China. According to this piece by John Diamond in USA Today, the Chinese government is hell-bent on learning and obtaining highly classified information on our various weapon platforms and strategic/tactical details about our military forces. Hopefully the powers that be are ensuring such assets are being secured from our enemies and potential enemies before things get too out of control. Time is not on our side.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Historian's View On Illegal Immigration

Fire of Liberty

Richard Brookhiser( a darn good historian on the Founding Fathers) has a good piece in the New York Observer which puts the whole issue of illegal immigration in greater context. I think the following paragraphs sums everything up:
Still, there is a danger to unchecked immigration (and illegal immigration is by definition unchecked). America's immigrant experience has been a success; one of the reasons is the rhythm at which it has unfolded. Like a beast of prey, we gorge, we slumber, we gorge again. In the past, our periods of digestion were supplied by external events, chiefly European wars that interrupted trans-Atlantic travel. As time passed, we took a hand in the process, engineering pauses by means of restrictive laws. Racism and nativism played a role in these efforts, which makes us feel guilty now. Tell that to the rest of the world today, which maintains similar policies (Mexico does not allow unrestricted immigration). The net result of our systole and diastole was to give an opportunity for the newcomer who hoped to become an American, or hoped only to make a buck or to flee the cops, actually to become one.

Assimilation is a mighty engine, doing its work whether we pause for it or not. You see it pounding away in Queens, or in any story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. "“Over the rooftops an airplane thundered past, flashing a string of lights and roaring ferociously. Young men yelled, young women giggled. Above the cinemas, blazing lights shone on posters of monsters, harlots, cutthroats…So this was America." Fight that, you Mexicans. But when immigrant communities are continually refreshed with new faces, and when many of those faces have begun their lives here by breaking the law, the process of assimilation does slow down.
It's always refreshing to read a piece by Brookhiser. By the way, check out his new book What Would the Founders Do?. Here a review from the Washington Times.

Immigration Problems Plagues Spain

Fire of Liberty

It looks like there's some other nations in the world that are having a hard time with a massive influx of illegal aliens.

Don't feed Crocodiles

Fire of Liberty

The Europeans and the UN are so willing to give Iran the kitchen sink in an effort to dissuade the mullahs from building the bomb that they make Neville Chamberlain look like a steel giant. For me, holding talks with individuals, offering them light-water reactors or the mention of eliminating sanctions is pretty much like feeding Churchill's proverbial crocodile hoping it wont bite you back. Well one individual that seems to share such sentiments is David Frum who has some things to say about the futility of holding direct talks with Iran in his most recent column in Canada's National Post. Though I recommend you read Frum's wonderful piece in its entirety, I figured you'd prefer a mere sampling. Here's a look:
1. The United States will learn nothing from direct negotiations with Iran that it does not already know. Three European governments--Britain, France, and Germany--have been negotiating directly with Iran since October 2003. The U.S. has repeatedly and publicly authorized these so-called "EU-3" governments to speak on America's behalf. The governments have reported back every Iranian demand. If the world is heading for a crisis over the Iranian nuclear program, it is not for lack of information about Iranian demands.

2. The Iranians do not negotiate in good faith. I had a chance a little while ago to talk to one of the senior EU-3 negotiators. He described how at the end of one intense bargaining session, he asked his Iranian counterpart to sign the minutes of their talk, so there would be no mistake when they resumed the next morning. The Iranian signed--and then next morning claimed that the minutes were erroneous and that the signature was a forgery.

3. For the Iranians, the main purpose of negotiations is delay. They hope to run out the clock on the Bush Presidency, in the belief that any Bush successor will revert to the Clinton-era policy of accommodating the mullahs. If the U.S. takes over the talks from the EU-3, it risks finding that it must start again from zero--and that Iran has gained three risk-free years for nuclear research.

4. The Iranians will score a propaganda victory. If the U.S. replaces the EU-3 across the negotiating table from Iran, what had been an Iran vs. the world confrontation will be transformed into an Iran vs. the United States confrontation--allowing Iran to present itself to the Muslim world (and indeed to radical anti-Americans everywhere) as a victim of American bullying.
And to think that there's a large part of the US foreign policy community that's actually calling on us to talk directly with the mullahs in Tehran. Thank G-d there's folks like Frum, the Weekly Standard, National Review, Commentary, as well as think-tanks like AEI and Heritage seeing the light on the regime in Iran.

The Deadly Nature of Saddam

Fire of Liberty
Gerard Alexander has a good piece in the Weekly Standard that shows probably one of the biggest reasons why I've been a vocal proponent for taking down the vile regime of Saddam for the last ten years.

Progressive Idols?

