Sunday, December 31, 2006

Predictions for 2007

Courtesy of Sigmund Carl and Alfred:
In the spirit of the season, we would like to offer up our insightful and correct predictions for 2007:

1) Sex will remain a popular pastime (that is, for everyone but you or your partner).

2) Arab scientists will not be awarded a Nobel Prize [or an olympic medal] in 2007, after losing by a hair to researchers and scientists from 180 other nations. The Arab League is petitioning Stockholm [and the olympic committee] for a new award, Jew Hating. That is the one field in which the Arab world has excelled for decades.

3) Arab world scholars will gather at a conference funded by Mohammed Fayed to declare that Saddam is indeed alive.

4) George Bush will resurrect a high school acting role and appear in a Shakespeare production of Hamlet, as a tree.

5) Not to be outdone, John Kerry will resurrect his high school acting role and appear in a Shakespeare production of Hamlet, reinterpreting the role of Claudius as that of a French, gay, well coiffed, oppressed man who [by the way] served in Vietnam. In this groundbreaking performance, Claudius is shown to love himself more than Gertrude (that bitch).

6) Barack Obama will question why there are so few acting roles written by Shaespeare in medieval times for African American actors. Jesse Jackson will sue.

7) Arnold will not be mistaken as speaking with a British accent.

8) James Brown will cease to ‘feel good.’ In fact, he will cease to feel anything.

9) Dick Cheney will go hunting with an air rifle. Secret Service agents will drop dead ducks from a helicopter.

10) In 2007 Al Gore will try a goatee and monocle. Notwithstanding his efforts, he will again be at a loss as to why he did not secure the Democrat party nomination.

11) Isabella Rossellini will make known her true love, the one dead psychiatrist she finds ‘electrifying.’
Insight and brilliance are wonderful things.

Meanwhile, keep your powder dry and don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Adiós Saddam

It seems that Saddam has now joined the ranks of the "unliving". As evidence we see the image below left as his sentence is carried out by the Iraqi government. The image on the right is a collage containing the photos of a small number (148) of his victims from Dujail.

By Andrew Cochran

"Criminal Saddam was hanged to death" - Iraqi state TV. Saddam Hussein was executed around 10 pm ET (Al Arabiya reports the death at 10:05 ET). Two other Hussein-era officials, including his half-brother, have not yet been executed and remain in U.S. custody, according to Iraqi officials quoted by CNN (edited). The Associated Press has a summary of the convictions and sentences in the Hussein trial.

Saddam Hussein was a longtime state sponsor of terrorism, and during his reign, Iraq was listed by the State Department on the official list of "state sponsors." Iraq was added to that list in 1990 following its invasion of Kuwait and also for providing bases to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), and the Abu Nidal organization (ANO). Following the 2003 liberation of Iraq from Hussein's rule, U.S. sanctions applicable to state sponsors of terrorism against Iraq were suspended, and President Bush announced the removal of Iraq from the list on September 25, 2004.

More details of his ties to terrorists have been developed since the 2003 liberation. Saddam funded Palestinian suicide bombers through an account in Rafidain Bank in Jordan (see chart of the payments released by a U.S. House committee in January 2005 only to this site). He also funded the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines. I discussed other possible ties to Palestinian and other terrorist groups in numerous posts, which are best summarized in one post on November 3 and another on March 31.

The execution will have no impact on the current situation in Iraq, other than being cited as another excuse for more terrorism by Sunni insurgents. But Saddam was a mass murderer and a tyrant. To the best of my knowledge, he was the only ruler in the past 50 years who used chemical weapons on his own people and against another country. In a statement, President Bush noted that Saddam received the fair trial that he denied his victims. You can see a summary of his atrocities on the Fox News site, which reports, "Hundreds of thousands of people died as a result of Saddam's actions." His death is a victory for the rule of law in Iraq and for the civilized world.

Saddam at the gallows (AFP) and compilation of pictures of 148 Iraqis in Dujail executed by Saddam Hussein (Sky News)

