Friday, August 13, 2004


Looks like the fighting in Najaf may be yielding even better results. Al Sadr, the I AM SAM of the radical Islamic world, was reportedly wounded in the chest and leg with shrapnel.


Two Marines stand next to a mortar tube, listening to the above news report on Armed Forces Radio.


Told you it was a little more to the left.


Yeah, yeah. Got it, Dave. Now shut the f**k up and hand me a shell.

Anyway, nice try guys. Better luck next time.

Course, there is a chance this is a lie, an attempt tp elicit sympathy for this moron as his 'army' proceeds to get their turbaned heads handed to them.

But, if its true, I can only hope it really, REALLY hurts you fat, stupid prick.


In regards to this truly surprising announcement from New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy, I just wanted to point out one thing because I envision a whole lot of political noise building around this event.

If reports are true, the Governor's lover was reportedly given jobs because of that relationship:

A New Jersey Republican source told Reuters a lawsuit would be filed in the state alleging sexual misconduct by the governor against his former Homeland Security Advisor Golan Cipel.
Cipel, an Israeli national, took the $110,000-a-year job in early 2002 but had to step aside after his credentials for the position were questioned. The long-time friend and former campaign aide to McGreevey was kept on in the governor's office until August 2002, when he resigned after officials refused to say what his duties were.

This kind of behavior falls under the heading of corruption, and thus would point to the real reason McGreevey is stepping down. This is especially serious because it was not just some nebulous governmental office do-nothing position. This is Homeland Security we are talking about. The alleged sin would be just as bad if Cipel had a vagina.

I only point this out because it seems likely that we will soon see the development of a meme that McGreevey had to step down merely because he was gay. This would play into the idea of a homophobic America, and a public intolerant toward gays, which of course would be used politically by certain groups, maybe even the Governor himself.

The fact is that McGreevey cheated on his wife (with whom it does no matter) and may have used the power of his office illegally to further this affair, and that is why he is stepping down. Being gay perhaps makes the story more salacious, but it is not the long and short of it.


The Iraq National Soccer teams scores an upset against Portugal in an Olympic match yesterday.

PATRAS, Greece - In its first Olympic competition since its country was shattered by war, Iraq upset star-studded Portugal 4-2 on Thursday in a gritty, come-from-behind victory that set off cheers and celebrations among some 200 fans.
“This victory will be received with happiness by my people, who have suffered through much,” said Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad, whose countrymen were already taking to the streets of Baghdad, lighting up the night sky with streaks of celebratory gunfire.

Wow, imagine that! Olympic atheletes who can perform WITHOUT torture and death threats.

I think its a great story just from the athelete's perspective, but I certainly hope that this is a greater symbol for the whole country. One hopes this win, and others to come, will help unite the country around it. I am bit cynical on sports in general (American sports in particular) but I can see the value that national sports can have in wielding cultural cohesion in my country. One hopes the same can and will apply to Iraq, which can use a sense of commonality in dark times.

Congratulations, guys! And good luck. I know at least one team I will be rooting for this Olympics.

Friday, August 06, 2004


On American Morning (CNN) this morning, Bill Hemmer was questioning Governor George Pataki about the two "family men" accused of conspiracy to launder money financing a terrorist attack. The men were told by an FBI informer that he intended to buy shoulder launched missiles for terrorists planning to kill the Pakastani Ambassador to the U.S.. They agreed and the Feds grabbed them.

First Hemmer asks the Governor

"Is there any evidence that the two men were planning to kill Americans?"


Two things, here.

First, what DIFFERENCE does that make? If they were ONLY planning to kill a foreign diplomat, how does that make any difference at all? A Pakistani does not count? I'm open to suggestions that I am missing something here.

Two, logic time. If they are going to use an anti-aircraft missile to kill (allegedly, hem) the Ambassador, then what are the chances that they are going to have a little, como se dice, 'collateral damage'? Seems to be me that's a pretty good bet when your target is a airliner (probably commercial, although Pakistan may have a private plane for an Ambassador) which would most likely be flying over land when it is hit.

Sorry, call me a right wing paranoid, but this seems to me an attempt to downplay the importance of this arrest.

Oh, and to top it off, Hemmer asks Pataki about accusations of entrapment. Hats off to Pataki who managed not to reach through the camera and bitch slap Hemmer, yelling "What the hell is wrong with you!"

