Saturday, September 30, 2006



As usual Blogger is acting up on my end. Posts show up on IE but not Firefox. Can anyone see this on Firefox?

EU Court Wants Barriers To Corporate Takeovers To End

From the IHT comes this article:

PARIS-Europe's highest court gave fresh ammunition Thursday to European Union regulators to clear away barriers to cross border mergers, amid a wave of protectionist sentiment in countries like Germany, France, and Italy.

The European Commission immediately issued a new warning to EU capitals to give up the veto rights some of them hold in strategic companies, meant to shield them from unwanted -usually foreign - suitors.

The overall sentiment in Europe has been for globalization, for some time now. In addition to this philosophy, many in Europe have been singing the praises for European unity, through this perceived panacea known as the EU. That is until, someone from another country wants to buy into their country's companies.

But globalists and Europhiles cannot have it both ways. While it is sounds good on paper to promote this new found continental unity and cooperation, it also reeks of hypocrisy to obstruct foreign investment.

Talking the talk is one thing, walking the walk is another. Setting an example is certainly MORE important than dictating the policies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hating Jews For Being Jews (And The Indifference of Many In The West)

From Victor Davis Hanson (courtesy of RCP) comes his latest essay, The New Anti-Semitism. Usually, he makes an compelling argument, but with this one I must take some exception to the overall message that he indicates in the title and in his claim. His facts are valid enough. But, having read this piece, an old line from the song "We Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, came to mind:

Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss.

(If you have ever seen the Who in concert that's the last line in this song, just before the song and the concert ends, with Pete Townsend slamming his guitar into the stage.)

But why do I say this? I do not see this new form of anti-semitism as much different than the old forms. Let's look at his opening statement:

Hating Jews, on racial as well as religious grounds, is as old as the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Later in Europe, pogroms and the Holocaust were the natural devolution of that elemental venom.

Anti-Semitism, after World War II, often avoided the burning crosses and Nazi ranting. It often appeared as a more subtle animosity, fueled by envy of successful Jews in the West. "The good people, the nice people" often were the culprits, according to a character in the 1947 film "Gentleman's Agreement," which dealt with the American aristocracy's social shunning of Jews.

A recent third type of anti-Jewish odium is something different. It is a strange mixture of violent hatred by radical Islamists and the more or less indifference to it by Westerners.

This is where he and I disagree. This is nothing new or different, in my view. This is the same anti-semitism, the same hatred, only the reasons for that hatred are different. The only exception is how far this "so-called" new wave has progressed, so far.

In Nazi Germany, it started out subtle. But, it was allowed to progress to the ultimate form of hatred, which was genocide. Why? Mostly because the rest of the world was in either a state of denial or just did not care.

They saw the events that led up to the worst manifestations of deep-seeded hatred, and they flat out ignored them. Far too many people (flat out) overlooked Kristallnacht and all of the hateful propaganda and rhetoric that whipped that nation into a paranoid frenzy, so much so, that the bulk of that nation's population began to feed into the lies and the vitriolic demonization of a small but brilliant group of people that were only guilty of being, who they were.

Lies told bold enough and long enough, soon have a way of being accepted as truth. They were a successful bunch and many resented it. Look at all of the brilliant contributions Jewish scientists have made to the world and tell me just what they have done to deserve going to gas chambers in mass numbers.

Now, let's look at today's anti-semitism, which Mr Hanson is claiming to be so different:

Those who randomly shoot Jews for being Jews - whether at a Jewish center in Seattle or at synagogues in Istanbul - are for the large part Muslim zealots. Most in the West explain away the violence. They chalk it up to anger over the endless tit-for-tat in the Middle East. Yet privately they know that we do not see violent Jews shooting Muslims in the United States or Europe.

This is the same form of indifference as yesteryear, at least in my estimation it is. There are many right here in the U.S. that couldn't care any less.

From the hard leftists that blame the state of Israel for the world's ills to the neo-Nazi Aryan supremacist types that blame the world's ills on Jews in general. But, the result is the same. The motives for the hatred may be different, but there is no difference as far as outcome is concern. Hatred is hatred, whatever the excuse may be given to justify it.

The state-run, and thus government-authorized, newspapers of the Middle East, slander Jews in barbaric fashion. "Mein Kampf" (translated, of course, as "Jihadi") sells briskly in the region. Hamas and Hezbollah militias on parade emulate the style of brownshirts. In response, much of the Western public snoozes. They are far more worried over whether a Danish cartoonist has caricatured Islam, or if the pope has been rude to Muslims when quoting an obscure 600-year-old Byzantine dialogue.

If that's not enough, look at this snippet that precedes the previous one:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises to wipe Israel "off the map." He seems eager for the requisite nuclear weapons to finish off what an Iranian mullah has called a "one -bomb state" - meaning Israel's destruction would only require one nuclear weapon. Iran's theocracy intends to turn the idea of a Jewish state on its head. Instead of Israel being a safe haven for Jews in their historical birthplace, the Iranians apparently find that concentration only too convenient for their own final nuclear solution.

As chilling and frightening as this may be, it is certainly not surprising. But that's not all of it, get a load of this next excerpt:

In response, here at home the Council on Foreign Relations rewards the Iranian president with an invitation to speak to its membership. At the podium of that hallowed chamber, Ahmadinejad, who questions whether the Holocaust ever took place, basically dismissed a firsthand witness of Dachau by asking whether he really could be that old.

Now let's compare this with the indifference of yesteryear. To do this, you have to read this. There you will find a list of nations that turned a blind eye, back then. And even today, many people in these same countries are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the escalating events seen in the present day.

So, to say that this brand of anti-semitism is new, ignores many aspects of history. To think that this cannot ever happen again, demonstrates a certain naivete that can only be overcome by people opening their eyes to the past events. The events that are occurring today are bone-chilling reminders of similar events that were allowed to escalate, to what later became an out of hand situation that could have prevented, had it been dealt with much earlier.

And despite Mr. Hanson's many truths that are included in this essay of his, he misses the bigger picture that needs to be considered in the trends that are forming, in both the Middle East and the West, today. Western nations may not be openly collaborating with Iran by sending Jews to Iran to be exterminated, as was done by many during the Holocaust. But, by turning a deaf ear to the early warning signs that the Iranian government's leadership are freely displaying, how much longer will it be before this becomes a scenario that results in even more dead Jews?

This is a much more important question to ask, because this next time it will not be by a gas chamber, but from a nuclear bomb sent through the air on a missile. It will not take months to round up Jews and exterminate them a few hundred at a time, This time it will only take a few minutes, because millions are rounded up in a small area already (an area that was set up for them to live in peace and prevent this kind of atrocity from ever happening again).

