Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A soprano worth listening to:

Although there are some marvellous arias for sopranos, I usually find contraltos much more pleasant to listen to. My favourite contralto aria is "Quae moerebat et dolebat" from the Pergolesi "Stabat Mater" (See here for a beautiful rendition of it as a duet). But about an hour ago Anne and I were listening to "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" sung by Yvonne Kenny and I was rather mesmerized by her performance. Such a strong pure voice.



By Mark Steyn

For the purposes of argument, let's accept the media's insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy. So who's nuttier? The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats? Or the guys who say "Hey, let's have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel? Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death? Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot "fully know" why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further? Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling "Allahu akbar," says you're racist if you bring up his religion? Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what's going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the "home team" or "enemy" box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan: "Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority."

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell: "The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn’t a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It’s Western civilization’s craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer."



A trial that will betray America

In the string of amazing decisions made during the first year of the Obama administration, nothing seems more like sheer insanity than the decision to try foreign terrorists, who have committed acts of war against the United States, in federal court, as if they were American citizens accused of crimes. Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it.

But over and above the utter inconsistency of what is being done is the utter recklessness it represents. The last time an attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a matter of domestic criminal justice was after a bomb was exploded there in 1993. Under the rules of American criminal law, the prosecution had to turn over all sorts of information to the defense-- information that told the Al Qaeda international terrorist network what we knew about them and how we knew it.

This was nothing more and nothing less than giving away military secrets to an enemy in wartime-- something for which people have been executed, as they should have been. Secrecy in warfare is a matter of life and death. Lives were risked and lost during World War II to prevent Nazi Germany from discovering that Britain had broken its supposedly unbreakable Enigma code and could read their military plans that were being radioed in that code. "Loose lips sink ships" was the World War II motto in the United States. But loose lips are mandated under the rules of criminal prosecutions.

Tragically, this administration seems hell-bent to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war. The very phrase "war on terrorism" is avoided, as if that will stop the terrorists' war on us. The mindset of the left behind such thinking was spelled out in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, which said that "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way-- the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation's adherence to the rule of law." This is not the rule of law but the application of laws to situations for which they were not designed.

How many Americans may pay with their lives for the intelligence secrets and methods that can forced to be disclosed to Al Qaeda was not mentioned. Nor was there mention of how many foreign nations and individuals whose cooperation with us in the war on terror have been involved in countering Al Qaeda-- nor how many foreign nations and individuals will have to think twice now, before cooperating with us again, when their role can be revealed in court to our enemies, who can exact revenge on them.

Behind this decision and others is the notion that we have to demonstrate our good faith to other nations, sometimes called "world opinion." Just who are these saintly nations whose favor we must curry, at the risk of American lives and the national security of the United States?

Internationally, the law of the jungle ultimately prevails, despite pious talk about "the international community" and "world opinion," or the pompous and corrupt farce of the United Nations. Yet this is the gallery to which Barack Obama has been playing, both before and after becoming President of the United States.



Five Terrible Cruelties of Liberalism

Liberalism is an extraordinarily deceptive, ruinous and cruel ideology. That's because liberalism comes, arms wide open, whispering sweet words of compassion and pity, even as it forcefully slams down a boot upon the neck of people it's "helping." It's bad enough to see people's lives ruined by those who make no pretense about their intentions, but to see human beings destroyed by those who claim to have only their best interests at heart...well, let's just say it's a hell of a thing.

What liberalism does to minorities: Liberalism falsely convinces minorities in America that they are widely hated and despised for their skin color. How terrible it must be to spend your days seeing racial slights that don't exist, feeling despised by people who don't give you a second thought, and expecting that you will be treated unfairly by people, most of whom think no more of your skin color than they do the color of the carpet they're standing on.

Believing these lies leads to a sense of victimhood that liberalism offers to "fix" with more destructive solutions like Affirmative Action. How many white Americans have doubted the achievement of a black American because of Affirmative Action? How many black Americans have doubted their own worthiness because they thought they may have been given a helping hand because of their race? How many black college students who would have graduated with honors at UNC-Chapel Hill flunked out of Harvard because Affirmative Action got them into a college that was over their head? In the wildest dreams of the Ku Klux Klan, they could have never come up with an ideology as deviously destructive to minorities in America as liberalism.

What liberalism does to children: One of the great ironies of modern life is the constant liberal refrain of "do it for the children." That's true, not only because liberalism is directly responsible for the death of more than 40 million children via abortion, but because liberal policies have descended like a plague of locusts upon the inheritance that America's sons and daughters would have otherwise received. Generations after everyone who went to Woodstock is in the ground, Americans will still be paying off their spending. What better thing could we do for the children than to safeguard the country we grew up in so that they'll have an opportunity to live the American dream, too?

What liberalism does to Africa: Liberalism's smothering paternalism has arguably done considerably more damage to Africa than European colonialism. "The Western world has given Africa 'about a trillion dollars in aid in the past 50 years' and yet as a whole, the continent could be fairly said to have gone backwards over the last 10-15 years." Obviously our aid is doing little for Africa, but we can't stop, even if it would be better for them to learn to stand on their own two feet, because liberalism says it’s better to ruin millions of lives than to risk making liberals feel bad.

If only liberalism similarly prioritized the lives of African children over those of song birds. In another great irony, it's conservatives who argue that DDT should be used in Africa to kill mosquitoes and wipe out malaria, while liberals are willing to watch millions die because they're afraid that to do otherwise -- might put a few birds at risk.

What liberalism has done to the American family: Oh, the intentions are always liberalism says. They just don't want anyone to feel bad or be judged negatively. They want everyone to have a good time and they believe the government should be there to pick up the pieces if things don't go well. So, we get...