Saddam Hussein 1937 2006



Thursday, December 28, 2006

The New Theocracy

For the last several years (during the Bush Administration) we have been treated to a newly coined word in the political lexicon, to wit: Neoconservative (neocon). The word has been used to describe those in both the political arena and society as a whole who have previously adhered to a leftist (liberal?) oriented political philosophy but who have undergone an epiphany of sorts and now support a more conservative political philosophy. These would include ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ who emerged from the "academic" system as a dedicated Marxist but made the political journey through conservativism to libertarianism. Another wag defines "neocon" as a liberal who has been mugged by reality. Examples of this designation would include such bureaucrats as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle and academics such as David Horowitz and Victor Davis Hanson. With the recent capture of the legislative branch of the U.S. government and the distinct possibility of the capture as well of the executive branch in 2008 by the Democratic Party the likelihood of a new political animal assuming power must be addressed. The "Neocoms". They are already deeply entrenched in academia and thus the mainstream media due to the influence of the major journalism schools. It is described by David Horowitz as a religious movement.
The Neo-communist left opposes America’s commitment to freedom and capitalism domestically as well as supporting (sometimes “critically”) America’s declared external enemies not because of what America does, but because of what they think America is. The Neo-communist left is impervious to facts because it is a political messianism, in essence a religious movement. Its delusions of social redemption are fed on a rich diet of anti-American myths. These myths were once generated in institutions funded by the Communist Party and other marginal radical sects. But that has all changed with the long march of the left during the last thirty years through America’s institutions of higher learning. The Neo-communist left is now entrenched on the faculties of America’s elite universities, where it is a “hegemonic” force. It has converted America’s elite universities into a political base for its radical and anti-American agendas. In the present war with radical Islam,[which the Neocoms either ignore or tacitly support] this poses a problem Americans can continue to ignore only at their own peril, and which sooner or later they must address.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bumper Sticker Insanity

The recently implemented McCain Feingold "campaign finance" law has resulted in several absurdities. ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ would recommend that henceforth anyone with a vehicle used in his business refrain from placing any message thereon of a possible political nature.
It seems that perpetual NASCAR also-ran Kirk Shelmerdine used some unbought space on his race car to list the names of two political candidates in the late Summer of 2004, [hint: it was not Kerry Edwards] bringing the power of the Federal government crashing down on this unsuspecting non-voter.

"Notified by a Democratic activist of this nefarious, unreported political activity, and apparently concerned about the possibility that this might corrupt the Bush Administration, the Federal Election Commission went out investigating."
It's a humorous tale, though, albeit a bit of black humor - and also a telling story of where we are in mindless campaign finance regulation that a simple expression of political enthusiasm or business calculation should generate not only an admonishment from the United States Government to one of its citizens, but also four statements of reasons from 6 different commissioners. And it is worth noting that the Commission, in merely sending "admonishment letters," appears to have defied its General Counsel, who, it appears, favored fining these recalcitrants.

It just gets curiouser and curiouser how the First Amendment to the Constitution simply keeps circling the drain.

hat tip Brad Smith at Redstate


Friday, December 22, 2006

NUTS!!! 22 December 1944

62 years ago today the German National Socialist forces surrounding the American defenders of Bastogne in the Ardennes forest ordered the commander of the 101st airborne Division General McAuliff to surrender. General McAuliff's reply "Nuts" was puzzling to the German officers and was explained by Colonel Joseph Harper:
"If you don't understand what 'Nuts!' means," Colonel Joseph Harper explained to his mystified German interlocutors, "in plain English it is the same as 'Go to hell.' And I will tell you something else; if you continue to attack, we will kill every goddamn German that tries to break into this city."

Τhe rest is history. Until of course, it is revised by the defeatists of the 21st century.

Apartheid! Jimmy Carter Call Your Office!!

In his latest screed, the U.S.' (worst) and ex president castigates Israel for supposed "apartheid" policies toward the Arabs residing in the conquered former Jordanian territories of Samaria and Judea. Carter neglects however, to acknowledge true apartheid where it in fact exists.

Back to life from jaws of death in Saudi Arabia

Losing one’s way in Saudi Arabia could mean losing one’s life. Jojo Joseph, 31, a native of Mariyapuram, India stumbled on this great truth on Monday. What saved him from the sword was the timely intervention of the Indian Government.

Jojo, an employee of an electronic firm in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and who had gone to a place near Medina to see his wife Sheeba, a nurse, and their new-born child lost his way and ended up on the road to Medina.

Jojo, who did not know that the road was out of bounds for non muslims during the pilgrimage season, was arrested by the police at Al-Azeez, a place near Medina. The Saudi religious court ordered that Jojo be beheaded at noon (IST) on Tuesday ‘for trespassing into the area.’

Jojo conveyed the news to his family in India who contacted Indian Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy.

Chandy spoke to Jojo on his cellphone who gave him the name of the police station where he was lodged.

At the instance of the Prime Minister’s office, the External Affairs Secretary contacted the Saudi Government and convinced the authorities that Jojo had lost his way and that there was no ulterior motive in moving along the road.