Maybe in one respect VDH is right, this is different in that the violence against Jews has escalated by technology and logistics; and in that respect it stands to get even worse. But make no mistake, the anti-semitism today is the same hatred felt back in days of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Christians that blamed the Jews of that day, for the ones that killed Christ in a previous period. It's just Muslims that are propagating this hatred, today. And it's the same indifference of others that emboldens them to spread it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's Over

I am back home now, things appear to have went well. As you may guess I am very sore and doped up. So right now, it's a case of so far, so good. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and/or words of encouragement. As soon as I feel more with it, I will be back posting.


Well, it's showtime. I am off to the surgery center. I am first case, so there is no waiting. Not only that, the surgeon is well-rested and fresh.

Thanks again to all of you that sent up prayers and gave me words of encouragement.

Is Angela Merkel The New Iron Lady?

By reading this story from the Daily Mail, one certainly can draw that conclusion.

Germany's conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday led political and arts world uproar at the scrapping of a Mozart opera that features the head of the prophet Mohammed rolling across the stage.

The performances were cancelled amid fears the scene could trigger violence among the nation’s Muslim community.

But Mrs Merkel denounced "self-censorship out of fear" as unacceptable, reflecting a mood of national indignation that was not limited to the arts set but cut right across all social lines.

Bravo to Ms. Merkel. Fear can paralyze a civilization, if the citizens of that civilization allow themselves to succumb to it. And from this move, it appears that she recognizes this.

In a world where many Christians must endure the thought of Madonna and Kanye West mocking a crucifixion in the name of free speech, why should Muslims be exempt from having to learn to turn the other cheek and ignore what they may deem as offensive?

Now, I am not a fan of purposely setting out to offend anyone, Muslim or otherwise. But, I am also for the freedom of expression (whether I agree with it or not) and I am against having one group holding an entire society hostage, because they think something is inappropriate. The fear of a backlash should never be the guiding principle in what can and cannot be expressed. When that happens, fear takes over and paralyzes.

As an individual, I always try to think out ahead of time, if my words are going to hurt someone personally. As a result I pick and choose my words as carefully as (possible) to not insult individuals, personally. But I will be damned if I allow someone to dictate or use the fear of retaliation and/or intimidation to silence my opinions, on a macro level. I will never allow myself to hold back in my criticisms of faulty ideologies that dupe some of the masses and cause them to believe lies.

And from what I gather in this article, Ms. Merkel feels this way, too. So, to her I say again, bravo and will add the call for an encore.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I wanted to let every one know that tomorrow, at this very time, I am scheduled to have surgery and will most likely be under general anesthesia. It's a relatively minor surgery compared to many, but as surgeries go, it is not without risk. So, if this blog falls mysteriously silent, you'll know that I did not fare so well.

For those of you that pray, I ask you to give me a mention in yours. For those of you that don't (like Super Frenchie), just removing the pin from your LASunsett voodoo doll may prove helpful. At any rate, I will try to get some posts up later in the day. As always, thank you for reading PYY, and hopefully there will be much more to read here, in the future.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Honor Thy Mother?

My apologies to my small but faithful readership for not getting a post up today. But in my readings this evening, I ran across this little article that isn't getting lot of attention.

From the Washington Post:

KISMAYO, Somalia -- Men in machine gun-mounted trucks Tuesday quickly dispersed hundreds of women protesting radical Islamic fighters who have taken over this strategic port town and much of the rest of southern Somalia.

At least 20 women were arrested, according to relatives of the demonstrators who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals. The trucks carrying the men were flying the black flags associated with Islamic extremism.

You can read the rest. But let's suffice it to say that before anyone condemns America for violations of civil liberties, they should really do some in-depth reading on how radical Islam treats dissension from the rigid dogma that seeks to oppress, and control. Even more telling is when those that are expressing the dissent, are women. Twenty women arrested in this case, can only mean something bad will happen to them. I would not be at all surprised to learn, there have already been repeated rapes and beatings.

Feminists are quick to demonize and villify certain people, certain policies, and certain ideologies for things that are marginally valid, at best. They certainly made some noise over the Duke rape case. But they are not inclined to criticize Islamic fundamentalism's downgrading of women in that society. They are inexplicably silent when the topic turns to the humiliation and the mistreatment of women, by people that given the chance would cut their heads off.

I don't know about you, but I find that a prime example of hypocrisy. If you are going to stand up for women, stand up for all women. I firmly believe, there are many women that are tired of seeing their children killed at then hands of these brutal thugs; and they are equally sick and tired of those same thugs trying to win over their sons/daughters to the cause of jihad, by teaching hate and war as a religious/political doctrine.

So, Rosie, you fine champion of women's rights and other noble social causes, you. Tell us all just how radical Christianity is as (or more) dangerous as (than) radical Islam, once again. And say it, with a straight face.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Bill Clinton Interview

How you feel about the Chris Wallace interview, depends on what you think of Clinton. About half of the nation likes him, the other half doesn't. So, it would come as no surprise that each camp is following the normal course of post-event inflammatory rhetoric, against each other. One side thought he was brilliant, the other side thinks he was deplorable.

Me? I think it was somewhere in between.

Here's how I saw the exchange:

1. Clinton was primed and ready to defend himself against what he perceives to be the "evil" Fox News bias. He came on the show, knowing fully good and well that he was not going to be softballed. Since the airing of the Path To 9/11, he has been eager to defend himself against what he believes to be unfair treatment by the movie and some in the media. What better way to mount a serious campaign is there, than by taking on a so-called "right wing" outlet?

2. I felt the interview was a hardball interview, if it had not been, Wallace would have led the questioning with Clinton's work on "The Global Initiative", then gradually steered his way into the hard questions on 9/11. Just as Clinton knew what he was going to do, Wallace knew what he was going to do. Anyone that feels sorry for either, probably doesn't understand the nature of politics, very well.

3. Clinton found out just how George Bush feels when he gets interviewed. I saw the recent Lauer/Bush interview and it was just as harsh (if not harsher) as Wallace/Clinton. This is what the GOP puts up with each and every time, they give an interview to the MSM. It's not a hell of a lot of fun to have to face that kind of treatment, time in and time out. And Clinton just found that out, today.

4. The whole idea of casting blame on Clinton (and him alone), is ludicrous. I have said before and will say again, everyone from Carter on, shares in the blame. To cast Clinton or Bush, as the more responsible of the two, shows just how naive a person can be. To believe this is an either/or situation, demonstrates a lack of responsibilty towards the truth.

If you really want to point the finger at someone, you have to understand one simple thing. The people most responsible for 9/11 never occupied the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. They trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Man They Call Hugo

For a very informative reading experience, I wholly recommend, Who Is Hugo Chavez?, found at Band Of Bloggers.

Latin American Marxists have been notorious for painting this fantasy-like illusion that communism has the people's best interests, at heart. But as we have seen in Cuba, Nicaragua, and now Venezuela, this system does not work. And not only that, it fosters more corruption than it seeks to replace. It replaces one form of tyranny, with another.

Let's look an economic profile of Venezuela.