Entrapment? So if we inquire whether someone would LIKE to fund terrorist operations in the U.S., we are not playing fair? Jesus...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Green Goblin and Osama Bin Laden

I want to revise and expand on this, but its taking me a little longer than I thought. Stay tuned.

It is easy to label Hollywood and its product as one vast diatribe of liberal thought and leftist ideology, precisely because so much of it is. Many of those in the movie business (not cinema, you pretentious fools) are decidedly left of center and have no trouble testifying to it in public and through their work. One screenwriter even boasted about the right’s inability to compete with the overwhelming, conscious effort by left-leaning writers to convey their politics and points of view in every medium they can. It’s an enviable position, actually. Being paid handsomely to produce propaganda that espoused your most heartfelt beliefs. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

So, we as movie goers are treated to continual clichés and messages from the leftist point of view, whether it is the portrayal of military members as power hungry fascists, or religious people as close-minded, judgmental bigots, or the United States as a nation Imperial power run by fools and crooks. If we are lucky, the subject matter is sufficiently entertaining and we can ignore the message and go on with our lives.

But, is that really all a conservative movie-goer gets for his $9.50 ticket? As Thomas Sowell says, rewarding behavior gets you more of it. Are we not just paying to see more of the same anti-America, anti-freedom, pro-leftist garbage in the theatres? Bottom line is yes, when we patronize those kind of movies, whether it be in a theatre, at Blockbuster or we buy the DVD.

But, if I enjoy movies as much as I do (Fahrenheit 9/11 and its ilk notwithstanding) am I doomed to perpetuate and strengthen the propaganda I detest? Or am I missing something amidst all the agitprop? Actually, you may be missing a lot.

Conservative messages, patriotic themes do make it into movies, despite Hollywood’s best efforts. Not everyone in Hollywood is a neo-marxist, flaming liberal, and even some who are slip up and produce something which does not tote the party line.

As a conservative, one should take heart and patronize that product which promotes those ideas, and to learn to see recognize when someone is pulling for us, intentionally or not.

Movies, among other popular media, supply us with our modern mythology, the entertaining but also instructive tales which illuminate what we are, what we cherish and what we hold ourselves to be, as well as what dangers we face and what we should fear. While leftist Hollywood regales us with its cautionary tales of global warming and snap ice ages, and supposedly stupid/evil genius government conspiracies, some traditional, conservative messages do make it under the radar, onto the silver screen, and they do so in movies more popular than even the overly fawned over efforts of Michael Moore.

I pleasantly reminded of this upon seeing Spiderman 2 in the theatres. I loved the movie for a number of reasons, but I was bowled over at the pertinent messages, wisdom and symbolism which permeates the film. Amidst the humor and action of this comic book tale comes some considered wisdom which applies the some of the very crises we face as the United States confronts the war on Terror, and our very identity as a nation.

But, let me backtrack, because this was true of the original Spiderman, which premiered the summer after September 11th. The dialogue in that film struck me in several parts as being particularly profound, and time as well as events has only deepened that feeling in me.

Cast your memory back to the first film, where the Green Goblin, a force of terroristic destruction, attacks the city. His motive is revenge and domination for slights he feels performed against him and his family. The Goblin and Spiderman fight several times, but the Goblin uses more than just pumpkin bombers and missiles to attack our hero, who stands alone against him. He uses words and manipulation as he attacks the psyche of the man who would try to save a city:

“But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you. Why bother?”

“Join me. Imagine what we could accomplish together. What we could create. Or, we could destroy. Cause the deaths of countless innocents in selfish battle, again and again and again, until we’re both dead.”

“This is why only fools are heroes. Cause you never know when some lunatic will come along with a sadistic choice.”

What does this sound like to you? Read them again, ignoring the movie, and just reading the message.

To me, a lot of it sounds like a fair summation of leftist arguments against U.S. action against terrorists and their sponsoring states:

“We are hated by the world. We’ve squandered our goodwill from other countries by taking the actions we have. Why would we risk such enmity?”

“Our quest to ‘liberate’ other nations has killed innocent people and is perpetuating a cycle of violence and unending war.”

“We shouldn’t be fighting this war. It will enrage our enemies, and embolden them, and they will only attack us more because of it.”

“We should reach out to those who hate us, and work to find some common ground.”

The voice and message is the same. Just the words are different. It is the voice of pessimism, cynicism and defeatism. It is a voice that says there is no point in fighting, it will accomplish nothing, will make things worse, and it will cost too much. It is also the very thing an enemy would want you to believe if he wanted to weaken your resolve.

