Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The More The Merrier?
A French government minister is now blaming the practice of polygamy for at least a portion of the social unrest in France. Here is a story from the Financial Times of London:

I found some of the minster's explanations and excuses to be somewhat interesting from the standpoint of how the French government collectively thinks. o begin with, there's this:

"GĂ©rard Larcher said multiple marriages among immigrants was one reason for the racial discrimination which ethnic minorities faced in the job market. Overly large polygamous families sometimes led to anti-social behaviour among youths who lacked a father figure, making employers wary of hiring ethnic minorities, he explained."

A liberal making a conservative argument? Who woulda thunk it? Somehow the traditional nuclear family, which has been pooh-poohed in Europe and the United States for some time now, might be a solution to some of France's internal problems? Why, that's bold and original thinking (note: sarcasm)! Could it be that in the face of a demographic time bomb, with a lit fuse, the "secular" hedonists of Europe have finally begun to admit that they might have been wrong?
Traditional families and values leading to domestic tranquility; somehow a novel concept in Europe, now to be rediscovered.

"Polygamy is a taboo subject for most mainstream French politicians. Far-right groups, however, have seized on it to argue that immigrants abuse the French social security system by collecting state benefits for several wives."

Well, when you give people a way to game the system, they will usually take advantage of it. They'll certainly take advantage of it when you don't want to be seen as insensitive in applying the law equally. The refusal to apply one standard of behavior or one set of rules in favor of being "culturally sensitive" always has consequences. In this case, the consequence is that you encourage fraud and illegal immigration. There's a lesson here for America.

"But Mr Larcher said France was so traumatised by the Vichy government’s expulsion of French Jews to German concentration camps during the second world war that it still found it unpalatable to allow information to be collected on people’s ethnic origins."

Yep, nothing like invoking the Nazi experience. France is still a victim of the Germans: we're so "traumatized" that we don't even take a census. This is not exactly the same situation. French Muslims and North Africans are not being shipped to gas chambers, nor is that prospect looming on the horizon. The French government merely neglected one of the first duties all governments have: finding out who is in the country and where they are. The French did not do so, probably because, again, political correctness intervened.

"He acknowledged that the unemployment rate among young people in France was twice the national average, but said other European countries faced similar problems. He also pointed the finger at the US, where he said the unemployment rate among blacks aged 16-19 was twice that of their white counterparts. "

Attempted moral equivalency? How dare you, Monseuir Cheese-Eater! There's a major difference: our unemployed youth could have jobs, if they wanted them. All they'd have to do is seek out the nearest fast-food restaurant or shopping center, where minimum wage jobs abound. Granted, they are not the best jobs o nthe planet, but there are not many 16 year olds who have mortgages to pay and children in Ivy League schools. French youth, on the other hand, particularly if they are not of the ruling race (i.e. White) couldn't get a job selling their vital organs due to the racism, bureaucratic red tape and depressed economy under which they must live. Much of the blame for creating these conditions rests squarely on the shoulders of the French governing elite.

France must undergo change. And much of it will be painful and heart-wrenching. The decisions that will need to be made will be enormously difficult. They will not be made any easier when you continue to avoid the truth. The truth, in this case, is that France (and much of Europe) has imported a major problem that it is afraid to deal with because of the obvious risks inhereant in the solutions; one risk is that of racial civil war, the other is of concilliation with those that will eventually outnumber you and assume control of your institutions, legally and from within.

I'm beginning to suspect that the French people, at least, are beginning to tilt towards solution number one, while the French government tries frantically to avoid it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bush Strikes Back...
A nifty little commercial about to air in heavy rotation has he democrats all up in arms about Saddam Hussein and his WMD, complete with their belief that Saddam needed to go,and their belief in the "false intelligence" George Bush used to "lie" them into war. You can see this masterpiece of truth at:

This link is firefox friendly.

Get ready to see a whole lot more of this as democrats shove the "Bush lied" stuff in order to win in 2006 midterms and position themselves for 2008. I find it noteworthy that four of the biggest "stars" on this thing (Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, Evan Bayh and Joe Biden) have all either announced an intention to seek the 2008 nomination or are considered frontrunners. This will hang around their necks --- big time.