If you look at the numbers, you will see that almost half of the Venezuelan population is below the poverty line. Considering the oil revenues that country is able to take in and the bribes that Hugo has spread throughout the world (to try and gain a seat on the UN Security Council), we can see the he is not interested in improving the status quo much. Add to that, they are low in GDP per capita (Table) and high in corruption (Table and Map).

Read this piece on Brother Hugo, look at these tables, and see if you can see right through his facade.

Hat Tip for Band of Bloggers:

Always On Watch

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Evangelism By Weapon

Well, the jihadists have had their hissy fit. And, the Pope has made an overt effort to ease the tensions surrounding his (now famous) Regensburg speech, by saying again that the quote was not his words.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that his use of medieval quotes portraying a violent Islam did not reflect his views and were misunderstood, but he did not give the clear apology still demanded by many Muslims.

The leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, whose speech last week has provoked al Qaeda groups to declare war on the Church, Iraqis to burn the Pope's effigy and Turks to petition for his arrest, said he had not meant to cause offence.

Personally, he has certainly said more about it, than I would have. But to his credit, he has tried to meet them halfway in this and not totally caved into extremist pressure. And although I am not sure that he had intended to cause such a stir, he has (at very least) catalyzed this response, unknowingly. At the most, he said this with the specific intention of fronting out the forces that he spoke of, when he made the "so-called" offensive quote. Either way, the outcome is the outcome.

But I would submit that any other religion in the world, would make their arguments against such a statement and then would move on. There would be no violent reactions, such as we have seen in the Muslim world, over this. The reason? The teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and the rest are not based on the foundational principle of violence (or the threat of violence), as a means to communicate a message.

Evangelism by the sword is not the way to state one's case. When you convert (to anything) under a threat of force, that conversion is at very least suspect. It cannot be taken as a true conversion. True conversions are from (and of) the heart (which is the soul and spirit of a human being). Violent conversions serve no other purpose than to subjugate an individual, a conversion that occurs freely and willingly liberates the individual.

True conversions create an opportunity for enlightenment. They do not cloud, they do not darken, and they do not confuse. They are a revealing experience, and do not obscure understanding. But the most important thing to consider in all of this is: True conversions do not create robots.

When one sees the resurgence of basic fundmentalism in Islam, one has to notice the return to violent principles to advance their agenda. These principles are propagated by people that have been utterly brainwashed into submitting their whole being into a cause that cannot sell their ideas, any other way.

Muslims that disagree with this return to fundamentalism had better start reforming things and counteracting these people that want to bind mankind's souls and spirits. They need to speak out more clearly. They must be seen and heard, rather than hidden. But, as of yet there have only been a handful and they have yet to reach a level where they will be noticed.

Now, would be as good of a time as any, to start this process.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chirac: The Great Enabler

The Iranian president addressed the UN last evening and quite honestly he did pretty much what we expected. He tried to deflect criticism back towards the U.S., as if we were responsible for the current crisis. How wonderful it must be to have someone you can always blame, for your own misbehaviors.

Be that as it may, it's one thing to act like that. But it's another to reinforce that behavior.

Enter Jacques Chirac, the Great Enabler.
Jack wants the UN to back off the sanctions threat.

It seems that Mr. Chirac's style of diplomacy puts him the same league with John Kerry, who votes for things before he votes against them. Chirac commits to a few thousand troops to a UN cause, then cuts it back to 200, or so. Then when the world mocks his decision, he changes his mind again and recommits. In this case, he had the UN thinking sanctions and now he says no. What a surprise.

The UN has certainly been a noble experiment, but one has to admit that it is quickly becoming a failed experiment. When one of the charter members of the UNSC has a leader that can't decide what's best for the world on an issue such as this, it's no wonder it fails so miserably, time after time.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Muslim Outrage Grows

More and more, the radical "foaming at the mouth" Islamic extremists are pushing themselves into a collective temper tantrum, over the Pope and his remarks. Demonstrations, threats, and other displays of ill-mannered self-control are becoming more and more common.

One radical Muslim extremist is calling for his execution.

A notorious Muslim extremist told a demonstration in London yesterday that the Pope should face execution.

Anjem Choudary said those who insulted Islam would be "subject to capital punishment".

All because he "insulted" Islam? He didn't kill anyone, he didn't order anyone killed. There were no beheadings of innocent Muslims on Vatican TV and I have yet to find where radical Catholic extremists took an innocent Muslim hostage. No one has even forced a conversion, in the midst of all of this.

Then (as if calling for the Pope's execution isn't enough),
we have the Pope burned in effigy and another vow of war from al-Qaida.

Iraqis have burned effigies of the pope and Al-Qaeda have vowed to pursue holy war, as an apology by the pontiff failed on Monday to quell anger in the Middle East.

But here is the clincher in all of this. The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei has proclaimed this little jewel of a conspiracy.

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei has said remarks by the pope on Islam and violence were just the latest "links in the chain" of a US-Israeli conspiracy aimed at creating conflict between religions.

"Leaders of the arrogant imperialists have already defined the links of the chain in this US-Zionist project by attacking Iraq," Khamenei said in comments broadcast on state television.

"The issue of insulting cartoons and remarks of some politicians about Islam are different links in the conspiracy of the crusaders and the pope's remarks are the latest links in this," he added.

Now, I do not know about you. But, I have searched high and low. And I have yet to see one story on Jews and Catholics pouring into the streets with hateful signs and Mohammed effigies aflame. I have yet to see one mosque bombed or one Muslim woman killed in direct retaliation for the nun in Somalia's death. And I certainly have heard no calls from local priests, district bishops, or regional cardinals, for war against the "heathen" Muslims.

There is one thing that many Muslims must start to consider, here. Those moderate Muslims that are not wanting to stir more anger and more violence need to come to the forefront and condemn the behavior of these radical socio-paths. They must begin to use their influences in a positive way, before a backlash does begin to form. There needs to be an Islamic "enlightenment or reformation" period.

Because even though there has been no retaliatory attacks (to date), there are elements that are capable of such a thing. And if this is allowed to continue unabated for much longer, these groups can and will begin retaliations against innocent Muslims that live in predominently non-Muslim nations. They won't be Christian or Jewish groups doing the dirty work, either.
One only has to take a look at an alarming set of results from Sunday's regional elections, in Germany, to see what these groups represent.

So, the next time Rosie O'Donnell says something as stupid,
as she just did recently, maybe those that are inclined to believe her idiotic rhetoric, will give her hateful (and vitriolic) remarks a second thought. Then again, maybe not.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Muslim Extremists: Apology Not Good Enough

By now, we have all heard of the recent papal remarks that have caused such an uproar, in the Muslim world. So Pope Benedict, wanting to diffuse the situation, made an apology. But that isn't good enough for Islamic extremists, they feel they deserve a more personal apology. Or, some say it's going to be war.