Israel does not even execute convicted murderers and terrorists but is always cited as morally equivalent to adherents of the Religion of Peace™ who target Israeli civilians or execute lost motorists.

hat tip: Thomas Lifson

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Your Papers Please

Recently Mrs. ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ was suffering from a bout of the common cold; the symptoms of which included sinus congestion. In an attempt to be helpful, ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ volunteered to tool on down to the local pharmacy to replenish the supply of Sudafed™ which has heretofore been effective in relieving such symptoms. The aisle containing the cold remedies was emptied of the product, requiring a query of the pharmacist. At this time it was revealed that Sudafed™ is in fact stocked by most drug retailers but as of 30 September 2006 due to provisions of THE PATRIOT ACT is behind the drug counter. I advised the druggist that I wished to purchase a 24 tablet supply and was asked to produce a "drivers license". Somewhat puzzled by the relationship between driving and buying a heretofore mundane cold remedy and furthermore having left my vehicle without the wallet which contained it, I asked if other identification would suffice. The druggist replied: "Let me see what you have." At this time I produced identification supplied to retired law enforcement officers by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs' Department. The identification contains my photograph, physical description and an identifying number. It is accompanied by a badge indicating my rank at retirement. It remains the property of the LASD, must be renewed every 5 years and surrendered on demand. The identification further indicates that ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ is authorized to carry a concealed firearm by the California Penal Code. In 2004 the authorization was extended by Federal Law to include all 50 states and U.S. Territories. The druggist who happened to be a native of Pakistan refused to accept the identification stating that it must be "a government issued document." At this time I walked out of the pharmacy and across the street to a supermarket which included a pharmacy. I made sure to enter the establishment with my driver's license and purchased a 24 tablet package of Sudafed™ after filling out a form containing multiple fields.

The "logic" underlying this nonsense is that the product can be used as one of the ingredients in meth-amphetamine, a recreational drug which our rulers have designated as unlawful. It seems that the U.S. has begun traveling down the same road as Venezuela where common acetone is unobtainable due to its role in producing cocaine. Also in that sad country due to the problem of motorcycles proceeding down the lines of stopped traffic in Caracas with two riders. The rider on the rear of the motorcycle would use a gun to rob the motorists. The government solution: outlaw 2 males riding on a motorcycle even in the countryside. One male, OK. One male one female OK. Two females OK. And people wonder what drove ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ to libertarianism.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Your Aid/Charity $ at Work

Most everyone agrees that charity and humanitarian aid are laudable. Cash is however fungible and can be diverted for other purposes. ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ does on occasion give a modest amount to worthy causes but attempts to be assured that the entire amount is put to the intended use.

WHEN people [and governments] around the world sent millions to help the stricken Indonesian province of Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, few could have imagined that their money would end up subsidising the lashing of women in public.

But militant Islamists have since imposed sharia law in Aceh and have cornered Indonesian government funds to organise a moral vigilante force that harasses women and stages frequent displays of humiliation and state-sanctioned violence.

Audiences throughout the Indonesian archipelago watched the televised flogging of a man convicted of drinking beer. He collapsed after seven of the 40 prescribed strokes and officials said he would receive the remaining 33 when he recovered.

Some say there are more “sharia police” than regular police on the local government payroll

The flow of foreign cash for reconstruction has allowed the government to spend scarce money on a new bureaucracy and religious police to enforce sharia laws, such as the compulsory wearing of headscarves.

This post could have as well been titled "The Road to Hell II".

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Going Going GONE?

Augusto Pinochet , former dictator of Chile died last week and we have been treated to considerable vilification of him in the so called mainstream media .
It seems that about three thousand individuals lost their lives or simply disappeared during and immediately following the Chilean Revolution of Sept 11, 1973. This includes the President, Salvador Allende who was most likely shot by his Cuban bodyguard when he decided to surrender during the attack on his palace on that date What is invariably omitted in the recent data is the fact that due to the actions of Allende in violating the Chilean Constitution and laws while attempting to establish a communist dictatorship in Chile the Chamber of Deputies ordered the Chilean military to remove Allende from office. Pinochet, who happened to be the commander of the armed forces was the one who carried out the order.

After some years as dictator and rescuing Chile's society and economy from socialism by among other things privatizing the government retirement system, he peacefully relinquished power. When Pinochet left office, Chile had the strongest economy in Latin America.

Contrast the above scenario with the history of the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro the Communist dictator for the past 47 years: "Within three months of his entry into Havana, Castro's firing squads had murdered an estimated 600-1,100 men and boys, and Cuba's jails held ten times the number of political prisoners as under Fulgencio Batista, who Castro overthrew with claims to "liberating" Cuba". Cuban citizens to this day require ration books to purchase scarce food while Cuba enjoys the most fertile soil on the planet.

Castro is expected to be joining the ranks of the departed in the not too distant future. It will be interesting to compare the media fawning accolades for this butcher to the treatment they have given to Pinochet.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Enron and the Left

The post-modern left claims that power is more important than reason, and alas, Enron was a power company. Its chairman, Ken Lay, sought political power in Washington rather than focusing on management of his firm. Post modernism claims that social construction defines our perception, and indeed, social perception defined Enron's success which was not real for at least several years before its public demise. Enron rejected reason, much as post-modernism rejects reason, and its managers believed that they could construct a perpetual pyramid scheme based on social belief rather than truth. They were wrong. Enron failed, just as any social scheme that the post-modern left advocates will fail.