Fire of Liberty

While I'm not of the same political leanings of Ian Buruma, I do agree with his most recent piece in The Sunday Times in which he points out how people of the left tend to celebrate some of the worst dictators of the world for the sake of pushing progressivism (This is what liberals call themselves today). For those who are perplexed with college students, intellectuals, Hollywood stars and the rest of the lot who carry the banner for these individuals then this is a must read.

A Vigilant Champion of Freedom

Fire of Liberty

While most elite colleges throughout the country will more than likely invite some of America's prominent leftists and supporters/apologists for some of the vile dictators of the world (Castro, Mugabe, Chavez, Assad, Mao, Che and various others of the left) to speak to their graduating classes, there's also some colleges that have decided to honor individuals that fight the good fight against such individuals. One college that seems to be going against the tide is Columbia University which invited Cuba's Oswaldo Payá (A Human Rights activist whose sitting in a Cuban jail for standing against Castro) to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and speak before the class. Now while Paya couldn't attend the ceremony, the Wall Street Journal has a good piece out today that provides some details on what Columbia's President had to say about Payá and his brave stand against Castro. Here's a sample:
Instead, as the university community looked on, Columbia's President Lee Bollinger read the citation that Mr. Payá would have heard:
"Engineer, journalist, activist, tireless campaigner for human rights and advocate for the people of Cuba, you represent the aspirations of millions around the world yearning for freedom and democracy. Based on the Cuban constitution itself, your Varela Project -- a peaceful civic initiative to gather signatures across Cuba for the establishment of a free and democratic citizenry -- is a model of civic activism. At great personal sacrifice and despite nearly constant surveillance and harassment, you have remained committed to nonviolent dissidence and political change. . . ."

Someday, Mr. Payá hopes to receive his award in person. But he was there in spirit yesterday. And, he suggested in a letter to Mr. Bollinger, so were "all of my colleagues who are now in prison for defending the rights of Cubans, and all those in Cuba who struggle peacefully for democracy, reconciliation and the guarantee of the rights of all people. . . .

"Always under repression, but with the participation of brave citizens, we manage to define our own path of peaceful change toward a rule of law, justice and democracy," Mr. Payá's letter continued. "Friends of the University of Columbia, thank you for increasing the hope of freedom and justice."
So three cheers to the folks at Columbia University. Here's hoping other schools will also follow suit.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

High Octane, Ridge-Runner Style

Fire of Liberty

As a kid growing up in a rural county in GA during the 80's, the Dukes of Hazzard was destination TV for a young whipper-snapper like me. Now while I was too young to remember the original five episodes let alone the 1979 season, I was able through the magic of reruns and DVDs to catch these episodes. Anyway, I have to say that among these five original episodes, my favorite one has to be the fifth episode or what is called "High Octane" which is where Uncle Jesse and the boys brew up some moonshine as an alternative fuel to beat "the Arabs" strangle-hold on US oil supplies(Sound familiar?) Well to make a long story short, Uncle Jesse has to find an easy and discreet way to get it to the competition so he just puts it in his fuel tank and drives to Atlanta in his "moon-runner" car to demonstrate before an EPA judge the merits of this alternative fuel. (Now being a descendent of folks(G-d Bless 'em) who worked and perfected this ancient art, I always get a kick out off Uncle Jesse running a new batch of shine.)

While "High Octane" and the Dukes of Hazzard was a Hollywood production, the Washington Times has an article out today on a company in Tennessee by the name of Dogwood Energy which has run with Uncle Jesse and other "ridge-runners" throughout the South in building and selling moonshine stills that will allow folks to brew 190 proof moonshine to create a cheap mans version of ethanol. The only thing different from Uncle Jesse's brew and what Dogwood is pushing is an alcohol that will have poison mixed in that prevents one from drinking it. Even worse is the fact that it won't be a stand alone alternative but merely an additive for gasoline that you have to buy at the current price. So three cheers for folks like Dogwood Energy and the folks who have bought these stills and taken to their own initiative to develop this alternative fuel. Too bad you couldn't sample your hard work(Any good moonshinner from the old school will tell you that taste is what matters to determine quality) before you add poison or add it to gasoline. Well the thought is what counts.

**Hey Jason, it says that Dubose Porter, owner of Dublin's Courier Herald, has bought a still for his fleet of delivery trucks/cars. Very interesting.