There are many that already feel that the Pope had no business trying to reason with these people. to start with. They feel this was just another attempt to appease. But, whether he was or wasn't, that is not the issue here. The truth is, the Pope felt the need (or at least, attempt) to show some goodwill and address the issue of violence. That is something all Popes in my lifetime have done; so, there's really nothing new there. He's the Pope, that's what he does, I can't fault him for trying.

So to go with the best of intentions, enters an "offensive" statement. Then comes the backlash and the outrage making the Muslim community look silly. (Take a look at the Logic Lifeline's take on this, here and here.) Then comes the apology, and more outrage at the apology.

But even though the words complained about are not his words, even though he has said that they do not reflect his views, that still does not satisfy blood-thirsty radicals who live (and die) by the sword (or the assault rifles, SAMs, IEDs, etc.). The people that commit such violence against innocent people for the advancement of their oppressive ideology are not interested in anything but jihad. So, it's a pretty safe bet that an apology is not going to make this thing go away.

In fact, here's how they have answered already:

The AP is reporting that five churches have been attacked in Palestinian areas, since the Pope's remarks.

An Italian nun has been slain in Somalia and is believed to have a link to the Pope's remarks.

Will there be more? If I was to bet, I'd most certainly bet yes. But what will it be next? Your guess is as good as mine, I am not in anyone's inner circle, so I have no real hard data to refer to. But, let'ds give this a little thought here.

The Pope is due to visit Turkey soon. So naturally, there is a great concern about the security of his visit. Despite the fact that he is currently on friendly soil, his security has already been beefed up. And it's not a bad idea.

The result of this current outrage has yet to be determined. Traveling to Turkey may not be a good idea at this time. Echoes of the assassination of the Archduke of Ferdinand is still resonating, people haven't forgotten that. Turkey feels they are being jacked around by the EU right now and they are (they have no business in the EU, if you ask me). It does not look like the right time to me. Because, if something happens to the Pope, you know there will be a fallout, unlike you have ever seen before. You will not imagine the backlash, this will create.

If there ever was a moment in time when you began to think that the world is going to explode, you just watch what happens if this were to become a reality. I guarantee you, you will think that everything heretofore has been a cakewalk (at the Noonday Optimist booth at the county fair), compared to what may follow. And the best way to prevent this, is for the Pope not to go.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Franco-American Disconnect: Interest vs. Reason

If you are not a regular reader of PYY and have searched your way into this post, here is the introduction (or preface, if you will) to this piece.

Awhile back, I was perusing the archives of Professor R.J. Rummel's blog (Democratic Peace) and found some information that may help explain some of the disconnect that is perceived to be so prevalent between two historical allies, the United States and France. And although there is a strong historical bond between Europe and America, there are some distinct differences that exist and not all of this has arisen from the different opinions about the Iraq war. Many of these dissimilarities can be traced back into the early days of both nations' new found liberty; and by acquiring a better understanding of that period, some of the philosophical differences can be better explained.

Here is a brief, but pertinent examination of the differences between the French and American Revolutions (and the states they produced) written by Dr. Rummel and found on the University of Hawaii's website.

The crux of this matter can best be summed up by his opening statement:

The intellectual struggle worldwide today is now between the beliefs encapsulated in the American Revolution and those in the French. It is interests versus reason.

Here, we have two separate revolutions occurring close to the same time frame. The goals were similar, in that, they were fought for the specific purpose of freeing the people from what was then a corrupt yoke of tyranny. However, in setting up their respective governments after that yoke was broken, both nations were motivated by two very different schools of thought in what objectives each respective government should try to meet and what philosophy/ideology would best to serve the people of each nation.

In the American experiment,
John Locke and Sir John Harrington were the philosophical influences that guided the Americans, to base their document on these three guiding principles, as explained by Dr. Rummel:

One is that all men have certain inalienable Rights standing above and limiting government, the agency of the State. Among these, as enshrined in the First Amendment, are the rights to the freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition.

The second principle is that all governments carry within themselves the seeds of tyranny, of the absolute State, which can be limited only by a system of checks and balances. Thus, the Constitution balances aspects of monarchy, aristocracy, and the commons in the independent powers of the executive, judiciary, and legislature; it balances a democratic tendency to mob rule by protections of minority views and rights. It balances popular representation in the House of Representatives against the equality of large and small states in the Senate. And it balances the need to satisfy popular interests with the requirement for their careful and dispassionate consideration.

The third principle is that Freedom must reign, that no man working in his own interests can be unjust against himself, and that therefore, government must be limited to defining and administering the common law. Government is to be an arbiter between interests, to serve a janitorial role of defending and maintaining the commonwealth. All else is the preserve of Freedom.

Shortly after the creation of the U.S. Constitution, the French Revolution occurred. The two major philosphical influences on the new French government were
Rene Descartes and Jean Jacques Rousseau, two products of the Enlightenment.

Per Dr. Rummel, here are the three guiding principles of that revolution and subsequent government:

The first principle is that the benefits to the Community outweigh individual rights. This is what the common will or sovereignty of the people means -- that individuals are members of a Community which takes precedence over the individual, and that the Community has a will to be gratified, a justice to be sought, which no individual should bar.

The second principle is that the State, and thus government as its agent, can be beneficent instruments of progress, a tool to be used to pursue the common will, the Community's betterment. Government, of course, had been feared when ruled by kings and aristocrats. But in the hands of the people, government can only serve the people's ends. Therefore, government should not be checked and balanced. Its powers should not be divided, for then the State is severely restrained. The Application of Reason to further Social Justice is crippled. Unlike the Americans, the French revolutionaries did not fear the State as such, but only the State in the service of the wrong class and bad ends.

And this led to the third principle of the French Revolution -- unlimited government. As the State's implement of Reason working on behalf of the Community, government should not be limited. If necessary to pursue Social Justice, government should centralize, regulate, and control. No local or provincial government, no local council, court or judge, should be able to limit or contradict the pursuit of Social Justice by the State; no minority interest should have precedence over the General Will.

So, in essence, we have two separate entities seeking liberty and freedom from oppression, yet, we have two very different philosphical ventures on how to implement that liberty and freedom, and how to maintain it. What it all boils down to is, interest vs. reason and individual rights vs. the good of the community.

One can easily see the different approaches in the Constitutions of both nations. The American document's provisions for human rights is,
The Bill Of Rights, something most Americans are taught, from elementary school on. Although many of us are well-adept at knowing the principles contained therein, many Americans not realize that France has a similar provison in their document, known as, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Let's look at some of the text:

Article I – Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.

Article III – The principle of any sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation. No body, no individual can exert authority which does not emanate expressly from it.

As we see from these two passages, the focus is clearly centered on the community. But when we read the Bill Of Rights, we see the focus centered on the individual. In the U.S. Bill, the powers are separated, in the French Declaration, the powers are concentrated. In France, the government is the protector of rights. In the U.S., the government is the preserver.

