Monday, February 28, 2005

Recruiters Lie?'s Brandon Snider links to a cautionary tale about joining the Army. As would be soldier, Tyler Gilbert found out, signing a contract with the government is signing away your life:

. . . The Army recruiter seemed very nice at first. I mentioned bad stories I had heard, and he told me I could get money for college and I could support my family . . . He was like a stereotypical used car salesperson. Then he started to call constantly, and if I didn't call right back, he'd leave obnoxious messages. He called five to six times a day. He started to call a friend of mine to try to find me, too . . . I thought, "maybe I don't want to do this." Then I figured, "well, I could just try it." They never told me how difficult it was to get out.

. . . They asked me if I had seen a psychologist. I started to write down yes. The recruiter ripped up the paper in front of me and my wife and told me not to say that on the form.

They tried to get me to sign up for infantry. I said, "no." The recruiter made it seem like he had to call the Pentagon and that he pulled a lot of strings to get me assigned to tank driving. Once I got to Basic, I found out that they can still assign you to anything they want. . .

I can identify with his story somewhat, because I took a similar plunge back in the eighties. After being lied to (although on more trivial matters than Gilbert) and instructed to lie by recruiters, I signed up. Somehow, I made it through the Marine Corps infamously tough recuit training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Gilbert's experience is in some ways harsher than mine was; probably because the country is at war.
A key difference is the current difficulty in getting out of training that Gilbert describes. I remember several people leaving boot camp because they continually screwed up, or were hurt. One recruit stands out in my mind who never made past the first few days in the receiving barracks. I can still picture him, standing at attention at the front of the classroom, in tears, talking to his mother on the phone.
That a recruiter was intent on getting Gilbert, a 29 year old with dubious knees to join the infantry indicates that the Army is at very least, concerned about meeting recruiting goals. That they keep people in with injuries and the other serious problems that Gilbert describes indicates that they are desparate.
I joined the Marine Reserve in part because I was a rightwing, perhaps even neoconservative, supporter of an interventionist foreign policy. It felt wrong to just stay in college and let others carry the burden. If I were in that position today, I would probably learn to live with the hypocrisy.

Looking for bias

It must be getting tough for Brent Bozell and his chronies to justify their phony-baloney jobs. The first two items in Monday's "CyberAlert" stretch the concept of media watchdog to the limit. The Headline for the first states, "Oscar Audience Applauds Louder for Fareheit 9-11 Than The Passion." Wow. Is the Oscars audience a media source? Will we soon see "CBS Evening News with the Audience from the Oscars?"
The second "expose" is of an Andy Rooney commentary. Rooney, "Hail[ed] Liberal Presidents, Dismiss[ed] Reagan as a Divider." I don't defend Rooney's views. Once he has said, that Woodrow Wilson is great, "because of his idea for the League of Nations"; I have to conclude that Rooney is such a fool that I wouldn't trust him to tell me the time of day. But his slot on Sixty Minute is commentary. It is supposed to be biased.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Invite the world to help us invade . . .

Max Boot(registration), who urged the U.S. to "Take up the White Man's Burden," in his Savage Wars of Peace, now wants to have the rest of the world share that burden (via Steve Sailer):
The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come. No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world's most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship. Open up recruiting stations from Budapest to Bangkok, Cape Town to Cairo, Montreal to Mexico City. Some might deride those who sign up as mercenaries, but these troops would have significantly different motives than the usual soldier of fortune.

Boot is almost a parody of neoconservatism, whose two point plank was characterized by Sailer as, "invade the world, invite the world." Boot wants to invite the world to help us invade it, then give our loyal Gunga Dins citizenship. I won't bother to argue against Boot here. Anyone who thinks that whe should make up for recruiting shortfalls by trading citizenship for military service in Budapest and Cairo and Montreal(!) is beyond hope. The Times should drop Boot's column and just run a Rudyard Kipling poem in his place every week. It would be much more entertaining:
I sha'n't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled, An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water green.
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
"'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen"
"'E's chawin' up the ground,
"An' 'e's kickin' all around:
"For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!