Like the New Left, Enron fell because it had no empirical support. The belief in power is not the same as empirically-derived rules of law. Substantive truth will win out over popular delusion, and if popular delusion, the ideas of the left, prevail, then our society will die. Liberalism and the new left avoid rather than address reality.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Modest Proposal?

The current Administration finds itself these days on the horns of a dilemma with regard to the global culture war as it applies to the middle east. One of the alternatives suggested by Diana West is worthy of consideration.

As a culture, the West is paralyzed by the specter of civilian casualties, massive or not, that accompanies modern (not high-tech) warfare, and fights accordingly. It may well have been massive civilian casualties in Germany (40,000 dead in Hamburg after one cataclysmic night of "fire-bombing" in 1943, for example) and Japan that helped end World War II in an Allied victory. But this is a price I doubt any Western power would pay for victory today.
So, the military solution — which isn't the same as boosting ROE (rules of engagement)-cuffed troop levels in Baghdad — is out, unless or until our desperation level rises to some unsupportably manic level. The great paradox of the "war on terror," of course, is that as our capacity and desire to protect civilians in warfare grows, our enemy's capacity and desire to kill civilians as a means of warfare grows also. Our fathers saved us from having to say, "Sieg Heil," but what's next — "Allahu akbar"?
Not necessarily. There's another Middle Eastern strategy to deter expansionist Islam: Get out of the way. Get out of the way of Sunnis and Shi'ites killing each other. As a sectarian conflict more than 1,000 years old, this is not only one fight we didn't start, but it's one we can't end. And why should we? If Iran, the jihad-supporting leader of the Shi'ite world, is being "strangled" by Saudi Arabia, the jihad-supporting leader of the Sunni world, isn't that good for the Sunni-and-Shiite-terrorized West?
With the two main sects of Islam preoccupied with an internecine battle of epic proportions, the non-Muslim world gets some breathing room. And we sure could use it — to plan for the next round.

The major problem with the implementation of such a strategy other than the public relations issue is the temporary dislocation in the distribution of the energy sources of the region. That dislocation, however is likely inevitable in any event.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fear, Madness, Superstition, Religious Fervor, Hungry Gods

The global warmistas are anxious to transport western society back to 19th century technology (except for the "developing" world including heavy emitters such as China and India) by silencing the skeptics of man-caused climate change. They state that a "scientific "consensus" exists and the major cause of climate change is human technological activity. This "consensus" argument reminds ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ of the "consensus" existing several hundred years ago that the universe was geocentric and even threatening such "skeptics" as DaVinci, Copernicus and Galeleo with dire consequences. It will be interesting to observe the debates emerging over the recent discovery that contrary to Einstein, the speed of light (186,000 mi/sec) can be exceeded.
The argument that gravity must travel faster than light goes like this. If its speed limit is that of light, there must be an appreciable delay in its action. By the time the Sun’s “pull” reaches us, the Earth will have “moved on” for another 8.3 minutes (the time of light travel). But by then the Sun’s pull on the Earth will not be in the same straight line as the Earth’s pull on the Sun. The effect of these misaligned forces “would be to double the Earth’s distance from the Sun in 1200 years.” Obviously, this is not happening. The stability of planetary orbits tells us that gravity must propagate much faster than light. Accepting this reasoning, Isaac Newton assumed that the force of gravity must be instantaneous.

Astronomical data support this conclusion. We know, for example, that the Earth accelerates toward a point 20 arc-seconds in front of the visible Sun—that is, toward the true, instantaneous direction of the Sun. Its light comes to us from one direction, its “pull” from a slightly different direction. This implies different propagation speeds for light and gravity.

Wouldn't it be ironic if we reverted to the horse and buggy technology of the 19th century only to learn that the climate on the planet (as well as Mars, where warming is also occurring) is overwhelmingly influenced by the sun's cyclical activity? In other words: "I sacrificed my favorite goat (the technological ability to adapt to natural forces) to the warmista gods only to learn that it was all a scam by the witch doctors (politicians) to increase their power". Two U.S. Senators (Snowe (R) Maine Rockefeller (D) W. Virginia) have issued veiled threats to at least one of those who support the skeptics financially.

hat tip: Kim DuToit


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kumbayah Always Works (Right)

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ hears many on the left clamoring for the U.S. to intervene in Sudan to end the genocide in the Darfur region. Most of these folks are screaming to high heaven protesting the action in Afghanistan to end the state sponsorship of the 9/11 perpetrators and the Iraq action to topple the Baathist government's failure to comply with the cease fire agreement of February 1991, both of which can be defended as legitimate pursuits of national interests. Ralph Peters has an interesting take on the Darfur situation where the U.S. would be hard put to cite having a national interest.
The killing will never stop until we stop pretending that every dictator or junta seizing power is entitled to claim sovereignty over the millions who never had a voice in choosing their government. After the oppression of women, the sovereignty con is the world's greatest human-rights abuse. And for all of its damnable incompetence, the Bush administration understood that one great truth.