One analogy I would submit is, both are solid foundations. But one is made of brick, the other is made of limestone. Bricks are man-made, limestone occurs naturally. One of the pre-eminent principles of the U.S. Constitution is, its outlined rights are presumed natural and God-given. Whereas in the French Constitution, the rights are created and flow from the State.

Not only were the foundational bases of both states different, both took different paths after their implementations. Both had their shares of troubles, there can be no doubt about that. But, one had a much more difficult time getting its experiment to work.

And that is where we will leave it, until the next post. Besides, this should be enough to chew on for a little while at least.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Franco-American Disconnect

This past Tuesday in one of my hurried moments I put up a link to Super Frenchie's post on Nicolas Sarkozy's recent interview with Le Monde and promised that I would soon post a piece, on Franco-American relations. Well, I still am. But, I just haven't had the time to do it yet. (Help me, platoon. I am a dying cockroach.)

You see, I have a significant number of French readers (probably about a third) and whatever post I put up, will most likely be subjected to some pretty close scrutiny (and I welcome it), so it won't pay to half-do it. What credibility I have (if any at all), will all be neutralized with one failing effort, if I foul this up.

But seriously, that's not the only reason that I want to get it right. I want to do it justice because, I see two countries that:

1. Have never been openly hostile to one and another.

2. Have never been in a war against each other.

3. Have been in three wars together as much needed and appreciated allies. (Once, as allies in the American Revolution; twice with Britain, to free the European continent of imperialist war machines.)

4. Have nitpicked each other to death over stuff that sometimes doesn't mean a thing, in between those instances of allied partnership.

The first three items I listed, I can understand quite well. America needs France, France needs America, and that can only mean that we need each other. But despite that bit of poignancy, somewhere in the midst of it all, there lies a certain disconnect that doesn't get explained adequately. And sometimes, when attempts are made to do so, the connection sometimes fails.

So because this is such a complex subject, I believe it will take more than one post. Therefore, I will need to look at this from some very different angles. I want to look at the similarities as well as, the differences. I want to attempt to explain and clarify some common misconceptions from the American point of view and want to give both my French and American (or any other nationality, for that matter) readers an opportunity to object, correct, clarify, and/or qualify whatever content I present and tell us all what their perspective is. I welcome the close examination and the comments.

If it goes well and looks to be enlightening, educational, and productive, I will probably make it a recurring series from time to time, when the time is right. Right now, I have enough to write three different posts from three different areas of focus. And from there, who knows? Maybe more will come as things gets going. I know that with the French elections coming up next year, there will be no shortage of material.

Another idea I have, is an occasional guest poster on the subject, from either side of the pond. If anyone is interested, let me know. If you have your own blog, you can post it to your blog and I will link to it; if you don't have one, I can post it here for you (whatever floats your boat is okay with me).

So anyway, now that I have turned an intended piece of informational housekeeping into a shameless piece of self-promotion, I will say that I hope to have part one of "The Franco-American Disconnect" up and running, by the weekend. In the meantime while I am waiting to complete the first post, I may throw up a few "off-the-cuff" posts like I am accustomed to doing, when I am pressed for time (which is almost always, anymore).

But most importantly, as always, thanks for reading PYY.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rosie O'Donnell's Misunderstanding

I guess many in the blogosphere have taken exception to Rosie O'Donnells latest foot in mouth moment.

From Newsbusters comes this story.

Rosie O’Donnell, the new host of "The View," restrained herself for exactly one week before letting fly with her extreme liberalism. On the September 12 edition, in response to fellow co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that militant Islam is a grave threat, O’Donnell stated that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." The comedienne also attacked America’s response to 9/11:

O’Donnell: "We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."

This is a common theme among the anti-war left. When someone tries to refute a statement such as this by accurately pointing out that Christians do not blow up innocent people on a daily basis, this is the common retort. But is it accurate?

One can say that radical Christians are not tolerant, like many Muslims aren't. And, that would be accurate in some instances. One can point to kooks like Eric Rudolph bombing abortion clinics. And, that would be one isolated example of a dangerous threat by a radical (so-called) Christian. One can look at the attitudes towards a good many social issues and see common values between the two groups. And, you could draw an accurate conclusion that there are some people that do not have their heads screwed on right.

But how often, can anyone honestly say (with any realistic expectation of being considered credible), there is a strong likeness between the two groups? You can't. But as absurd as her initial comment is, the strong implication that the U.S. has been bombing two countries in the name of Christ, is even more so.

Despite what the secular progressives may believe, this is a secular government. This nation (and many of its laws) may have been founded on many Judeo-Christian principles, but that (in and of itself) does not constitute a Christian government, not in the least.

You can debate whether it is right or wrong to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan, based on a whole host of arguments. But that does not mean that this is a Christian government. You can have elected officials that have a deep faith in Christianity, they can go to church regularly, and still, this would not qualify for a Christian theocracy.

There may even be a good many Christian clergymen that agree with the war, but that does not equal a theological motivation, at least not with all of them. There are many that have a distorted view of God and the government, but how many order suicide bombings to kill innocent people in another land, or in their own? How many preach this from their pulpit? How many openly seek to destroy America, Europe, or Israel and spend countless days, months, and years indoctrinating people, to do it?

Now contrast these questions to the imams of Islam. How many of them engage in this kind of activity?

If you are honest with yourself, you can answer this question with confidence and clarity. If not, you may find yourself using more fallacies, to explain the fallacies you cannot already explain. That's what Rosie has done here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Pro-American French Candidate?

Nicolas Sarkozy is emerging as one of the front runners in next year's French Presidential election. Super Frenchie has coverage of an interview that Le Monde recently conducted with Mr. Sarkozy.

I do not have time to review it completely here and now, but read what Frenchie has posted on it and follow his links. I cannot vote in the French election, for obvious reasons. But if I could, I'd give this guy a good look.

Note-I am currently working on some material on a French-American relations post that I will get to, when I can find some time to finish it up. So watch for it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Five Years Later: Still Trying To Make Some Sense Of It All

As the five year anniversary of 9/11 is being commemorated, I have struggled as to what I would say in this post. I even struggled as to whether I could say anything worthwhile, because even after five years, there is still an element of shock that exists in the back of my mind. It is still all too surreal, to this day.

I just don't just think about this when the anniversary gets here. I do not think that there isn't a day that I haven't thought about it. And believe me when I tell you, I have tried to make some sense out of it, despite the fact it was such a senseless act to begin with.

So now, we have the big political battle on whether or not a docu-drama should or should not be aired, developing. And wouldn't you know that this is happening, as we near an election? Surprise, surprise. But as I have watched this entire thing unfold (over the last 5 years), I have come up with some non-partisan analysis that I feel would be appropriate to share, at this time of reflection and remembrance.