Also expect a maelstrom of whining, crying and prevaricating about how this ad is somehow "unfair", "misleading", "taken out of context", etc, by the people who got tarnished by it.
And Speaking of Liars...
A recent poll shows that 12 out of every 3 Americans (or some other astronomically improbable number, after all, the poll was conducted by someone with an agenda) now has serious reason to doubt the veracity of one George Walker Bush. I believe the number of people who consider GW a lying sack of scattalogical matter is about 70% or so. I'm not totally sure, but as far as I can tell, the poll restricted it's scope as to whether or not the President lied about anything and everything related to the War in Iraq, the leadup to the war or the reasons for going to war.

This issue is a hot-button item for democrats (small "d" intentional), who for lack of anything better to say or do, have now taken to hopping up and down on one foot, yelling oooh-ooh, like little schoolboys bursting for a pee.

The whole issue of "did the President lie to us about Iraqi WMD's" is, of course, the fallout from the whole sordid Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson affair, which, for those of you living in caves (that means YOU, Mr. Usama BinHidin'), runs something like this:

Valerie Plame works for the CIA. Has for a very long time. It has not been a very carefully guarded secret on the Wshington Beltway cocktail circuit. Miz Plame has a husband, one Joe Wilson, career diplomat and bon-vivant, who couldn't have found gainful employment without the State Department, and who somehow (no one knows how) was enlisted by the CIA (no one knows why) to "investigate" claims that Iraq sought "yellowcake" uranium on the international market in Africa in the 1990's or something. Mr. Wilson met with his "contacts from his diplomatic days" and his "commercial contacts" and came to the conclusion that Saddam and Co. did not attempt to buy yellowcake from Niger whenever it was they are alleged to have done so.

Wilson became a celebrity when his "thorough report" was trotted out in support of John Kerry's presidential bid. Here, accoding to the conventional democratic wisdom, was a man who was infinitely qualified to comment and report on Iraq's attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

Except that he isn't. His wife is the weapons expert, and she never set foot in Africa to investigate these claims. Wilson's account, lovingly related in his book, tells all about his cordial meetings with representatives of Africa's governments and their commercial people, over mint tea, of course. Just about every Wilson interview with his contacts went something like this:

"Iraq? Yellowcake? You must be joking. Iraq never tried to buy uranium here , my friend, but you didn't hear it from me. In fact, there is no yellowcake here. A figment of someone's imagination, I suppose. Id' be shocked, shocked, if our otherwise-trustworthy-third-world shithole-African-government-types hopped into bed with a brutal dictator."

Yep. That's the people I'd go to for the truth. Diplomats. African ones, at that.

So anyway, Wilson comes home, reports there is nothing to see here, and then violates security to write a book on the whole thing, making the CNN and Oprah circuit and the whole nine yards.

The Robert Novak, a conservative columnist, somehow or other, mentions Valerie Plame, the not-so-covert-CIA agent in an article critical of Joe Wilson, and all hell breaks loose. Who revealed the name of a CIA agent to a reporter? How many reporters? How high does this go? blah, blah, blah, blah,blah.

Somehow, the Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney is fingered as the source and the speculation is that he revealed Plame's identity to Novak, and Newsweek, and the New York Times, in an effort to shut her husband up prior to the election (Someone in the Vice President's office, Scooter Libby, violated security to identify a covert agent! How terrible! In the meantime, her husband is violating security bragging about his trip and report and dragging her int o the liight of day as he does it. Talk about double standards!) Didn't matter, as Wilson was squarely in Kerry's camp, and Kerry paid him as an advisor and financially supported Wilson's website right through the election, while Wilson was held up by democrats as the very symbol of GW Bush's problem with the truth vis-a-vis WMD.

So, anyway, this has now been blown up to epic proportions and the new democractic mantra is that "Bush is a liar", which is at least catchier than the old democratic mantra, "Bush is an idiot."