Defenders of Freedom

"There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men."
--Edmund Burke

While the cable news companies are going on and on about having live coverage of General Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings for the top job at the CIA, they're really just hoping than some Senator from across the aisle to launch some mortar shells at the General on live TV. From what I know about D.C., the bombastic Senators are drawing up their cardboard posterboards, drafting questions, collecting articles, op-eds, position papers, past testimonies on and by Hayden, as well as the tedious and boring opening statements. All in all these individuals are chomping at the bit to appear before the cameras to condemn President Bush for appointing a member of the military to a civilian intelligence agency (Even though some five members of the military have served in this position), the surveillance program that monitors communications between American citizens and members of Al Qaeda outside of the US, the most recent data-mining that the NSA has been conducting to determine patters for terrorist actors and activities, as well as various other comments that are meant to through mud on the president and his efforts to secure this nation. So while the men and women of our intelligence services and the military are diligently working at dismantling and destroying the Islamic terrorists and their associates, not to mention keeping tabs on various other threats, members of the Senate the media and civil libertarians are finding ways to take shots at the CIA, NSA, and President Bush. Luckily, there's individuals in the media like the Washington Examiner's Jay Ambrose who are aware of the good work of the agencies, their workers and the President in the current War on Terrorism. In fact Ambrose makes a good point in his most recent column about how the folks yammering about how the President is becoming another Nixon by initiating such programs are really promoting wild-eyed fantasies that don't gel with reality which is the security of this nation post 9/11. Here's a sample of Ambrose's excellent column:
I know the other side of it, namely, that this program is helping to protect us against terrorist attacks. There is no denying that, against all odds, we have not suffered a massive terrorist hit since the Sept. 11 attacks, and I agree that this can hardly be an accident. We all know Islamic extremists want to kill big bunches of us, and it seems evident that this program could show how an overseas al-Qaeda member is making calls to phone line B, which also contacts C and D, who seem to be contacted by everyone the al-Qaeda member calls. Investigating computer-disclosed patterns could lead to the prevention of some future Sept. 11. But we don'’t know that for sure, and in the meantime, there'’s an administration to kick.

Oh, and while we are spitting in Bush'’s face, let'’s have a round of applause for USA Today and wish it well when the next Pulitzer Prizes are awarded. Thanks to its story, this program is no longer secret. That fact may render the program wholly ineffective, making the nonexpert second-guessers right as Americans get murdered, but you get slaps on the back in the newspaper business when you reveal such information, even if the people providing the information were breaking the law.

Darn, I hate it when this happens, but I just changed my mind. I don'’t think we should impeach or even criticize Bush for this program. I think we should instead criticize the critics whose arguments don'’t hold up except as demonstrations of political grandstanding in some cases, paranoia in others and pure hogwash in all of them.
For me, I can tolerate the programs that what draconian measures that would come out of the halls of Congress if we suffer an an attack on a more massive scale than what we saw on September 11th. So three cheers for our patriotic warriors who battle it out everyday with the terrorists of the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Skinny on Immigration Reform

Fire of Liberty

John O'Sullivan has a good column in today's Chicago Sun-Times that breaks down President Bush's illegal immigration policy speech last night. If you want a well thought and intellectual look at what policies the Senate and President Bush are pushing with regards to illegal immigration then this is a must read. So check it out.

Colombia's Uribe's Successfully Takes on FARC

Fire of Liberty
Andy Webb-Vidal has a good article over at the Financial Times which notes that Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has generated such great results from his crack-down on the FARC that he's expected to achieve a second term in Bogota in the upcoming elections. This just goes to show you that Uribe has finally proven that by taking narco-terrorists like the FARC head on rather than coddling them by holding talks and cutting deals, you have a far better success rate at ending the chaos that such a group has imposed on Colombia for some thirty years. Now a lot of my libertarian friends will argue until they turn blue that taking on the drug trade and the narco-terrorists this way is not the best solution but I beg to differ after reading the following:
Camilo Ospina, the defence minister, said that, if the counter-insurgency effort was maintained, Colombian troops could crush Latin AmericaÂ’s longest-running rebel army.

"The priority will be to conclude the process of submission of the guerrillas,"” Mr Ospina said in an interview with the FT. "“Farc have lost their militia in urban areas, they are now concentrated out there in the jungle. But government forces are nowadays also familiar with those areas. We will be entering the final phase of Farc'’s submission."”

Security has improved dramatically under Mr Uribe, whose "“Democratic Security"” policy has seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of military and police personnel to 370,000. According to official data, the number of "“terrorist"” acts dropped from 1,645 in 2002 to 611 last year, a decline of 63 per cent. In 2005, police recorded 758 kidnappings, 47 per cent fewer than in 2004.