'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink" sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone
Where it's always double drill and no canteen.
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

More Condi

John Tabin pours a little cold water on the Draft Condi movement that has been touted by columnist, nitwit, Dick Morris. Tabin notes that this isn't the first time that Republicans have mooned over an idealized pontential black candidate:

This isn't the first time Republicans have gotten starry-eyed about an idealized
black candidate; there was buzz about a potential Colin Powell candidacy in the
fall of 1995. Hilariously, William Kristol was a booster a Powell, years before
Powell became undoubtedly Kristol's least favorite cabinet member.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Zero Tolerance

As if I needed further evidence that evidence that people in this country are childish on the subject of drugs, I see this story, via Hit & Run:
Sikeston, Missouri - Police and school leaders in Sikeston say the case
involving a 6-year-old girl and a bag of dirt needs to be taken
"If she would have been 14, we would have been arrested her and
taken her to jail.” Sgt. Shirley Porter said.
It's a story you saw only on
Heartland News. One that generated an incredible response from you. More than a
1,000 of you logged onto our web site to voice your opinion on the Sikeston
first grade student disciplined for giving a bag of dirt and grass to a
Police and school leaders felt it looked like a bag of marijuana.
The girl's mother tells Heartland News that her child did not realize the
difference between a bag of weed and the illegal kind. But, passing even a fake
drug is illegal and had the child been older, she could have been arrested.

Yes people do need to take it seriously when the police and school officials are so terrified of pot that they make a big deal out of a bag of dirt. At least they didn't call in a SWAT team.

Bush was right?

Michael Totten, quoting a few weak-minded liberals, suggests that people were wrong to oppose invading Iraq, and that Bush was right. Mark Brown, of the Chicago Sun-Times, said a couple of weeks ago, "After watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?" Totten quotes Jeff Simmermon ,who was moved by stories Iraqis who were voting in the U.S. "You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country's alleviation of his country's state-sponsored murderous suffering, you have not felt truly, deeply, like a total f*cking moron." He also quotes an Iraqi saying, "almost all Iraqis in America will vote Republican for the rest of their lives."
I don't know about Brown or Simmermon, but I didn't oppose the invading Iraq becuase I didn't think that Saddam was bad, or because I oppose self-government in the Middle East. I opposed it because Saddam wasn't a threat to the U.S. (even if he had turned out to have a few chemical weapons). Also, I am convinced that invading a country that didn't threaten us, while tying down and over-extending the military, doesn't enhance national security.
As to whether "Bush was right;" that argument doesn't hold water for anyone with access to google. I remember the fear mongering from the Bush administration from the fall of 2002, including talk about "aluminum tubes." Who can forget: "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"? I also remember something called the "Axis of Evil." We invaded the weakest member even as the other two are well on their way to aquiring nuclear weapons.
Also, I am more impressed by Iraqis who plan to return to their country instead of staying here and voting Republican.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The People vs. the Powerful

Ryan Sager is upset that rank-and-file conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference are against an open-borders policy. "On the immigration panel mentioned above, Phyllis Schlafly took the hard line against immigration. 'The idea of giving any job to any willing worker is absolutely unacceptable,' Schlafly said. American workers won't and shouldn't work for the wages Mexicans and other Latin American immigrants are willing to accept, she said, and companies should be forced to pay them more. All of this met with wild applause from the audience."
I'm glad to know that the rank-in-file opposes the open-floodgates border policy of a president that they otherwise seem to worship uncritically. The context of Sager's remarks is a column arguing that social conservatives might alienate more libertarian Republicans enough to harm the party. He may or may not be right, I don't really care. The Republican party is destructive of both conservative and libertarian values these days. But I don't think that the immigration concerns of Schlafly and some movement conservatives, which seem to shared by the majority of Americans, as opposed to corporate and political elites, are going to harm the party.

Married in Springfield

Tim Graham of the Media Research Center whines about the gay marriage episod of The Simpsons, even though he didn't see it, on NRO's The Corner:

It sounds to me from reading press accounts that it would please GLAAD more than I thought, what with Marge greeting her lesbian sister with the lame line that just cause you're lesbian "doesn't make you less of a human bein'." Hollywood just always starts from the gay-left assumption that disapproval of sin equals thinking sinners are sub-human. That claim in itself matches "The Simpsons" -- it's a snarky cartoon of Christianity.

If this dork had bothered to see the program he would have discovered that Marge was very vocally pro gay marriage in the abstract, but was upset when it was her sister about to be married. It was hardly some gay rights soapbox. One also fights the tempation to scream, "It's a snarky cartoon period, idiot!". He helpfully quotes his "boss," Brent Bozell III saying, "At a time when the public mood is overwhelmingly against gay marriage, any show that promotes gay marriage is deliberately bucking the public mood." The episode didn't come close to "promoting" gay marriage and it is no crime to buck the public mood, whatever that means.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