But I find it amazing, and quite amusing, to note from which quarters the "liar, liar, pants on fire" rhetoric is coming:

John Kerry - who lied about everything connected to his four months of running around Vietnam collecting self-inflicted gunshot wounds so he could be shipped home.

Teddy Kennedy - who lied about killing a woman by leaving her to drown in his car after a drunk driving accient.

Joe Biden - who is a proven prevaricator and plagerizer.

Chuck Schumer - who couldn't tell the truth if you strapped electrodes to what passes for his testicles. Schumer is a notorious exagerator, provided there's a television camera somewhere in the vicinity t exagerat to.

Bill/Hillary Clinton - need I say more? I guess it depends on what the definition of "lie" is.

Jimmy Carter - notorious traitor and certifier of third-world pisspot elections in which ballots are filled in under the barrel of a gun, but somehow magically cleansed by his imprimitur.

Robert W. Byrd - former Klansman and defender of civil rights, who it seems has been senator from West Virgina ever since there was a West Virginia.

John Edwards - a lawyer, former Senator from North Carolina and John Kerry's water boy in 2004. That says it all. Yep, when I need to identify a liar, I always trust the word of a lawyer.

This is just the A-list.

As far as I can recall, the intelligence regarding Iraqi WMD's was pretty clear, if only later proven incorrect. It was such a common belief that Iraq had the capability of producing a nuc that every Western European intelligence agency all agreed with the CIA's estimate (not Wilson/Plame, the real CIA). In other words, everyone was fooled.

But of course, there were other reasons given for the invasion of Iraq: Saddam Hussein had to go, it was US policy thatthe Iraqi regime should be changed (by force, if necessary) since 1998 (Teddy, Johnny, Robby, and Joey all voted for that resolution, by the way). We won't even get into the terms of the Armistice which ended the First Gulf War (repeatedly violated by Saddam) and 17 U.N. Resolutions concerning Iraq's conduct, sanctions and weapons programs.

Then there was the 64 pages in the 9/11 Commission Report which detailed Iraqi contacts with Al-Qeada and other terrorist networks, the training camps within Iraq, etc.

What's being done here is that the entire case for going to war is being chucked, or conveniently forgotten, to advance the premise that Bush lied about WMD's and that this "lie" negates the rest of the argument, and thus, the justification for war. But this is a tricky thing to do: after all, the intelligence was dead wrong. If a president makes a decision based on bad information that isn't proven bad until after the fact, did he actually lie?

The answer, of course, is no. Only democrats want you to believe otherwise. They also want to be in that wonderful, fabulous position we'd all love to be in, which is the position in which you can have your cake and eat it too. Democratic support for the Iraq war was pure political opportunism --- many democrats paid for their "No War" vote in 1991 with the loss of their office in 1994 --- and no democrat was going to make the same mistake this time around. The majority of them voted to go to war in 2002. Which is too bad from the perspective of what it has cost them: the rabid fringes of their own party has savaged them terribly and there exists a true possibility of a split on the far left of the party. The same far left that punked out on Al Gore in favor of Ralph Nader and gave Bush the election in 2000. They now want to, on the one hand, justify their "YES" vote on the war to the "moderates" (Reagan Democrats, who actually think like republicans) in the party, and at the same time explain why they couldn't cast a "NO" vote to their rabid dogs.

It's all so simple: Bush lied to us! Had WE been in charge or had WE known he was lying, this would never have happened! They expect you to believe that they are that dumb to be tricked into something like this by a man thay have called an idiot for five years. What does that say about them?

Don't buy it. Anyone who believes this nonsense would also be willing to take the word of a corrupt African diplomat on a nuclear non-proliferation.
Okay, So I Lied...
Not half an hour after I posted that I was pretty lazy and therefore had not made any signifigant improvements to this site, I went ahead and did so. I shamed myself into it. I felt so weak and slimy, like a French minister at a convention of Catholics, that I figured the best thing to do was to take a bath in the waters of productivity.