Better security is the main reason why a majority of Colombians are expected to re-elect Mr Uribe on May 28 for another four-year term. A survey released last month by Invamar Gallup found that 56 per cent of voters plan to vote for the president, down from about 70 per cent a year ago but still enough to secure victory. He must win more than 50 per cent to avoid a second round.
I'm glad that Uribe is standing steady in the polls because it improves the security of one of our southern neighbors, stems the tide of narcotics into this country, and keeps Colombia on our side rather than falling into the populist/Marxist sphere of Chavez and Castro that a lot of countries in South America seem to be moving towards. So keep up the good work El Presidente Uribe.

***Uribe's head-on approach towards the FARC and the subsequent reduction of bombings and kidnappings has also set off a tourism bomb in Colombia. It seems that the folks who make their money off tourism are the ones who will be voting for Uribe come May 28.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Border Blues

Fire of Liberty

While President Bush's speech on illegal immigration provides conservatives(I'm a little hopeful)with a little hope via promises to beef up the border patrol by hiring more border patrol workers and sending a 6,000 man National Guard contingent, going after employers that hire illegals, creating a biometric id card to verify legals from illegals, calling on the end of the "catch-and-release" policies as well as a call for greater assimilation. The only problem is that optimism is pretty much washed away when you delve further into the speech and discover that no matter how much you dress it up, the President is really just pushing his "comprehensive immigration reform". Yet again President Bush is teaming up with John McCain and Teddy Kennedy to push through another immigration reform bill that will solve nothing but create an incentive for more illegal immigrants to come in thus creating the same problem some twenty years in the future. I'm guessing he's thinking that he can assuage his base and the fellows across the aisle just to get this bill passed. One individual that seems to have cut through the rhetoric and struck the bone of the whole matter over the President's speech on immigration is National Review Online's David Frum who made the following observation in his blog David Frum's Diary:
When the Bush administration fitfully attempts to enforce the immigration laws, it looks for measures that meet four criteria:

They must be 1) spectacular; 2) expensive; 3) unsustainable; and 4) ineffective.

The proposal to deploy the National Guard to the border meets all four!

This plan won't work, and it is not seriously meant to work. It's supposed to look dramatic and buy the president some respite from negative polls - and then it is supposed to fail, strengthening the administration's case for its truly preferred approach: amnesty + guestworkers.
While I'm not fully on board with all of Frum's ideas that he notes in his diary, he's right on the money about the totality of the President's immigration reform policy. I would just like to see folks enforce the laws on illegal immigration rather than proposing some news laws that create greater problems. The most regrettable thing about such a policy is that President Bush is souring his base just for the sake of attracting a specific voting body that is more likely than not going to vote for the Democrats. From the looks of it, it seems to me that President Bush needs to visit the heartland and stop listening to folks in the beltway. It'll do him some good.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Taking a different look at Darwin's Theories of Natural Selection

Fire of Liberty

Now while I generally ponder about the importance of enforcing our borders against illegal immigration, finishing our mission in Iraq, the dangerous nature of Iran, gas prices, increasing our energy supplies and resources(Alternative and petroleum via other sources), The War on Terror, and conservatism(social, economic), I also find time to look at subjects like natural selection and evolution. Though I tend to cast a dark shadow on Darwin's concept of the "survival of the fittest"(Not to mention the large number of scientists and true-believers who take the theory as gospel)and believe that human nature comes from a higher being(G-d), I'm still interested in what folks have to write about the examination and re-examination of Darwin's ideas that were expounded in his The Origin of Species . To keep you from falling asleep at your computer and to keep my sanity with all things science, I thought I'd share with you what I've been reading and intend on reading with regards to Darwin's theory of Natural Selection.

Two pieces on Darwin's theory that seemed to be blinking lights in the sea of other news is "Natural Selection," by James Seaton over at the Weekly Standard as well as Tom Wolfe's "Darwin Meets His Match" over at the New York Sun. Seaton's piece was basically a review of Larry Arnhart's new book Darwinian Conservatism, which posits the idea that the theory put forth by Darwin almost 150 years ago helps to define and defend conservatism and its "realist" approach towards life and a rejection of any kind of utopia that seems to arise out of the minds of leftists and their progressive brethren.(Just think about solutions to poverty and war.) I'm not so sure that I'd embrace such thinking but I have to give Arnhart his due in presenting such a thought. So give Seaton's piece a look and if you like it, take a leap of faith and check out Arnhart's Darwinian Conservatism. As for the wonderful and lengthy piece Darwin Meets His Match, the New York Sun has presented Tom Wolfe's speech that he delivered before the 35th Jefferson Lecture of Humanities that took on Darwin and his friends in the intellectual community(This includes Freud, Marx and others of yesteryear and today). Instead of trying to explain Wolfe's ideas, I thought I'd give you a look at his work. Here's a sample:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this evening it is my modest intention to tell you in the short time we have together . . . everything you will ever need to know about the human beast.