Darfur deserves more than self-satisfied words. As does Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Zimbabwe. And Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and so many other "sovereign states."

But if we're ever going to stop the killing, we first have to stop the lying. Especially the lie we tell ourselves about the universal desire for peace: Try telling that one to the Janjaweed militaman raping your wife, burning your house, taking your children into slavery - and cutting your throat.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government laughs at all of us. Khartoum is so confident that the world doesn't give a damn about black Africans that it's recently moved to destabilize neighboring Chad.

The hypocrisy of the intelligentsia, here and in Europe, stinks to the throne of God. No campus seminar ever provoked a cease-fire, and no demonstration ever halted a massacre. Those who are unwilling to fight injustice will ultimately face injustice and a fight.

Where are the European moralists in this tragic saga?


Monday, December 11, 2006

Surprise Surprise...

...that the road to hell is paved with good intentions:
Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programs have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries over the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people suffering stagnating and even declining living standards, according to a report released Thursday by the bank's autonomous assessment arm.

Just like much of Western foreign aid and charitable aid, the 'aid' the World Bank seeks to deliver is not having the desired effect because handouts or policies promoting government largeness do not address the root of the problem of poverty in the world. Poverty exists because poor countries are run by criminals and have large, expansive, and intrusive governments.

Overall, between 1990 and 2002 the percentage of the world's people who subsist on less than one dollar per day declined from 28 percent to 19 percent, according to World Bank research. But officials with the evaluation group noted that much of the advance was registered in China, which has rejected many of the tenets of the development model advocated by the West while relying hardly at all on the largesse of the World Bank.

Want to alleviate poverty? First step, kick the World Bank out of your country.
The second step: "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!" The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good.

hat tip Travis

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mommie May I...NO!!!

First they came for the guns and I was silent as I did not have guns. Next they came for the cigarettes and I was silent because I didn't smoke. When they came for my Big Mac and french fries it was too late.
The New York City' s Board of Health banning, last Tuesday [December 5, 2006], of the use of trans fats in restaurants is a second instance in which the Board shows that it has no compunctions about violating the sanctity of the human mind and its freedom to judge and to choose. What allegedly justifies this behavior by the Board is the mere fact that trans fats have supposedly been scientifically proven to be unhealthy. The freedom of choice of the citizen apparently means nothing to the Board. Like a curt parent controlling the choices of a child and expecting that his “No” will be sufficient, the Board has taken away the power of choice from adult citizens and told them they will no longer be able to obtain food in restaurants that is prepared with trans fats.
The meaning of this is that if something is shown to be bad, nothing else is required to put an end to its consumption: no cognition on the part of the individual consumer, no choice on his part. These count for nothing according to the New York City Board of Health and its alleged experts. They can simply be ignored and brushed aside.
They can have my fish and chips when they pry them "from my cold dead hands".


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Those in the U.S. who decry the power of "big oil" ought to realize that the world's largest privately held corporation, EXXON MOBIL is a dwarf when compared to the government owned and operated oil enterprises. Among the most egregiously inefficient and corrupted such state enterprises is Petroleos De Venezuela S.A. When Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999, he started squeezing even more money out of PDVSA than the previous socialist administrations. He ended its relative autonomy and appointed a number of hostile bosses to impose his authority. In order to purchase political alliances, Chavez' brother, Adan, was appointed to coordinate the company's subsidized oil sales (Venezuelan opponents refer to these transactions as "regaladeras" giveaways) around the Caribbean as ambassador to Cuba. At the strong man's behest CITGO, (the wholly owned subsidiary of PDVSA in the U.S.) allied with such leftist political figures as Robert Kennedy has been engaged in selling heating oil to the "disadvantaged" in the northeast of the United States at a rate well below the cost of production and distribution. This at a time when the "disadvantaged" 35% of the population living in poverty in his own country are suffering from an annual inflation rate of 16 to 34 per cent. Chavez doubtless sees that he can keep his own population under control by intimidation while diverting resources toward advancing socialist and anti yanqui attitudes in the hemisphere. He just this month (Dec 2006) won re election to a third term in an "election" process that could only be approved by Jimmy Carter who never met a collectivist dictator he didn't like. Clearly, Venezuela's oil company no longer operates at arm's length from the government and is becoming more secretive. It has de-registered its refining subsidiary, CITGO, at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and so no longer files any public reports to the organization. PDVSA ceo, Rafael Ramírez, is also the Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Oil.
With Congress routinely placing our own petroleum reserves in Alaska, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific offshore off limits, energy consumers can look forward to being placed further at the mercies of the world's Cleptators.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