So, we now have new features on this site:

To begin with, we now have a link bar (lower right), where you too can go to get the seriously brain-warping news, information, and tidbits of mental flotsam, at the same locations I get them. If there is any problem with a link, please let me know so that I can fix it. You'll probably notice that I'm HTML challenged as well, but I think I muddled through. I have wide-ranging web tastes, and the bar will be updated from time to time with newer sites, as I find them. You will note that these sites have a certain political/cultural/intelligent flare to them, and I like to keep it that way. It's my site, after all. But, I think you will agree that there is a variety of opinions to be found, even if most of them lean right. Should I find any leftist site that is not completely full of crap or venom, I will make an effort to list it.

Next, we have a feature that I''m both interested in and dreading: you may now post comments on my posts. If you post, please keep it clean. Or relatively so anyway. Even better, make it relevant and intelligent. Personal attacks will be answered by way of a small group of armed men, with surnames ending in vowels, who have extensive experience in "making people disappear" (just kidding). I don't mind being called an idiot or even slightly cursed at, provided you can otherwise make your case intelligently, but threats of bodily harm, etc, will merely get you reported to the authorities. Kapische?

Well, all three of you who actually read this thing can now have a little more fun and interract with the Chief Inmate here at the Asylum.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Some Thoughts on PodCasting...
The process of PodCasting this screed was recently touched upon by a friend of mine. I am reluctant to do so for several reasons. The begin with, this site started as a place where I might vent my caustic spleen without acually hurting anyone. It was therapy for me. In that sense, what I write here is somewhat personal.

Secondly, I'm not sure just how many people actually drop in here. I do not track visits to this site, because a) Blogger charges for this service and b) I really could care less and c) probably 3/4 of the hits would be me reading what I've written because I'm a rotten editor and make corrections to spelling and such after the fact. I'm lazy. This also explains why, despite a genuine desire to do so at some unspecified date, I will/might/could/just-as-well-should-have/am planning to/did plan to/actually started the process of adding links to other websites that I also frequently visit. Procrastination seems to be my major talent.

And finally, and this is the embarrassing part, I'm not quite sure what PodCasting is. I will assume, stating the obvious, that it has something to do with the iPod, which I gather is a nifty little gadget that allows you to take little pieces of your PC with you wherever you go. A sort of mini-operating system on the go. I've spent twenty years of my life working in the technology field (computer operator, Data Center Manager, Systems Programmer) without being quite so "up" on the technology thing. It was simply my job and I made an effort to know just what I needed to and damn all the rest.

But it is an intriguing idea in some respects.

After all, what is the point of pontificating if there is no one to pontificate to? From the standpoint of Ego, it would be interesting to know how many people agree with me, and to satisfy the Id, how many disagree and why. Perhaps in that exchange of ideas, I could learn a thing or two.

So, in the interests of intellectual curiosity (and let's face it, commercial possibilities), I would like to have the few of you who do read this regularly, and those who might just be passing through, to drop me a mail and let me know what you think. Here is the address to send it to:

Your comments and suggestions on how to improve this site would be most welcome!

Just What the Doctor Ordered...
In keeping with our medical meme, here is an explanation of Bush hatred (Or Bush Derangement Syndrome, as described by Charles Krauthammer) by a real psychiatrist:

Decide for yourself.
Another Reason to Question "Medical Breakthroughs"...
Among thetypically useless thoughts that sometimes cross the empty space between my ears is the nature and results of scientific research. Particularly when it comes to that oft repeated and never-satisfactorily-answered question: "Why haven't 'they' found a cure for ________?"

'They', of course, is the nameless, faceless, unidentifiable cabal that somehow knows all, sees all and is merely holding every potential boon to mankind in a closet someplace in Peoria, under orders from the Illuminati , the Rothchilds, Opus Dei, and the Council on Foreign Relations. But I digress...

Now I do not mean to imply that I have the kind of mind that is scientifically sharp, or which understands all the witchcraft involved in organic chemistry, genetics, genone manipulation, mutation and the Grand Theory of Yahtze. I don't. If you asked me what I thought scientists do all day, I'd tell you they probably surf the net and occasionally mix up gunk in a laboratory that eventually becomes "this year's HOTTEST Christmas Gift Item!!!"