I take that term, the human beast, from my idol, Emile Zola, who published a novel entitled The Human Beast in 1888, just 29 years after Darwin's The Origin of Species broke the stunning news that Homo sapiens—or Homo loquax, as I call him——was not created by God in his own image but was precisely that, a beast, not different in any essential way from snakes with fangs or orangutangs . . . or kangaroos. . . or the fang-proof mongoose. Darwin's doctrine, Evolution, leapt from the pages of a scientific monograph into every level of society in Europe and America with sensational suddenness. It created a sheerly dividing line between the God-fearing bourgeoisie who were appalled, and those people of sweetness and light whose business it was to look down at the bourgeosie from a great height. Today, of course, we call these superior people intellectuals, but intellectual didn't exist as a noun until Clemenceau applied it to Zola and Anatole France in 1896 during the Dreyfus Case. Zola's intellect was as sweetly enlightened as they made them. He was in with the in-crowd. Evenings he spent where the in-crowd went, namely, the Café Guerbois, along with Manet, Cezanne, Whistler, Nadar, and le tout Paris boheme. He took his cues from the in-crowd's views, namely, Academic art was bad, Impressionism was good, and Homo sapiens had descended from the monkeys in the trees. Human beasts? I'll give you human beasts! Zola's aforementioned novel of that name, La Bete Humaine in French, is a story of four murderers, a woman and three men, who work down at track level on the Paris-Le Havre railroad line, each closing in on a different victim, each with a different motive, including the case of a handsome young passenger train engineer with a compulsion . . . to make love to women and then kill them. With that, Zola crowned himself as the first scientific novelist, a "naturalist," to use his term, studying the human fauna.

I love my man Zola. He's my idol. But the whole business exudes irony so rich, you can taste it. It tastes like marzipan. Here we have Darwin and his doctrine that in 1859 rocks Western man's very conception of himself . . . We have the most popular writer in the world in 1888, Zola, who can't wait to bring the doctrine alive on the page . . . We have the next five generations of educated people who have believed and believe to this day that, at bottom, evolution's primal animal urges rule our lives . . . to the point where the fourth greatest pop music hit of 2001, "You and Me, Baby" by the Bloodhound Gang, proclaims, "You and me, baby, we ain't nothing but mammals./So let's do it like they do on the Dis-cov-ery Channel"——it's rich! rich! rich beyond belief!

O. I love you, Emile, but by the time you and Darwin got hold of it, evolution had been irrelevant for 11,000 years. Why couldn't you two see it? Evolution came to an end when the human beast developed speech! As soon as he became not Homo sapiens, "man reasoning," but Homo loquax, "man talking"! Speech gave the human beast far more than an ingenious tool. Speech was a veritable nuclear weapon! It gave the human beast the powers of reason, complex memory, and long-term planning, eventually in the form of print and engineering plans. Speech gave him the power to enlarge his food supply at will through an artifice called farming. Speech ended not only the evolution of man, by making it no longer necessary, but also the evolution of animals! Our animal friends——we're very sentimental about predators these days, aren't we—the lions, the tigers, the wolves, the rhinoceroses, the great apes, kangaroos, leopards, cheetahs, grizzly bears, polar bears, cougars——they're "endangered," meaning hanging on for dear life. Today the so-called animal kingdom exists only at the human beast's sufferance. The beast has dealt crippling blows even to the unseen empire of the microbes. Stunted adults from Third World countries with abysmal sanitation come to the United States and their offspring grow six or more inches taller, thanks to the wonders of hygiene. Cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys would be extinct by now had not the human beasts hit upon the idea of animal husbandry. So far the human beast enjoys the luxury of crying sentimental tears over the deer because she's so pretty. But the day the human beast discovers deer in his cellar, fawns in his bedroom closet, bucks tangling horns in the attic at night above his very bedroom . . . those filthy oversized vermin, the deer, will be added to that big long list above. We're sentimental about the dolphins, because they're so smart. What about the tuna? It's okay to kill tunas by the ton because they're dimwits? It would take an evolutionary mystic (and there are such) to believe these animals will ever evolve their way out of the hole they're in thanks to man's power of speech.

No evolutionist has come up with even an interesting guess as to when speech began, but it was at least 11,000 years ago, which is to say, 9000 B.C. It seems to be the consensus . . . in the notoriously capricious field of evolutionary chronology . . . that 9000 B.C. was about when the human beast began farming, and the beast couldn't have farmed without speech, without being able to say to his son, "Son, this here's seeds. You best be putting ‘em in the ground in rows ov'ere like I tell you if you wanna git any ears a corn this summer."