VooDoo "science"

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ has made the point in previous posts that environmentalism and specifically those who adhere to the global warming alarmist (warmista) sect are essentially a religious movement for several reasons. Firstly the degree to which human activity contributes to climate change is only a theory and cannot be proved using the scientific method, notwithstanding the assertions of those on either side of the debate. Secondly, it appears that one side in the debate wishes to utilize the power of government duress to silence its opposition by use of the court system as demonstrated by the Attorney General of California considering filing legal action against scientists in that state for questioning that the major cause of climate change is anthropogenic while simultaneously suing US and Japanese auto makers for manufacturing vehicles which emit CO2 gas. This amounts to the establishment of a state religion and It would seem that the warming skeptics are to be treated as blasphemers, forcibly silenced or otherwise punished. Does this ridiculous situation remind anyone of the Islamic governments such as Iran and Saudi Arabia punishing those convicted of violating Koranic law?
Nigel Lawson of the CENTRE FOR POLICY STUDIES in the UK in his recent lecture on THE ECONOMICS AND POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE sees three dangers to society of what he calls the new religion of eco-fundamentalism:
The first is that the governments of Europe, fired in many cases by anti-
Americanism (never underestimate the extent to which distaste for President
Bush has fueled the anti-global warming movement), may get so carried away
by their rhetoric as to impose measures which do serious harm to their
economies. That is a particular danger at the present time in the UK. No
doubt, when the people come to suffer the results they will insist on a change of
policy, or else vote the offending government out of office. But it would be
better to avoid the damage in the first place.

The second, and more fundamental, danger is that the global salvationist
movement is profoundly hostile to capitalism and the market economy. There
are already increasing calls for green protectionism – for the imposition of trade
restrictions against those countries which fail to agree to curb their carbon
dioxide emissions. Given the fact that the only way in which the world’s poor
will ever be able to escape from their poverty is by embracing capitalism and the
global market economy, this is not good news.

But the third danger is even more profound. Today we are very conscious of the
threat we face from the supreme intolerance of Islamic fundamentalism. It
could not be a worse time to abandon our own traditions of reason and
tolerance, and to embrace instead the irrationality and intolerance of ecofundamentalism, where reasoned questioning of its mantras is regarded as a
form of blasphemy. There is no greater threat to the people of this planet than
the retreat from reason we see all around us today.

As for the warmista movement, it shares the identical characteristic with religions in that its dogmas cannot be conclusively proven and thus must be accepted on the basis of FAITH. As it evolves in the US, ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ sees it as in flagrant violation of the Constitution by establishing a state religion.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Adiós Kofi...

...and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Saddam Nostalgia by James Taranto WSJ 12/04/06

In [a] BBC interview, [Kofi] Annan agreed when it was suggested that some Iraqis believe life is worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein's regime.

"I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's [read sunni baathist] life," Annan said. "If I were an average Iraqi [sunni baathist] obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?' . . ."

Iraq today certainly has its problems, here, from the U.S. State Department, is a reminder of what is not going on in Iraq today:

Saddam Hussein is the first world leader in modern times to have brutally used chemical weapons against his own people. His goals were to systematically terrorize and exterminate the Kurdish population in northern Iraq, to silence his critics, and to test the effectiveness of his chemical and biological weapons. Hussein launched chemical attacks against 40 Kurdish villages and thousands of innocent civilians in 1987-88, using them as testing grounds. The worst of these attacks devastated the city of Halabja on March 16, 1988.

5,000 civilians, many of them women, children, and the elderly, died within hours of the attack. 10,000 more were blinded, maimed, disfigured, or otherwise severely and irreversibly debilitated.

And here's a report from PBS of how Saddam responded to the Shiite uprising in 1991:

Saddam's Republican Guard fought the resistance in Karbala. Civilians and rebels fled the city. On the roads leading out, Iraqi army helicopter crews poured kerosene on the refugees, then set them on fire. . . . There were mass executions of civilians, some of whom were tied to tanks and used as human shields. In Karbala, some of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines were destroyed. Others were used as centers for murder, torture and rape. In Najaf, residential areas were bombed, and hospital staff and patients were murdered.

Let's just repeat Annan's description of Iraq under Saddam:

They had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, "Am I going to see my child again?"