I'm certain that this is, of course, a fallacy (sniff, sniff. Smell that? That was sarcasm). Asking me for a scientific opinion on anything would be like asking your bowling instructor to explain the Theory of Gramscian Socialism. In other words, chances are he would probably know slightly more about that subject than I would about anything scientific.

That having been said, I get to the purpose of this little screed.

My eyes and ears were assaulted (yes, that is the correct word) by a local TV news report this evening concerning the combination of some gunk with some other foreign substance usually used to kill household pests (I think, I'm not up on this scientific mumbo-jumbo, but I believe it was a mixture of glucosomine and Tylenol) into a "combination therapy" that seems to help people with rheumatoid arthrititis deal with the pain associated with the disease. The one (that's one) patient they interviewed on this subject actually uses this therapy and claims it works for her. The one (that's one) doctor they interviewed stated that while it seems to work for her patient (the one they interviewed), no one seems to know just why.

The implication, of course, is that the doctor is prescribing a therapy involving the combination of drugs to her patient because her symptoms are relieved, but no one knows why it works or what it might do to her. It seems to me that the doctor, at a loss for something else to do, has abrogated her responsibility to her patient by allowing her to engage in a therapy that has little or no scientific foundation. The idea is simply that "it works" and that's all there is to it. Now the poor woman can stop bothering me every 15 minutes for a new prescription or bitching about her pain.

The reporter who covered this story (himself a doctor) did in fact bring up the question as to whether this therapy actually worked or merely acted as a placebo, but declined to follow up. He got a "this is not a placebo, it works!" from the patient and that was the end of it. He finished up by beseeching viewers to check with their physician before begining this therapy on their own.

Not exactly the best in-depth reporting of what might be a medical breakthrough (that word has lost it's meaning in an age when Viagra is been described in the same terms), and let's face it; the doctor had approximately 5 minutes of airtime, tops, in which to get the story out. However, the seemingly lackadaisical attitde of the attending physician, and the "Thank You Lord, Jesus Christ, I can walk!" gushing of the patient led me to ask a question:

Is it just me or is there something wrong here?

Which lead to my next question:

Why are they reporting as a breakthrough something that most people would normally do anyway, which is take Tylenol (or aspirin) for joint pain?

Which sorta-kinda steered me to another question, which, coincidentally, is where I began:

"Why haven't 'they' found a cure for ______?"

The simple answer is: because no one wants to find a cure, that's why. There is simply too much money at stake involved in research, marketing and press releases. Finding a cure for "X" is probably the greatest job in the world; you don't need to show results, and every so often you can trot out a press release that indicates that something that already exists or which will soon be made available, does something with regards to the disease in question.

Have high cholesterol? Eat oatmeal. Or better yet, take this little pill that costs $20 a pop. No, we have no cure for high cholesterol, but we can control it, and we'll keep on controlling it until we find something else to get rich on. But in the meantime, give to the American Heart Association so that we can continue this "vital research".

Have diabetes? We know what causes it and while we can manipulate genes so that a sheep can give birth to a chimpanzee, we can't figure out how to do anything to you that might fix this problem. Here, take insulin two or three times a day and buy all the paraphrenalia associated with blood testing: meters, monitors, lancets, gauze, band-aids and syringes. And don't forget to pop your spare change into that tin can on every convenience store counter that allows us to continue our "quest for a cure".

I could go on and on, but I won't.

I understand that science and medicine don't operate in the same way as most other fields of endeavor which are results-oriented and that, for the most part, the human body and how it works is as big a mystery to us today as it was to Paracelsus or Avicenna back in the Stone Age (or whenever it was they lived). But I'm getting a little tired and a bit cynical about the seemingly-weekly announcements about "another milestone" being reached in the "diagnosis, prevention and treatment of canker sores" or somesuch, which after the fireworks display, proves to be nothing of the sort. It seems to be more in line of a tease that is offering people who are really ill, and desperate, some hope and simultaneously to get them to open their pocketbooks.