Do forgive me, Emile, but here is the tastiest of all ironies. One of Homo loquax's first creations after he learned to talk was religion. Since The Origin of Species in 1859 the doctrine of Evolution has done more than anything else to put an end to religious faith among educated people in Europe and America; for God is dead. But it was religion, more than any other weapon in Homo loquax's nuclear arsenal, that killed evolution itself 11,000 years ago. To say that evolution explains the nature of modern man is like saying that the Bessemer process of adding carbons to pig iron to make steel explains the nature of the modern skyscraper.
Let's just say that there's a lot of folks out there who take a greater thought of Darwin's ideas of Natural Selection much further than Darwin or his supporters refused to go. All in all it just shows you that even Darwin's theory and its hanger-ons are finding out that they're facing a "survival of the fittest" on their own. It just goes to show you that you have to keep up a defense of your theories and ideas and listen to other views and thoughts on the issue. Resting on your laurels isn't the best approach. So I recommend you read these two pieces.

As for a good book, I recommend you check out David Stove's book Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution, which clears up the fuzziness of Darwin for lay readers. I can't say to much about the book because it's coming via UPS but once I read it, I'll fill you in. So enjoy the reads on Darwin.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

President Fox has a Change of Heart

Fire of Liberty

Well it looks like the President Vicente Fox of Mexico had a change of mind with regards to his support of the liberalization of Mexico's drug laws. I'm guessing he thought twice about what kind of message such a change in these law would have on the Mexican society and their battle against the illegal drug trade. No matter what your views are on the legalization, use of drugs or even the War on Drugs, you have to say that the government should be passing laws that pretty much promote the use and sale of these drugs by looking the other way on the possession of amounts of drugs on your person. So I applaud President Fox on rejecting such nonsense.(I'd be nice if he'd do something about his economy to stop the massive migration across our border. Then again, when illegals send remittances that amount to 1/3 of Mexico's GDP why bother.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Salute to Earl Woods

Fire of Liberty

I just wanted to offer my respects to Tiger Woods and his family on the recent passing of his father Earl Woods. Not only was he a father of a fine young man (Oh and a golf wunderkind) but he was also a member of the Green Berets who served two tours in Vietnam and valiantly fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. So three cheers to Earl Woods.

Pros and Cons of Alternative Fuels

Fire of Liberty

As I was perusing the daily offering of news and information over at Glenn Reynold's ever so famous blog Instapundit, I came across this piece over at Popular Mechanics web-site that provides a fair and balanced look at the various alternative fuels and the feasibility of everyday motorists who travel to and from work. While I never been opposed to the private sector developing, producing and marketing an alternative fuel source (I'm just opposed to the gov't subsidizing the development of such fuels or forcing people to buy such fuels- Let the market do the work)other than oil based gasoline, I'm still far from convinced that this nation or its people will ever give up their thirst for oil.

All in all the Popular Mechanics article points that such fuels will never replace oil as our fuel but it's a start in diversifying our energy needs. If we supplement our usage of oil with these alternative sources, seek out domestic resources in places like ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf and from shale and tar sands, reduce regulations on the production of gas, reduce the federal gasoline tax(The States already collect a tax on gas to build roads), reduce the 54 cent tariff on ethanol imports, as well as build more refineries in various parts of the nation then we'll find a way of reducing our dependency on foreign sources of oil. So I do find merit with alternative sources of fuel and the vehicles that run on them as long as it remains out of a hands reach of the government and the purses of the taxpayers.(Once the federal government gets involved all hell breaks loose.)

Anyway, check out the Popular Mechanics piece on the current alternative fuels and the up and coming fuels. I'd say from what I've read, this piece provides greater insight on the availability and feasibility of such fuels than what the MSM is hyping. Enjoy the read.

Fighting Malaria in Africa

Fire of Liberty

It's about time the US started applying and advocating an effective remedy to the enormous malaria problem that confronting the lives of millions in Africa. It just shows you that a little sense and observation goes a long way in nipping the problem in the bud.

Let Freedom Ring

Fire of Liberty
Now while the MSM keeps on reporting on the illegal immigrant walkout yesterday and other May Day events, they failed to point out the demonstrations that sprung up in the streets of Tehran. As I've noted before, the kids, dissidents and the labor workforce of Iran are seething mad at the fanatical mullahs and their continued mismanagement of the Iranian economy. This just shows you that the wild-eyed statements that keep on coming out of the regime are just a way to keep the West and their citizenry focused on Tehran's standing up to the outside world instead of the fact that the people are continually going to the street and demanding change. So not only does Iran present a threat to the outside with their nukes but it also serves as a "ignore the man behind the curtain" effect. Here's what Ramin Talaie had to say in his article "Laborers at a May Day Rally in Iran Turn the Tables Against Mullahs" in todays New York Sun:
Against the backdrop of the former American Embassy in Tehran, where American diplomats were first taken hostage in 1979, labor unions gathered for the traditional May 1 demonstrations.