Here is what I have sorted out, so far:

There are some people in this world that are thoroughly convinced that George W. Bush was to blame for the momentous event that occurred just 5 years ago. By contrast, there are some people that put the blame squarely on Bill Clinton, and his administration. Both sides are vehement in their accusations and they will not back down. Both are trying to sell a tainted version to the masses

But the truth is plain to most free-thinking and intelligent people that have a good working grip on history and current world events. There are many people that see that both are to blame. But that doesn't reveal the whole truth, either.

The whole truth is, all Presidents going back to Carter have failed to recognize a growing threat. It was a threat that had manifested itself so many times, in so many different ways. Yet, for various reasons, it was overlooked or put on the back burner because there were other pressing issues to focus on.

If we must start somewhere, we must start with Carter. He didn't show enough courage after the embassy was overrun by radical Islamists, on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini. He allowed the Iranians to dictate the pace, he didn't show the leadership that he could have, while the Islamic Republic was in its infancy stages.

You see, the Vietnam War was still fresh in everyone's mind and Carter, himself, was a pacifist. Feeling empowered as a negotiator due to his success at Camp David earlier that same year, he felt that somehow, someway, he could talk his way out of the situation. Even when he decided to use force to rescue the hostages from the embassy, his subordinates botched it up.

They botched it, because they were all pacifists and hadn't counted on anyone being so bold as to spit in the eye of the U.S. Therefore, they had no one that could formulate a successful plan to resolve this issue. Nobody had the guts to make a stand, because no one had the analytical and strategic military know-how to pull it off. So, it failed. The U.S. failed and the Carter malaise and ague, threw the nation into a period of low national self-esteem.

Meanwhile, Iran grew bolder.

Then Reagan came along and re-vitalized the nation. He set the tone for a brilliant emotional recovery, by standing up to the Soviets. But as much as I respect him, he had his period of miscalculation, as well.

Who can forget the Marine Barracks blunder in Beirut. Hezbollah (sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran) blew the hell out of our men. And what did we do? We cut and ran. With Vietnam still fresh in the nation's minds, the Reagan administration felt the need to pack it up.

It is true that he was an instrumental force in the eventual demise of the USSR; I do not believe it would have happened when it did, if he hadn't been such a strong catalyst, in the matter. But because of the focus on standing down the Kremlin, the growing jihadist threat was being overlooked, or at very least put on the back burner. We swatted flies and made our retaliatory hits from time to time and we certainly didn't take it nearly as passively as Carter. But in the end the result was, we allowed Hezbollah to gain in strength, power, and influence, because we failed to take them on at that moment in time.

Meanwhile, Iran grew bolder.

George Bush, the elder had some lapses, as well. After the USSR fell, resources that could have been used to take on the threat were downsized out, until Desert Storm. But it wasn't the extraction of the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait that failed to do the job. That, in and of iteslf, was a good thing that had to be done. Saddam was a threat. The world could not allow him, a dictator of a national entity, to just annex what he wanted, when he wanted it.

But George the elder was faced with a difficult decision that would be second guessed, years later. For the purpose of keeping Iran in check, he allowed Saddam to stay in power. He theorized that his own people would overthrow him. Couple that with the fact that the UN Resolution was clear in its objective that Saddam's army be extracted from Kuwait and you see his reasoning ofr not marching to Baghdad at that time, despite how tempting it may have been.

In his last days in office, he made the decision to send troops to Somalia. I never really understood that decision. For a President to send troops to an area that the U.S. clearly had no interest at the time and at the same time was so close to the end of his term, was in my opinion foolish. It gave the distinct impression that he was trying to ensnarl the new administration into a quagmire (which it turned out to be).

Clinton's missteps were evident. After some losses in Somalia, he cut and ran. Even though Bush the elder, put us there, the worst thing Clinto could have done was pull out immediately after things got a little rough, It gave a signal to the enemy that Americans did not have the stomachs for casualties.

Add to that the unanswered WTC attack in 93, embassy attacks, and the attack on the U.S.S Cole; then add to that his refusal to accept bin Laden when offered to him, and it became painfully evident that the Clinton administration was content to treat this conflict as a law enforcement issue.

But in one sense I see where the Clinton team saw a need to (somewhat) beef up security in the mid-90s, for what was then explained to be non-specific threats to the airline industry. It was then that the airlines began asking certain questions about passengers' bags before boarding. It may have been explained as non-specific, but in my opinion there was more known about those threats that precipitated the extra screenings. We just weren't told what they were.

Towards the end of the Clinton terms, we then let our guard down again. And after George Bush the younger came to office, those guards were let down even further. And the nation had begun to get back into a state of complacency, that attitude led to the worst attacks on U.S. soil ever.

Why am I saying all of this?

Because to fully give an account of what happened leading up to this dreadful day, 5 years ago, one cannot just look the mistakes of Clinton and point to him as the leading cause. The story must begin with Carter and proceed from there. They all had a hand in it, they all had their opportunities but didn't capitalize on them, because they underestimated the Jihadist movements. (Al Qaida saw this, and recognized the fact that the Americans were not on a war footing, as was the Islamic militancy.)

The lessons of the past are with us. What has happened has happened. We cannot change this fact, no matter how many times we go over it in our minds. If we had only done this, or if we had only done that, does not make for productive reflection. To blame one person for allowing it to happen, does even worse.

But as we remember this day, we all would do well to not continue to focus on who is to blame, because we all were caught offguard. We would do well to look at where we have been, make the necessary adjustments to ensure that we do not take the same path again; and then we need to keep our guard up, thereby refusing to let these thugs beat us, psychologically or militarily.

To continue to politicize this issue, to me, is an abomination. To do it to purposefully keep the nation divided, is even more so. And to work against those that are working hard to make this nation safer, is a sure path to further pain and suffering.

Never forget this day.

I won't.

I can't.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NFL Brother Bowl I: Peyton 26 - Eli 21

The Indianapolis Colts led by Peyton Manning have won the first meeting with younger brother Eli's New York Giants 26-21, in what was a pretty good football game.

Mistakes cost both teams at times. But, the Giants had some mistakes that cost them some otherwise impressive drives, more often than the Colts had. This is not unusual for teams on opening day, but I am sure Tom Coughlin will stress and emphasize this in the upcoming week, both at practice and in the film sessions.

There were some questionable calls in the end that NY fans will point to as a key to their team coming up short. The late offensive pass interference call against the Giants was a close one that could have gone either way. The Colts' Nick Harper could have caught an elbow, but he made sure he caught the refs's eyes with a Reggie Miller style flop. It was a tough call.

The last call that NY fans weren't too pleased with was the illegal snap with under 2 minutes to go, and by rule cost them 10 seconds off of the clock. They had 0:17 seconds, but that made it 0:07. That would have made it a tough task for the more experienced Peyton, so it's no surprise that the younger Eli was unable to overcome that call. It was a good call.

Bottom line, the Colts miss Edgerrin James. The two Colts running backs are not near the caliber of the Edge, at least not yet. Joseph Addai will be someday, once he gets some more experience and learns the pro game and its defenses, better.