After a few years off, the gender wars seem to be heating up again. Harvard president, Lawrence Summers, under the impression that he has freedom of speech, suggested in a private talk that possibly innate ability and family pressures keep women from advancing in the sciences in greater numbers.
On a related front, Susan Estrich is upset because women aren't appearing on the Los Angeles Times editorial page in sufficient numbers. Estrich has guaranteed that she is the last woman on earth who will ever be in the Times due to a series of snotty emails that have been printed in the new Washington Examiner. I am not sure what qualifies her to be so arrogant and condescending towards someone she is attempting to influence. She lectures one of the more distinguished journalists of his generation that, "NO one tried harder to educate you about Los Angeles, introduce you to key players in the city, bring to your attention, quietly, the issues of gender inequality than I did," and then delivers the key remark: "People are beginning to think that your illness may have affected your brain, your judgment, and your ability to do this job."
Kinsley has Parkinson's Disease. I don't know how that effects his mind, but he will have more on the ball ten minutes after he dies than Estrich ever had. In a previously published set of exchanges, Estrich complained about a column that the Times ran by Charlotte Allen arguing that there are no female public intellectuals to follow in the footsteps of the late Susan Sontag:

There are female intellectuals with stellar credentials and bestselling books: Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, Naomi Wolf, Susan Faludi, Deborah Tannen, Natalie Angier. But there's a big difference between these women and their forebears. They are all professional feminists. They don't simply espouse feminism; they write about little else.

Perhaps Estrich is upset because she wasn't mentioned by Allen. Whatever her reasons, she has set the cause of women at the LA Times back probably twenty years.
Into the fray comes Maureen Dowd, the New York Time's answer to Chatty Cathy. Dowd accuses Summers of confusing the the "roles society assigns to women with what women might really want," by suggesting that women might not want to be scientists for 80 hours a week instead of being mothers. But perhaps she has it backwards. It's just possible that women don't want what middle-aged feminists want them to want. "Society" has been leaning on girls to be career-oriented for a while now. Remember "take our daughters to work day?" Dowd is also upset about revelations of how jocks treat women, refering to them as "road beef" and the like in Jose Canseco's book, Juiced. Her complaints about loutish behavior are fair, but she naively states that, "at the dawn of feminism, there was an assumption that women would not be as severely judged on their looks in ensuing years . . . It's just the opposite. Looks matter more than ever, with more and more women spending fortunes turning themselves into generic, plastic versions of what they think men want . . ."
She demonstrates perfectly the problem with feminism. They set out forty years ago to abolish human nature, and they failed. Women have completed the long march through the professions into medicine, law and the academy; but men still have most of the power. And that will almost certainly be the case in fifty or a hundred years from now.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Raise taxes?

Will President Bush agree to raising the income level that the Social Security payroll tax is applied to, thus raising taxes? Some conservatives are concerned at the possibility. They shouldn't worry. I predict that the president will stick to the Republican policy of running up a huge debt and leave it for a less-dishonest president to deal with.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Realistic Republicans

Texas Senator John Cornyn says it is "unrealistic to assume that the 10 million illegal aliens in the United States can be deported and that the only alternative is to create a temporary worker program that has them come forward on their own. " This hopeless notion that we can and should defend the border is distinguishable from the hard-headed realism behind Republican notions of planting democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don't be expecting change, any time soon, from the Republican party's policy of "Invade-the-world, invite-the-world."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

All hail the maximum leader!

The Freepers indulge in their daily worship service. What amazes is the way they think he is not just a great president, but practically perfect in every way, as this comment attests:

Remember that one-year memorial ceremony in NYC for the victims of 9/11, how absolutely maudlin it was, till George and Laura came down the ramp, began meeting with the families, and within several minutes, the heaviness was dispelled, rocketed out of there, replaced with the joy and comfort of the Lord expressed through these two? I'll never forget it. It didn't take long and the families were smiling, getting the Bush's autographs, slapping one another on the back, even in the midst of tears.

Everybody didn't play nice. Scrolling through, you notice replies to a comment that has been removed by the FreeRepublic's ever present thought police.

Winners & Losers

Pat Buchanan aims his advice at the Democrats, but Republicans might want to pay heed as well:

Why should Democrats drop the despondency and start to think? First, because Bush won a second term by nothing like the 49-state landslides of Nixon or Reagan – Bush got 31 states. And though he had led America to victory in two wars, a turnaround of 60,000 votes in Ohio would have made him the first president ever rejected in wartime, and he would have lost to an uncharismatic senator from Massachusetts with a voting record to the left of Teddy Kennedy's.

As Buchanan notes, Bush barely clung to power last year in victory that looks flacid compared to Republican triumphs in 1972 and 1984. If John Kerry had been a plausible NASCAR fan, he might have won.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Program Note

Jonah Goldberg has his panties in a bunch (excuse the lapse into GoldbergSpeak) because Tim Russert chose to have Pat Buchanan on Meet the Press with Natan Sharansky:
But what, exactly, was Russert's thinking? President Bush faces significant political opposition from the Democratic Party and its leftwing base -- not from the Buchanan wing of the Buchanan Party. Ted Kennedy or Michael Moore would be more accurate and representative of political reality. Is it that it's unseemly to have Democrats shown-up for their lack of democratic idealism? Or did Democrats simply refuse to come on? Or, was Russert more attracted to the box-office appeal of Sharansky and Buchanan trading punches?