But instead of directing their chants and banners against America, "the Great Satan," the workers made their target the regime that coined the phrase. At issue was a simmering strike of bus drivers, many of whom have not been paid in months.

The demonstrations come as other cracks in the regime are beginning to form. Secular author and opposition activist Amir Abbas Fakhravar on April 29 successfully escaped from Iran and is heading for America. A spokesman for the Iranian referendum movement - which seeks a plebiscite on Iran's constitution - said yesterday that Mr. Fakhravar intended to travel to America without delay.

"How his refugee application is treated will affect the morale of others seeking moral support from the world," Pooya Dayanim said yesterday. "His security situation is very bad. He needs to leave the environment and come to the United States as soon as possible."

Reform Web sites are now reporting that the mullahs, anxious at growing dissent among younger Iranians, have redoubled their efforts to jam broadcasts into the country, a possible counter to the State Department's plan to spend at least $50 million on programming beamed into Iran.
Let's hope the wheels come off the bus in Iran well before they fit nukes on their new ballistic missiles. This just shows you that the time is right to increase our moral/political/economic support towards the students, dissidents and laborers who are fighting for a democratic future in Iran. Freedom couldn't come to more deserving folks.(27 years under mullah rule is enough for anybody.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mexico, Aye Carumba!!!

Fire of Liberty

As if Mexico didn't have enough problems with drug cartels, corruption, economic growth, poverty, and gang activity, now they're pushing forward a law that will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs. Here's what Reuters news has to say about the new law:
Under the law, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin. Nor does the law penalize possession of 500 milligrams of cocaine -- enough for a few lines.

The legal changes will also decriminalize the possession of limited quantities of LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, amphetamines, ecstasy and peyote -- a psychotropic cactus found in Mexico's northern deserts.
Now I can say that I've seen yet another silly chapter in Mexico's sad plight to ruin. One thing that perplexes me is the claim made by the article which is that the Mexican citizenry doesn't have such a big drug problem as the US. If this is so, then why in the world do you need to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs. People don't just carry drugs like pocket change if they weren't using such drugs. I'm guessing we'll see the drug trade increase in Mexico with the passage of such a law.(I know folks will bring up the argument that demand keeps the drugs coming to America but you only have to look at the Netherlands to see what legalizing(even with the minute amounts in Mexico)drugs will do to a society's core. Oh well, Mexico will continue its highway to hell and we'll see yet another mass exodus into our nation due to the Mexican government's libertarian streak(It's a darn sham they aren't as libertarian with their economic and size of government decisions.)

Theocon Fantasies

Fire of Liberty

If you've watched the cable networks or have tuned into NPR of late, you've probably heard about Kevin Phillips and his wild eyed writings within his new book "American Theocracy" that claims that President Bush and his friends of the religious right are pushing for our republican government to be replace by a conservative theocracy. Now if our government starts moving in the direction of the clerics in Iran or Saudi Arabia in which our religious leaders start making policy and enacting laws I'd be worried but from what I see we're a heck of a long way from creating some grand theocratic cabal that Phillips claims is occurring or will happen in the near future.

I'd say his claims will fall on deaf ears within this country due to the fact that since the founding of this nation our leaders have always referenced G-d as an inspiration and guiding force behind the founding and the continued success of this nation.(Such generally happens in a nation that's 84% Christian) Just look at Washington's and other president's speeches as well as their writings and you'll see that Phillips is way off base. While I haven't had time to delve into Phillips "grassy knoll" theories about where this nation's government is heading, Bloomberg columnist Andrew Ferguson has barred the burden of reading the book and seems to have taken down Phillip's arguments in his most recent column. Here's a sample of Ferguson's masterful takedown of "American Theocracy":
Phillips worries that Bush believes God has called him to do what he does as president. That's probably true.

After all, most religious believers, whether they're politicians or stevedores, believe that their relationship with God informs how they do their work; this is one of the things that make them religious.

And it's not as though Bush tried to hide this element in his thinking from voters. Few presidential campaigners have been so open -- indeed, so tiresomely and compulsively self-exposing -- about their religious beliefs.