And there are worse diseases out there than Arthritis, Diabetes or Hypercholesterosis. Cancer, AIDS, Leukemia, and a host of others, that are just as painful, just as deadly, lurk out there too, and have probably had more money thrown at them than anything else, and no one comes close to anything resembling answers. Maybe those answers don't exist or they might be beyond our abilities to discover at the present, but it seems like it's more of a great way to ensure lifetime employment, and the supporting funds, without having to actually produce a result (unless a press release touting Tylenol counts as such).
France and the "Religion of Peace"...
I have been accused recently of being blind with regards to the role of Islam and Islamonazism in the riots now plaguing France and many other European cities. The charge against me is that since I have not squared my interpretation of what's happening with the repeated jabbering of the Islamic rabblerousers world-wide, then I must be either ignoring the role Islam is playing here or I'm just as dumb as your typical Irish Setter.

Well, quite frankly, I resent that. I don't believe I'm being wilfully blind, or that I'm lacking in the brains department, but rather, I look at what's happening in France and I do not see the same Islamic component one would see in similar riots in the West Bank or Gaza. I have not seen any evidence to support the theory that these distrubances were planned, plotted and whipped into existance in the mosques. I fully appreciate that should it become convenient for them to do so, the usual rogues gallery of Muhammedian muckrakers will crawl from the shadows to claim leadership and give "guidance" to the rioters. I just do not see them, or radical Islamic ideology, at the forefront of the riots.

Never doubt for second that a cabal of opportunistic slugs, disguised as Men of God, are simply sitting on the sidelines, licking their chops in anticipation. This is manna from Heaven, so to speak, for the committed, ant-Western, Jihadist type. They have not been heard from to this point, and the rioters are not out there shouting "Morte du Le Satan Petit" or anything similar to what one would expect a crowd motivated by Islam to say or do.

HoweverI do not see any proof of the involvement of the fringe- suicidal-explosive-boxer-shorts brotherhood. The biggest argument against an Islamic conspiracy in these things is simply that while many of the rioters are Muslims, a good deal aren't. They are enagaged in a campaign to highlight their grievances through destruction of property, and most likely their own property at that, a feature of "civil rights" activities that Americans should recognize all too well from Watts, Detroit, Newark and Los Angeles.

I'm not blind and I'm not dumb. And while I have been known to make outrageous leaps of (il-)logic, I don't think this is one of them.

If it makes my critics feel any better, here's what you want to hear:

France is doomed! Europe will become an adjunct of the Great Caliphate! Christianity is threatened with extinction. It's the end of Western Civilization as we know it! The end is nigh! Repent and arm the ICBM's, we may have to nuke Mecca any day now in order to protect ourselves! Anyone who doesn't agree with this assesment is an asshole and probably a democrat, a liberal democrat, to boot!

There, I hope that helps.

Now back to reality.

Is France doomed? Probably not in the conventional sense. France has a history of bloody and violent social upheavals and this is merely carryng on a tradition. What makes it even more scary in today's world is that we see people who are most definitely Muslims engaged in wanton destruction, and post-9/11, we naturally panic and assume the worst.

As for what France can do about these things, I'm not so sure. To begin with it is obvious that some sort of social reconcilliation is necessary to move Sarkozy's "scum" into the mainstream of French life. Call it "Le Action Affirmative", if you'd like (to apply an American term). I can see the French government making that kind of concession. However, it won't work until many of the other underlying problems of French sociey are fixed: High taxes, Byzantine regulation, moribund economy, lack of opportuniy or equality of opportunity, and racism. The issue is not religion, it is that there are vast numbers of people roaming the streets with NOTHING TO DO, in a place where the prevailing culture tends to ignore, demonize and segregate them.

If caving in doesn't work, then the French are left with only one option, which is the use of deadly force. That they have not done so to this point reveals both a remarkable restraint and a cowardness, which is typically French. The French will not fight until absolutely forced to, and when that point is reached, I feel bad for the rioters. Your typical "enlightened" Froggie is no such thing; at heart he is an arrogant, snobbish, elitist racist that would put any American bearing claims to those titles to shame. The French government also owns all the guns; when the call to "save French culture" goes out, those guns will appear -- in the hands of the very people who are now claiming social, cultural and ethical superiority.