So now that the hype for this game is over and most of the week one games are over, the season is in full swing and every team must look to next week, with the exception of the four that play tomorrow night.

My teams did well.

The Colts won, the Bears won big (shutting out the GB Packers), and the Cincinnati Bengals won with relative ease.

My Raiders play tomorrow night, but I will not hold my breath for them. They have no quarterback, so it will be an huge uphill battle for them to be competitive this year.

In addition to the NFL games, one of my college teams won and won big. Notre Dame soundly defeated Penn State. The other team USC did not play, they play Nebraska next week. Notre Dame gets a tough Michigan team, in South Bend.

So, that's it for this week's sports punditry. Hope your team did well, if not, there's 15 more games to pull it together.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

PYY News Briefs (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary That Goes With It)

This is what we all get when the PYY editor-in-chief is tired and/or not feeling well. This is also what we get when there is a lot going on in the news, as well as, when there's little to nothing. The past couple of days, I have been under the weather and there's a lot to write about.

So to quote the late Jackie Gleason, "And awayyyyy, we go!!!!".

Iran President Applies For Visa

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has applied for a U.S. visa, according to State Department officials.

The fiery leader plans to attend the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York later this month. Official says that the application, which was submitted last month, is going through the normal processing procedure

Many that usually agree with me, may find me on the opposite side of the fence on this one.

First, let me say that I do not like him. In my personal and professional circle of friends and acquaintances, I know of no one that does. His views are reprehensible, he is a menace and a threat to world peace. I cannot find one admirable quality about him, he does nothing for his own people who are in the midst of a horrible economy. Instead of doing his countrymen and women some good, he spends his time trying to provoke and bully others.

But on the other hand, he must be allowed to address the UN, as is customary per UN protocol. It would be a foolish move to deny him the opportunity to make a fool of himself on the world stage, without censors. I know, I know. He probably would not have been elected in Iran, had more reform-minded candidates been allowed to run. But this is what we have. Wish as we might, we cannot change that one simple fact. We can only criticize and ostrasize.

And that's precisely what we should do, before, during, and after he says what he feels he has to say. Then he should leave, immediately.

NBC's David Gregory And WH Press Secretary Tony Snow In A Verbal Sparring Match

Snow got into a tussle with Gregory after the NBC journalist told him, in a lengthy remark, that the public may wonder why the president's statement and report today on the war on terror did not admit more failings on the administration's part. Snow observed that he had nicely summarized "the Democratic point of view," and Gregory took exception to this.

This happened earlier in the week. (Read the article for the complete exchange)

Tony is not Scott McClellan. He will not allow Gregory (a
magna cum laude graduate, of the "Bryant Gumbel School of Interviewing Skills") to mount a charge, without some return fire in the process. Someone, along the way, has told Gregory that he could be the next Sam Donaldson. As a result, he has been seen shopping for new hats to replace the ones, he just outgrew.

No one says that he has to softball Snow (or anyone else, for that matter). But there is a certain level of respect due at these kinds of events, and someone needs to have a chat with Ole David and help him to realize this. I know that his defenders will say that Tony dodged the question and David was just pressing him. But I think he felt embarassed because Tony one-upped him in the snippy quip department and he lost his composure and looked like a spoiled brat, in the process. But, he needs to get over it.

Why? Because all WHPSs over the years have dodged questions and they will always do so. It's just the nature of the beast, it's the way it is, and it will always be. Dodging questions knows no party lines, it's been going on long before little David was born and will go on long after he dies. And all politicians do it, not just administration officials. Senators, Representatives, Governors, and all bureaucrats that work for them; you name the title and they do it.

If I am David, I am not sure I would continue this overly combative strategic approach. I do not believe that there is anything that says he has to be allowed in the press conferences. I doubt there is anything NBC can do, but replace him with someone else, if his credentials are revoked. It wouldn't be so bad, if this kind of rude and obnoxious behavior hadn't occurred in the past.

No. Tony is no Scott McClellan and a Sam Donaldson, David is not. Sam had more class and was far more intelligent, than Gregory. He grilled his subjects hard, but he was far more respectful. Likewise, Tony is no pushover. Scott is a nice guy, but he allowed the press corps to run roughshod over him, at times. Tony displays a good nature takes the hard questions well (without getting flustered), and appears to be an easy going guy. But do not mistake that laid-back approach for weakness. Weak, he is NOT.

Neal Boortz: Democrats Are Not Telling The American People How They Would Keep The Nation Safe From Terrorist Attacks

I have said before that
Neal Boortz is my favorite talk show host, presently on the air. (I like several, but I absolutely love his for a whole host of reasons.) Although I do not always agree with him, I find myself seeing his point of view many more times, than not. His ideology is closest to mine, far more than any other.

This is a hard-hitting piece. If you have ever heard his show in Atlanta or in syndication, you certainly can hear his voice speaking this, as you read it. Give it a look, here is a tiny bit just to get a taste of it:

...after announcing their wonderful six-point plan, the Democrats actually made the point that their plan was based on more than a year of ... now, get this .... more than a year of consistent national polling data!

Can you believe that? Here we have a political party that is actually admitting that it is basing its plan to defend the United States from Islamic fascism on .... polling data!

(Emphasis is Neal's)

Now, those of you that read me enough, already know how I feel about polls.

I do not like them.

They are too easily skewed.

They are too easily skewed, because too few pollsters in this world really care about true measurement, in the true spirit and nature of research. Most pollsters (not all, but most) try to conduct a poll to prove their already formed biases. More times than not, the people behind the poll want the data to prove their point(s) or disprove their opponent(s)'. True researchers want the truth, no matter the outcome(s).

So now, we have Neal saying it clearly and plainly. National security is way too important to be entrusting it to a poll.

The Democrats seem to love entrusting any and everything to polls, these days. The Clinton White House depended heavily on them. To me, it says a lot when you let the general public pick your core values and set the agenda for delicate and sensitive policies. It says even more, when you take the chance on that poll being skewed, to do it.

Note-Okay, so they are not so brief. But honestly, they started out that way.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Losing Contact With Reality

That should be the name of Cindy Sheehan's new book, not Peace Mom. Peace is far from her. From just the preview on Radar Online, she demonstrates why she really needs some professional counseling, in the worst way.

...the antiwar icon admits she has fantasized about going back in time and killing the infant George W. Bush, thereby preventing the Iraq War.

This is the kind of hatred that will send a person into an abyss of insanity, if not recognized and treated properly. This kind of hatred will cause her much anguish and will create a very long and miserable life for her, if she does not get a hold of this now. The longer she allows this hatred to ferment in the depths of her soul, the higher the risk she is for a complete mental breakdown and a long-term admission to a psychiatric facility. There can be no peace for her, if she does not submit.

The site also quotes her book as saying:

"Every night I had to restrain myself from taking my entire bottle of sleeping pills instead of just one."