At times, Phillips's fretting inflates into comical paranoia. You can almost see the eyes dart and bulge, the upper lip moisten and quiver, when Phillips says that Bush is ``double-coding'' his public statements -- speaking words that are ``only mildly religious on the surface, but beneath that full of allusions to biblical passages and Christian hymns.'' Abraham Lincoln did that too, you know, and look what happened to him.

Inherent Danger

Phillips's implicit theme is that the confluence of religion and democratic politics is inherently anti-democratic. This will be news to anyone who admires the abolition movement of the 19th century or the civil rights movement of the 20th, both of which were promoted and led by religious personages using religious reasoning and religious rhetoric.

One might be tempted to say that Phillips is really advocating a kind of reverse (and unconstitutional) ``religious test'' for politicians: Orthodox believers should stay out of politics altogether.

One might be tempted to say this, but one should resist the temptation, lest one become like Phillips himself. He is a paragon of today's degenerate political debate, in which each side insists, hysterically, that the other is not merely wrong but dangerous. The U.S. constitutional system is designed precisely to stymie extremists -- yet professional polemicists claim that their political opposites have an open field to tyranny.
Well done Mr. Ferguson, I couldn't have said it better myself. For me I prefer to read books which shows that our leaders do have a sense of our foundings and how G-d has played a special role in doing so. To learn more on this check out the following books:

On Two Wings - By Michael Novak
Washington's G-d - By Michael Novak
American Gospel - By Jon Meacham
Separation of Church and State (Not an modern day ACLU friendly book) by Philip Hamburger

Playing the World Cup Berlin Style

Fire of Liberty

It looks like there will be more than just futbol going on at the 2006 World Cup in Berlin.

Arise Ye Illegal Immigrants and Unite

Fire of Liberty

Today, as I watched the illegal immigration walkout(Do you find it ironic that such is happening on the grand communist holiday of May Day), I saw tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and their supporters abandon their schools and jobs to strut up and down the streets of Atlanta, Chicago, LA and other locations throughout the nation carrying banners and proclaiming that they are part of the American fabric because "this is a nation of immigrants." For me, such comments by illegal immigrants totally is a disservice the memory and sacrifice of the millions of immigrants who came here legally via the proper channels and made it their utmost goal to become a fully assimilated US citizen. To make matters worse, we have various members of the US Senate (President Bush - One of my disappointments with him - domestic spending is the other.) who keep on promoting a comprehensive immigration bill which provides for an amnesty for the 12 million "undocumented workers" but has little regard for securing our borders from a constant stream of illegals coming into our country from Mexico. If we can't secure our borders with a fence(virtual or real) or stricter re-enforcement on the corporations that hire them, then how in the world are we going to curb the constant flow of illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande or the deserts of Arizona if we keep on turning a blind eye to illegal activity and give them a chance to become a citizen or receive a new work visa.

As I've noted in previous entries, we've been down this same road in 1965 and 1986 and the only thing we've seen is more illegal immigration while the folks who have been queued in the legal line are left waiting for a proper entry into this nation. One individual who seems to have the same take on this issue but in a more detailed way is National Review's John Derbyshire who has written a good piece in his over at National Review Online. Now if you want to get a load of facts and little or no rhetoric that seems to be bandied on cable news and by the marchers then I suggest you read Derbyshire's piece. You won't be disappointed and will probably learn more on the issue du jour than what the MSM gives you (They can't seem to tell the difference from an illegal and legal immigrant). Here's a brief sample of Derb's wonderful piece:
Fool me three times: 2006 Well, you see how it goes. Much sound and fury in Congress. Some firm-sounding pronouncements for the president, dressed up in much gassy verbiage about "“human rights"” and "“family values"” and "“nation of immigrants."” Sonorous declarations from the congresscritters about how this time they really mean it, sanctions really will be enforced——No kidding! Honest injun!——only the deserving will be amnestied, etc. etc.

ItÂ’s going to happen. The stage is being set up for another performance of the immigration-reform opera buffa as I write, in fact: The old backdrops are being repainted, the props are being dusted off, the orchestra is tuning up, and the dimwitted old gent——read "American public"”——who is going to be made a fool of by the clever young tenor and soprano——that'’s the immigration lobbies and their enablers in the press and foreign chancelleries——is gluing on his false whiskers.
I'd say that he's spot on with his assessment and provides some intellectual firepower to the whole argument on illegal immigration and its impact on this nation. So check it out.

*** While folks claim that illegals or "undocumented workers" are here doing jobs Americans won't do, will that mean that these individuals won't do such jobs when they get their visas and a path to citizenship? I guess this means that come twenty years from now we'll have millions upon millions of illegals doing jobs that Americans won't do. (Do you foresee another immigration bill in 2026.)