Annan isn't just claiming that Saddam, though brutal, made the trains run on time. He is saying that Saddam actually looked out for the safety of the Iraqi people, the very people his regime was gassing, setting ablaze, tying to tanks, torturing and raping. Is Annan just ignorant, or is he depraved? We suppose it could be a little of both.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Health Insurance?

Thomas Szasz has recently written an illuminating article on the concept of "health insurance" here. The following is an excerpt but the entire article is worth reading.
“Health Insurance”: The Illusion of Equality

If health insurance is not insurance, what is it? It is a modern version of the illusion that all men are equal—or, when ill, ought to be treated as if they were equal. When religion was the dominant ideology, death was (supposed to be) the great equalizer: once they departed the living, prince and pauper were equal. Today, when medicine is the dominant ideology, health care is (supposed to be) the great equalizer: everyone’s life is “infinitely precious” and hence deserves the same protection from disease. Of course, prince and pauper did not receive the same burial services, and rich and poor do not receive the same medical services. But people prefer the illusion of equality to the recognition of inequality.

Actually, the ruled have always longed for “universal health care,” and the rulers have always supplied them with a policy that the masses accepted as such a service. In the Middle Ages, universal health care was called Catholicism. In the twentieth century, it was called Communism. In the 21st century, it is called Universal Health Insurance. What we choose to call “health insurance” is, in fact, a system of cost-shifting masquerading as a system of insurance. We treat a public, statist political system of health care as if it were a system of private health insurance purchased for the purpose of obtaining private medical care.

Everyone knows but no one admits that health insurance is not really insurance. In fact, Americans now view their health insurance as an open-ended entitlement for reimbursement for virtually any expense that may be categorized as “health care,” such as the cost of birth-control pills or Viagra. The cost of these services is covered on the same basis as the cost of medical catastrophes, such as treatment for the consequences of a brain tumor. Such distorted incentives produce the perverted outcomes with which we are all too familiar.

From a public-health point of view, the state of our health is partly, and often largely, in our own hands and is our own responsibility, even if we have a chronic illness, such as arthritis or diabetes. It is an immoral and impractical endeavor to try to reject that responsibility and place the burden for the consequences on others.

