Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Shooting of JFK

My wife and I were watching the ABC special on the JFK assassination. I have absolutely no patience for the JFK conspiracy theorists. No matter how much proof they are shown, no matter how much you show that the myths of the theorists are wrong, they still believe. It is like a religion.

The myths really get to me. Oswald was a very good shot, yet we hear that in the Marines, he was an awful shot. He was a communist, yet he is somehow tied to the "military industrial complex." He tried to assassinate a retired general (and right-wing political figure) yet he is portrayed as a patsy who could not have planned the attack.

So, why do people believe the conspiracy? First off, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, people believed that it was a communist plot. My parents used to believe that. So the idea that it was a conspiracy was planted in peoples' minds.

Then came Oliver Stone. The movie JFK is a fine piece of movie making, but as a scientific documentary, it is a failure. Then there was the last minute evidence brought forth at the House Committee hearings in the 1970s. That evidence was later discredited, but many still place faith in it.

And then there is people longing for certainty, the idea that the world is not random and chaotic but ordered. It is the same reason many believe that the CIA knew about 9/11 or that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor. People want to believe there is an invisible hand behind all events -- even if it is a malevolent hand.

Maybe it is my Catholic upbringing, but I believe in free will and that people shape events, sometimes randomly.

Anyway, as my wife said, if a certifiable nut like John Hinckley could get at Reagan and almost succeed (or the assassins of McKinley or Garfield for that matter), why could not a committed though troubled man like Oswald get at Kennedy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

London Calling

It is telling that the people showing up to protest resident Bush in London came no where near the throng that came to protest the rural hunting ban, a few short weeks ago. Now it is possible that a huge throng will show up tomorrow. In fact, I think it likely, given the almost pleading nature of the BBC.

One other thing. Why is it that no matter how small a leftist protest is, it always seems to involve some damage to property (I mean, dying the fountains red?)

Yet a march of hunters and rural folk, people who feel that a centuries old way of life is in danger and who have access to guns, who are supposedly less civilized than the left, can have a huge march and . . .no violence, nothing.

Why is that?

{edited to note that the 100,000 showed up today, and were peaceful}

Saturday, November 15, 2003

We finally set a date

The US has set a date of June to hand over administration of Iraq to a new government.

I know the way the left, the Euros, Ted Rall and Michael Moore will spin this -- the US is admitting defeat and cutting and running.

But as I recall, we never meant to stay in Iraq forever. From day one, even before, the whole idea was to get rid of Hussein and set up a new Iraqi government. Without setting a date, the Iraqi National Council will simply dither and argue amongst themselves, we will continue to amble along and things will not reach a conclusion.

So I say screw the left, the Euros, Ted Rall and Michael Moore (though I really cannot figure out who would want to screw Michael Moore). Let's get a government in place and let the Iraqis know that (1) Hussein is not coming back and (2) we are not their as conquerors.

Interesting to me is that those same people are very quiet about the fact that after 4 years of European and U.N. control, Kosovo still does not have self government. And in Kosovo, you do not have the ethnic and religious tensions that you have in Iraq.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Poster Child for the Estate Tax

I admit, I had no idea who Paris Hilton was until yesterday. She is proof that intelligence and money are not mutually inclusive. The escapades of wealthy idiots like Ms. Hilton have really made me rethink my opposition to the estate tax.

I supported repeal because I felt (and still do) that it is more a trap for the unwary -- for the "accidental millionaire" who built a small business and some real estate into a small fortune.

Of course, folks like the Hiltons pay enough lawyers to avoid the estate tax, but something needs to be done to keep people like this off the streets and into an activity, that provides some benefit for society.

How about universal military service, but only for trust fund kids.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Hot Gnocchi on a Cold Night

Gnocchi are my favorite pasta. So supple, so tasty, and they hold the sauce so well.

On a cold night, there is nothing better. They go down so smooth, still warm, and they stay warm in your stomach. Just the thing to ward off a November chill.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

The Bombing in Saudi Arabia

The Saudis are in effect having a civil war for some time. But they have always been able to export it. You have some young hot heads talking too much? Tell them they need to go to Yemen to fight the godless Nasserites.

You have some extremely religious, unemployed men? Tell them they need to go to Afghanistan to fight the infidel.