If that is not a cry for help, what is? How many people that have been using her to promote her story, as part of their anti-war agenda, will actually care enough to get her the help she needs to heal?

I ask these questions not to be mean, but because it is becoming very apparent that she has some serious issues that absolutely need to be addressed, before she spins way out of control. She has not been able to grieve naturally, therefore she has not been able to heal properly.

The attention she received from the media last year has largely gone away, based on the original story. That attention was a drug to her. She basked in the limelight, so she could kill the pain. It worked for awhile. But now the story, itself, is fading somewhat and to keep that drug working, she must keep saying/doing more and more outrageous things to capture that same attention. (See: Drug Tolerance)

But as the attention subsides, the pain comes back. To rid herself of the pain, she must deal with the cause of the pain, frankly and honestly. To continue to create more attention in order to kill the pain, only masks the pain, and makes it impossible to heal. Until she comes to grip with these pure and simple facts, she will live the rest of her life miserably, at a high risk for a tragic ending.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

There, you see it. According to this personality test, I am Abe Lincoln. I am not sure that's quite the case. Nevertheless, he was an honorable man.

While it is true that Abe had a peaceful and good nature about him, he didn't waver, when the time came to preserve the Union. Likewise, I have had to tell many a person over the years, "do not take my peaceful and good nature as a sign of weakness". So in that respect, I guess it is close.

How about you?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Blog (And Comment) Worth Sharing: Global American Discourse

I usually do not front a commenter out unless I think something needs to be said. I'd like to share a good portion of a comment left, on the "Maybe..." post.

Yes, as you say, there are perception gaps between US and its allies. To my regret, Tony Blair is under attack to set a timetable to step down. This is a negative blow to EU commitment.

Nuclear bombs can proliferate. Once Iran acquires them, other Islamic states and terrorists can acquire them. Then, not only US and Israel but also the whole world will face the threat.

For those of you that do not know, Shah. I highly recommend you check out his site, Global American Discourse. He is a Political Scientist, from and in Japan. He is not some wannabe hack here, he knows his stuff, read his blog and you'll see.

I think an important thing to note is, of all the countries in the world, Japan is one of the last countries that needs to worry about Radical jihadists. They do not anger many and are a model of capitalism. They have shown in a remarkable fashion, just what can done for a nation in ruins. They have made it happen.

Except for the fact that China and Korea is holding grudges for things that happened 60+ years ago. They pretty much get along with everyone.

I am not saying that they have no worries, they have them. But they have more of a threat from internal radicals than from Muslim terrorists or the number one sponsor of jihad, Iran. Even at that, Shah still recognizes that a nuclear Iran would be a threat.

The one Asian country that should be concerned is China. They are not immuned. And if Iran gets a nuke, who's to say Iran won't get irritated at China someday and turn on them?

It sure is something they need to be thinking about, as they draw up their alliances.

CBS News: The Couric Era. (How Long Will It Last?)

With a 9.1 rating and a 17 share , Katie Couric kicked off a new era in the CBS News department, easily topping ABC and NBC by a large margin. Much of this is most likely due to the curiosity factor. Many people wanted to see what the new format would look like, and how she would perform in her new role.

Time will tell if the viewers will continue to tune in. Once the hype and the hooplah dies down, the pattern of viewership will be easier to gauge.

I am reminded of what an old sergeant I had in the Army thirty years ago had told me about his experience, when he had arrived at Basic Training. He said the Post Commander and many of the upper echelon of officers for that installation were there. People from the local community were also in attendance. There was even a band present, for the celebration.

The General spoke, as well as a few others in the chain of command. The band played on cue. But behind the podium, there were 10-15 drill instructors standing at parade rest, showing no emotion and not moving a muscle the entire time. It seemed like an exciting occasion, worthy of the fanfare and attention.

After the brief ceremony, the senior drill instructor came to the podium and said to the trainees, something to the effect of the following:

Look around you. The General and his entourage have left. The civilians have all left. The band has packed up and gone home.

And they have left you with us.

After his ever so short inventory of those left in attendance, all of the drill instructors that had been standing quietly and still through it all, came out of those statuesque poses and unleashed an unholy fury on all that remained, the trainees.

So, after the curiosity seekers go home and the newness has worn off, Katie will be left with her critics and whatever dedicated viewership, she is able to garner from the early fanfare. Time will tell how she will do.

Some critics are already out and slamming the newscast. Take a look at Andrea Peyser's critique in the NY Post, this morning.

KATIE COURIC last night underwent her second on-air colonoscopy.

Watching the procedure was not a horribly painful event. Nor was it an experience I would volunteer to repeat any time soon.

If you read the rest of the piece, know that it does not get any better, after that opening statement.

Not as harsh, but, still critical was what came from the Washington Post.
One wants to wish her well on the basis of her tremendous charm, but opening night left acres and acres of room for improvement.

That's the industry for you. They eat their young. Except she's not a youngster, she has been co-anchor of Today for many years. But this is different, this is the bigtime.

Using this combination of anchor and format change, just may be the ticket for CBS to dig out of the hole they created for themselves, when they allowed Dan Rather to run it into the ground by being a loose cannon toward the end of his career. Maybe by adding the free speech segment, they can reject their openly biased past.

But then again, it might not.

Stay The Course In Iraq

No it isn't President Bush, Vice President Cheney, or even Secretary Rumsfeld saying this.

From the USA Today

NEW YORK — Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said Monday that U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until that country's fragile government can assume greater control.

In an interview here during his first trip to the United States since leaving office a year ago, Khatami said, "We can't leave this newly formed government at the mercy of terrorists and insurgents."

I am speechless.

Despite the change in the leadership, Khatami said that Iran is not the enemy of the United States and that the two countries share strategic interests in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Khatami said Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, didn't provide weapons to Iraqi Shiites while he was in power. He said he doubts that the current leadership is doing so, as has been charged by U.S. officials including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "No one will benefit as much as Iran from peace and stability in Iraq," he said.

Oh, how I wish I could believe him. But the skeptic in me says that this is just a PR campaign.

It's hard for me to understand just how a stable and democratic Iraq can benefit the Iranians. Iranians are already restless, their economy is in shambles, and one would think that the intrigue of a democratic Iraq and Afghanistan, would be too much to bear, for much longer. One would also think that it is just a matter of time before the people would show some signs of envy and want to experience free and fair elections, themselves.

But honestly, as long as the Ayatollah Khameini is still the supreme leader and tolerates the current Iranian president's antics, it's doubtful there will be much of an opportunity for this to happen. That is, unless there is a dramatic shift in policy from the Iranian government. Otherwise, this is just a ruse to make us feel more comfortable, before the dagger goes in.


I might add that Khatami's remarks are certainly going against the supreme theocrat, Ayatollah Khameini's call for the U.S. to withdraw, back in March. What we seem to have here is failure, to communicate. Either that or Khatami is freelancing it. Maybe he had better apply for a visa to stay here, as there may be a fatwa issued on him, for when he gets back.