I assume that the last reason Goldberg offered is the most likely. I didn't see the show, and I generally avoid televised punditry these days; but Buchanan is one of the few pundits occasionally worth watching. In spite of Goldberg, the opposition to the Iraq War is broader than the Michael Moore left. Even his National Review colleage, John Derbyshire is now calling for a pullout and denouncing the Wilsonian claptrap that passes for conservatism these days.

Friday, February 11, 2005


VDare has an article about thought control at FreeRepublic. This time, the issue is oppostition to the presidents immigration policies:
Members and readers of Free Republic would be surprised to know that many members of their community have fallen silent on the discussions about illegal immigration lately because free speech is an illusion on They are silent because they have been banned from the Web site without warning, cause, or explanation in most cases. For weeks the moderators have been suspending and banning new members that chimed in quickly on the immigration debates.

In spite of its name, FreeRepublic is devoted to slavish worship of the president and Ann Coulter. I was banned a couple of years ago. I never learned exactly why, but I think it is because I posted an article by Steve Sailer. In defense of the Freeper people, I knew or at least suspected that it was a thoughtcrime in their view and posted it anyway. To get the essence of FreeRepublic, check out their daily dose of presidential pictures with worshipful captions and comments.


Stupid Justin Raimondo wants to know who won the Iraq elections. Doesn't he know that the only thing that matters is that they took place?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Reform is dead

The President's plan for Social Security reform is dead. How do I know? Because the worst, lamest, dumbest pundit in America says it will succeed.

Monday, February 07, 2005

But They Had an Election!

Pat Buchanan puts last week's Iraq election in context:
When kings, autocrats or despots are deposed and the people rejoice, it has not always meant democracy is assured. In modern history, people's revolutions have produced tyrannies far more monstrous than the ones they have pulled down.

But they had an election!
In 1917, progressives hailed the revolution in Russia that deposed the czar, for it cleansed the Allied cause of the taint of despotism. But that November, Bolsheviks swept Kerensky aside, seized power and began a 70-year reign of terror. In 1918, the detested Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated. The civilized world rejoiced. Fifteen years later, Hitler took power.

But they had an election!
The Stalinist regimes of Eastern Europe were all imposed from above on Christian peoples who belonged to the West and had been moving toward democracy. The communist nations of Europe were kidnapped children who never forgot who they were or where they came from.

But they had an election!

In the Arab Middle East, there is no memory of democracy. There is an unbroken history of despotism and domination – by Ottoman Turks, then by Western imperial powers. To understand what kind of nations liberated Middle East peoples will construct, consider the most powerful currents running in the region.

But they had an election!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Apples, Oranges

Everybody needs to get it straight. The president never said that Saddam's Iraq was an "immenent threat." He only said we had to go to war right away, or it would be too late:

If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

Which is completely different.

The Tyrrellian Crackup

I just assumed that R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. was in a retirement home somewhere after the American Spectator imploded a few years ago. Yet this Mencken wannabe is still around, giving out his annual J. Gordon Coogler award for the worst book of the year. This year he award's Jon Stewart's America:
Stewart has with a small team of gag writers written America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy. It is a satire, a pasquinade, a hoot at the American polity, a bemanuring of the High and Mighty. Stewart is extremely learned, knowing every nook and cranny of pop culture and most of the undergraduate liberal arts curriculum of Brown University.

This "bemanuring" let's call it, of the web is supposed to be funny. Yet the only parts of Tyrrell's pompous rant that are even remotely funny are the ones that quoted from Stewart's book.

The Forgetting

Hugh Hewitt:
Quick: What do you recall of Bill Clinton's eight SOTUs? He held up a
little card once, and suggested that it was the future of health

And they went long. Very long.

He's right, but then I've already forgot what Bush said last night.


I didn't watch the State of the Union speech last night. I prefer the liberal media filter. I then turn to NRO's the Corner for the gossipy details.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Rock, Hard Place

Pat Buchanan spells out the U.S. dilemma in Iraq. Our presence is both the cause of the terrorist insurgency, and the only thing keeping it from prevailing at the present time.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Cold Hard Truth

John Derbyshire complains about a Levitra commercial coming on during prime time while one of his children was in the room. The cultural conservative in me is sympathetic except for the fact that he was watching the political pornography of The O'Rielly Factor on Fox News which is less suitable for children, or any sentient creature for that matter, than an attractive woman "winking, simpering and sighing, telling us what a great erection her man is getting nowadays, thanks to Levitra."