Thomas Szasz


Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Unfolding Tragedy

The words of Thomas Paine come to mind when witnessing the tragedy that is unfolding in Venezuela: "These are the times that try men's souls". It is difficult to convey the sense of loss felt by Venezuelans as they see the last vestiges of democracy slipping from their grasp. Today, Saturday, the supermarkets in that country are packed with citizens who fear the chaos that may follow tomorrow's election. The following is a translation by Guillermo from Venepoetics of a recent article of Milagros Socorro from last Thursday. It was by the way quite a literary piece that was very hard to translate, and even harder to convey all the brilliant flavor and lyricism of the piece. At any rate, this is it, enjoy and reflect about the message that comes with this piece.
We Are Going to Write It. Milagros Socorro Out of habit, almost as a way to focus my mind on something that isn’t this knot in my chest, I ask myself what the international observers and foreign journalists might think when they hear Chavez vociferate in a public square that the results of December 3rd are already written. I give myself over to this exercise because anger is more bearable than the sensation that our destiny hangs from a thread, from the result of two candidacies that not only express opposite ways of leading the country, but which at this hour are perceived as equal in their chances of winning…or retaining power, to the disgrace of the Republic. I reread the account of Chavez’s speech on Bolivar Avenue and I strain to guess what interpretation the distinguished visitors might make of a declaration that draws such a precise portrait of the man who speaks and who so blatantly shows his determination to unravel the electoral ritual, to finish demolishing the scant confidence voters have in the CNE and of reinforcing his reputation as an autocrat skilled at the manipulation of the vote. These years have taught us a great deal. We have learned, for example, that the observer’s job consists in practicing only half of the definition of the verb observe; in other words, to “Examine attentively,” as the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy says, which adds: “To observe the symptoms of a sickness. To look with attention and caution, to watch.” But they are careful to stop themselves from applying the other half of the word’s meaning, which implies: “To guard and accomplish exactly what is told and ordered. To warn, to repair.” Duplicitously, they see of course, but they don’t speak out. And they become accomplices. AS FOR THE FOREIGN PRESS, WE’VE ALSO LEARNED THAT IN GOOD MEASURE IT’S MADE UP OF EXPEDITIONARIES searching for the route to the thrift shop of illusions that Venezuela has become. Many of the journalists who come here from other countries do so with the intention of confirming in this junk heap of utopias that there still exist heroes in the world midway between universal folklore and revolutionary insanity. And nothing else matters to them as long as they can take away a souvenir of the memory, with an article under their name that will draw a picture of the last dinosaur, an embalmed head for the museum of Third World-ism. If they haven’t had the sensibility and even compassion to see and name Cuba’s tragedy, what can we expect, we who in our oil profits have a safeguard that will protect us from exhibiting the shame of misery and slavery, like the island does. When we were thrown into this historical ditch I had many expectations about the international sense of responsibility and, even more, in the sensible nature of the foreign press, and what I took for granted, their disbelief in front of a lieutenant colonel who evidently intended to create the illusion of a revolution in order to camouflage a military and authoritarian regime so inefficient that we would have to make up another word to allude to its destructive botched job. It didn’t take long for me to understand Venezuela’s great solitude. Very soon, I would confirm that frivolity is the force that moves the world and that part of it is very contented with an action movie in which the dead, the backwardness and the demolition derby of democratic values are paid by others, preferably idiots of underdevelopment. IT’S NOT THAT IT DOESN’T HURT. IT HURTS, IT MAKES ONE DESPERATE AND IT ENRAGES ONE TO SEE THE LACK OF RECIPROCITY TOWARDS VENEZUELA, the democratic country that avoided so many deaths in Central America, that contributed so much to a democratic transition in Spain, that sheltered and gave work to so many exiles from the Southern Cone and, in the end, that received so many immigrants, so as to add them, like offspring which to our benefit they became, to the democratic aspiration the Republic has housed almost since its foundation. That gift we gave to the world—and which we are always proud of—has not been matched in the same measure, which degrades those who received it and who now look elsewhere so as to not see the terrible trials that flutter over us. If yesterday they took the treasure of peace and democratic coexistence, now they pretend to not notice, so as to not lose their portion of the contracts without bidding or dollar donations the autocrat hands out for the sole purpose of exchanging them for consciences, for silence, for connivance with his crimes, when not for applause and insults against Venezuela’s opposition and free press. Because we’ve had to swallow even that: the arrogant irruption of politicians and intellectuals of all sorts who come to our house to call us coup-plotters (a category that fits the satrap of ’92) and to put Venezuelan journalism, which has used words against weapons, ideas against all-encompassing power, journalists against soldiers, on trial; and whose excesses, which I don’t deny and which don’t cram the salon of my honors, have always obeyed the determination to stand up to a nefarious, authoritarian and thieving government, but never the mellifluous intention of adulating it or outlining versions to justify its abuses and its openly criminal actions. CHAVEZ’S SCANDALOUS VISION ANNOUNCING THAT THE RESULTS OF 3D ARE ALREADY WRITTEN WON’T MEAN ANYTHING TO OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GUESTS, as it’s safe to say neither will the devastating image of a woman nailed to a tree like a type of Christ in the age of Bill Gates, who arrives at martyrdom dragged by a promise of housing that hasn’t been honored and to see if that self immolation will improve the odds of her outcry in a country where words have been the object of hyperinflation and are no longer worth anything. Only the suffering body manages to babble any content. But it does have a great deal to say to us. Everything. Because any Venezuelan, no matter how young he might be, has enough of a civic tradition behind him to know that a true democrat would never express himself in that manner. A manner that carries in its belly the braggart who threatens us with fixing electoral results to his whim and convenience. We can’t turn a blind eye to Chavez’s announcement that if he wins the elections, there will be no room here for any project other than the Bolivarian revolution, which is the equivalent of saying there will be neither space nor Homeland for the millions of Venezuelans who are radically opposed to that project. What is he going to do with us? Will he drag us from our homes? Will he round us up into concentration camps? Will he kill us? That will be the only way to reduce us, because Chavez must know that we democratic Venezuelans are unbeatable. There is no threat or danger against our integrity and lives that will make us step back from our commitment to impeding the dismantling of the nation and the confiscation of our liberties. We know—and whoever doesn’t know by now should wake up—that 3D will be written by the democratic nation, the one that isn’t scared by the boasting of a loser who fears everything except ridiculousness. And that the calligraphy of 3D will be monumental because each opposition vote will be made for the good of Venezuela and, moreover, for the freedom of Cuba, which will move closer to democracy in the measure its regime loses the support of our backyard’s legal dictator; as well as the reinforcement of Mexican democracy and the peace of Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Facing that, there can’t be any fear but only a febrile, crazy, overflowing courage that will surprise the felon and disarm him with the irrefutable, roaring, liberating and replenishing gesture of Venezuelan civic-mindedness.

As usual, the tyrant has dissarmed the people except for the hundreds of thousands of new Kalishikov automatic rifles recently bought from Russia and Spain to be supplied to his followers and the Army. The references to 3D are for 03 December. Doubtless, Jimmy Carter will be attending the event to affix his seal of approval to his lengthening list of "fair" (but stolen) elections. I do not know if Milagros Socorro is a pen name. Translated it means: "Help! Miracles".