Welfare checks. Gay marriage. No fault divorce. The sexual revolution. Attacks on Christianity. Lauding hedonism and single mothers in Hollywood. "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

But, when inevitably divorce rates skyrocket, our prisons fill up with children who never had fathers living in the home, and our society starts to fray around the edges, no one wants to admit that liberalism is at the heart of the entire problem.

What liberalism does to the poor: What mother dreams that her child will grow up to be on food stamps? What decent father wants to see his son eating free breakfast at school? How can you care about a person and want to see him living in a government housing project, collecting welfare, and nursing a grudge against the people in our society who have succeeded in life, instead of trying to become a success himself?

Liberalism says its adherents should pat themselves on the back for their compassion because they're making it possible for people to live that way. How many men's pride have they stolen with that "compassion?" How many lives has that "compassion" helped mire in misery? How many people, who could have made good lives for themselves, in the end, became dependent on the government and chose lives of mediocrity? If someone views that as "compassion," then his moral compass is shattered.




I mentioned recently that I had updated my pictorial homepage -- a page which is mainly for fun. I have now done a bit more and updated my personal homepage. I also have a more boring academic home page. I think one thing you will note in my homepages is general good cheer. I see lots to criticize in the world about me but I leave the whining and miserabilism to Leftists.

Obama bow a low blow, say critics: "Photos of Barack Obama bowing to Japan's emperor have incensed critics in the US, who said the President should stand tall when representing America overseas. Mr Obama is in China, having wrapped up the Japan leg of his Asia trip. But Washington commentators are still weighing whether or not the US president disgraced his country by making a deep bow at the waist while meeting Japan's Emperor Akihito. Conservative pundit William Kristol said: "I don't know why President Obama thought that was appropriate. Maybe he thought it would play well in Japan. "But it's not appropriate for an American president to bow to a foreign one." He told the Fox News Sunday program the gesture spoke of a United States that had become weak and overly-deferential under Mr Obama. Another conservative voice, Bill Bennett, said on CNN's State of the Union program: "It's ugly. I don't want to see it. "We don't defer to emperors. We don't defer to kings or emperors. The president of the United States - this coupled with so many apologies from the United States - is just another thing." Some conservative critics juxtaposed the image of Mr Obama with one of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who greeted the emperor in 2007 with a firm handshake but no bow."

GOP weighs filibuster of anti-Christian judge appointment: "Republicans who decried Democrats' filibusters of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees are debating whether they should use the same tactic against one of President Obama's nominees, a candidate who they say has an antipathy toward Christianity and pro-life legislation. With conservative activists cheering them on, some Republicans said Democrats set a new standard by filibustering nine of Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees and said Republicans will have the chance to turn the tables on one of Mr. Obama's own appeals court nominees. "The new rule is filibusters are legitimate, but only if there are extraordinary circumstances," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said he'll vote to block Judge David Hamilton for the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. "That's where we are." A vote on Judge Hamilton, currently the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is expected Tuesday afternoon."

Obama will push additional tax hikes next year: "Buried in this Friday story on Obama's future plans is a curious statement, attributed to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, which didn't get nearly enough attention: Orszag has said the spending blueprint, for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2010, would put the nation "back on a fiscally sustainable path" and suggested it would include a mix of spending cuts and new revenue-producing measures. "New revenue-producing measures." In other words, more tax increases -- increases beyond the dozen or so that are already planned in the health care reform package. President Obama's advisors understand that they have to counter the perception that deficit spending is out of control. But that doesn't mean Americans want to pay higher taxes."

Taxpayers on hook as some bailed-out firms prove frail: "A year ago, the financial system was tottering and government officials arranged a $2.3 billion emergency cash infusion into CIT Group, a troubled lender to small businesses. Today, CIT is in bankruptcy court, and the taxpayers’ investment is on the brink of being wiped out. It would be the largest loss so far from the government’s massive rescue of the financial system, but it isn’t likely to be the last.”

Why drug makers are raising prices: "In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992. The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year. Drug makers say they have valid business reasons for the price increases. Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years.”

ACORN considering bankruptcy: "As its financial resources dwindle, radical advocacy group and organized crime syndicate ACORN may have to file for bankruptcy protection before Christmas, ACORN insiders say. "They may have to file for bankruptcy if they don't have several big pending grants approved or get emergency loans," a highly placed ACORN source told me over the weekend. This information bolsters Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) claim last week that ACORN is in turmoil amidst internal power struggles and on the verge of bankruptcy. Given that ACORN is a network of hundreds of affiliated nonprofits, it's not exactly clear how a bankruptcy filing would work, but the idea is under serious consideration by ACORN's leadership. It was discussed at length at the group's most recent national board meeting, which took place in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., during the Oct. 14-15 weekend, ACORN sources told me. But even if ACORN were to go bankrupt, that doesn't mean it would disappear. ACORN may dissolve and then re-emerge as a new organization, the group's lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz says. As of Nov. 11, ACORN and its affiliates owed at least $2,328,596 in long overdue back taxes to all levels of government."

NOW President O’Neill Slams Catholic Bishops: "Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, accused Catholic bishops of “smelling blood” and deciding to get involved as backers of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. She added that their actions to remove abortion coverage from health care legislation recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives equates to overturning Roe v. Wade. Of course, O’Neill isn’t one to let truth get in the way of her feminist viewpoints. She made that clear while speaking before a group of single-payer health care advocates during the opening session of the 2009 National Strategy Conference Saturday in St. Louis."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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