You have a cleric who is calling for a return to true Islamic values? Set them up in a mosque in the Sudan or Central Asia or Dallas and get them out of the Kingdom.

After 9/11, they no longer have that option and now find their extremists stay home and fight their wars. I fear we will see more of this now than less.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

What Year is It??

Lately, I have seen a lot of articles and blogs analogizing this war to World War Two. People have pointed out the old articles from 1946 discussing how we “botched” the occupation of Germany (though, given that our troops are still there, I guess it is a quagmire). Some people argue that the analogy is not 1946 but 1943 (after Torch or the invasion of Italy) or 1953 (after Korea)

I found the comments on the war and the correct analogy is interesting. Yes, I have used the analogy of WWII. Right after the Trade Center, when friends (and my father, the Korean War veteran) were despairing about when we would strike back, I noted in WWII, we did not win a battle (other than the rather narrow victory at Coral Sea) until Midway, 6 months after the attack, and even that was a defensive battle. When in the early days of the Iraq invasion those same people were despairing about the press and its "quagmire" calls, I compared the movement of our troops to Patton's breakout from Normandy or the crossing of the Rhine.

But I think the best analogy for today is the Civil War. At the outset, the north was fairly united in its determination to crush the rebellion. Then things changed. You always had a large portion of the northern population who actively opposed Lincoln.

You had the Copperheads who were willing to allow Southern independence in return for an end to the war. They believed that Lincoln was setting up a dictatorship, and was taking away the rights of the anti-war types. If you think what the Left today says about Ashcroft is bad, read what their spiritual ancestors said about Seward.

You had the War Democrats, who wanted to fight the war, but who felt that Lincoln’s strategies were wrong.

You had the Republicans, who wanted to fight the war, and Radicals who wanted to remake southern society.

The public reacted much like today also. After victories, there was relief. After defeat, there was often an outcry against Lincoln. There were concerns about quagmires (though they did not use the word back then).

Again, analogies can be taken too far. Dean is not Vallandigham, Bush is not Lincoln, and Clark is not McClellan. But I think the Civil War is the better analogy.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Remember the Gulag?

I recently began reading Annie Applebaums “Gulag: A History” which sets forth the history of the Soviet Gulag system. So far, a very depressing account.

Ms. Applebaum said that she was inspired to write the book due to an incident in Prague, soon after the liberation of that city form communism. She noted that western tourists were purchasing the pins and medals of the Soviet regime and wearing them. She thought this strange, would an American tourist in Germany buy a Nazi medal and wear it around. She concluded that the Nazi system aroused revulsion while the Soviet system aroused humor.

So why is this? I think there are four reasons for the difference.

1. Stopping fascism required the combined efforts of most of the major nations of the world. The US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Brazil, and so on, had to fight a horrific war.

Communism was stopped basically by letting it rot itself out. The wars fought either were small (like Korea, but do not tell that to my dad who was there) or fought through proxies (like in Central America or Afghanistan). So whereas Nazism is remembered in the west for the fear and defeats it caused, Communism is not.

2. Communism was an outgrowth of European humanism and the Enlightenment, the Nazi version of fascism was a rejection of those beliefs. For this reason, there were and are more sympathizers for communism than nazism.

3. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot are guilty of crimes equal to Hitler's. But Stalin had a Khrushchev, Mao a Deng, and Pol Pot a Sihanouk, to admit those crimes. No one denies that the gulag, Cultural Revolution, or killing fields took place. Fascists today continue to deny that the Holocaust took place.

4. The Holocaust happened in Europe. Many Americans still look to Europe as the apex of civilized values. So the fact that it occurred there (and in Germany, where the Jews were most integrated into society) is extremely shocking.

Moore Fraud

And I do not mean another Enron. I am referring to Michael Moore. The toast of the world wide left, Moore positions himself as the spokesperson for tea "common American." Funny thing is, the only people who seem to notice him are champagne socialists such as himself and the usual anti-globalist types that show up, unwashed, as every IMF meeting.

At last, though, more folks are catching on. He talks about solidarity of the working class while using Time Warner's private jet and SUVs to shepard him around to events. I wonder how the champagne is on those flights. And as a shareholder of Time Warner, how much is it hurting my shareprice?

George Galloway would approve.

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