Let’s take the Goblin quotes one by one.

“But the one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you. Why bother?”

After over a year of protests against the U.S. by supposedly allied peoples, and the active interference of supposedly allied governments in the war on terror, often in the most crude, cheap and vitriolic manner, do these words resonate?

The fact is we are hated, by a good many people around the world. By people, in many cases, for whom the United States has done unacknowledged and massive good, at considerable cost in both blood and gold to ourselves.

Other people have illuminated this issue at length, and done so better than I could, so let me just sum up my feelings on it. We are hated because of the very strength we have used to protect and help the ones who despise us. Understand this because you try to understand anyone else about the international situation.

Envy is an all too common human emotion, and a mighty strong one at that. I think it ranks just behind lust and greed, and probably ranks first considering those two tend to generate envy in copious amounts. The fact is we are envied and resented because we are, without a doubt, a juggernaut, a behemoth. Economically, militarily, culturally, technologically, etc., we are a giant. This is not to say that we excel in everything (although much of the world probably feels that we feel that way), but in the aggregate, we are deserving of the label hyper-power, whether the French diplomat who use that term meant it as less than a compliment or not.

We are hated around the world. Not by everyone, by far less than people would have you think, but often by the people for which we have done so much. So, why do we bother?

In the movie, Spiderman replies to Goblin’s “Why bother?”

“Because it’s right.”

I, and many brilliant diplomats from Europe and intellectuals from our esteemed universities, could NOT sum it up better than that. Actually, they would not even agree with it, now would they?

Because it’s the right thing to do…geniuses. It might not be popular, it might not bring us hugs and roses or the Nobel Peace Prize like Messier Arafat, but it is what needs to, and SHOULD be, done.

A big theme of the Spiderman character is that he continues to do the right thing, fighting the bad guys, even though he is often portrayed negatively by those who he is trying to help, particularly the press (more on that later). So, what kind of hero would Peter Parker be if he listened to the crowd and stayed home and did not get involved? Okay, maybe a hero to the French, but who else?

“Join me. Imagine what we could accomplish together. What we could create. Or, we could destroy. Cause the deaths of countless innocents in selfish battle, again and again and again, until we’re both dead.”

“This is why only fools are heroes. Cause you never know when some lunatic will come along with a sadistic choice.”

These two actually dovetail nicely, in that it crystallizes the current attempts by the left, aided greatly by the press (yes, I am pretending that there IS a difference, for now) to attack the war. It also sums up a good part of the terrorists’ strategy, which plays into the attacks of the left. Coincidence, I’m sure.

People, innocent people, ARE being killed and wounded by United States Armed Forces. They have been, they are now, and more will be in the future. There. I said it. I admit it. And your point was?

No, I am not being cold or callous or, uhmm, let’s use the term “cowboyesque”. I am acknowledging a reality; an unfortunate one. Also, an unavoidable one. Yes, unavoidable. Civilians are going to get hurt no matter how we deal with terror, irregardless of how we could have handled Iraq. CIVILIANS WERE AND ARE GOING TO DIE! THERE IS A WAR GOING ON! THE PEOPLE WE ARE FIGHTING TARGET INNOCENT CIVILIANS!

Civilians died on September 11th in New York, DC and Pennsylvania, they died in Bali, in Turkey, in Madrid and they are dying in Iraq as you read this. They will continue to die whether we stay in Iraq with more troops, or whether we pull them all out tomorrow. Civilians would be getting killed in Iraq at this very moment had we never set foot across the border to this date. And they would be getting killed in far greater numbers and with NO hope for reprieve or future.

The left beats us over the head with the number of civilians who are killed in the wars we fight against our enemies, but they seem very quiet when it comes to civilians killed during ‘times of peace’, or those killed by the enemy. You remember massive protests over Iraq’s butchering of civilians in the hundreds of thousands, whether it was with bullet, shredder or poison gas? Did ANSWER and the Worker’s World Party and the Democrats organize marches in the streets to decry the slaughter of 800,000 in Rwanda? Anyone recall hearing about the human shields who went to Sudan to stand in the way of Islamic government thugs sent to murder, rape and drive out Christians and others?

Yeah, I did not see that either.

The death of civilians is terrible, and despite what others think, the U.S. takes extraordinary steps to prevent it, but it can never stop them altogether. It is the nature of war itself, and the enemy we currently fight does not care one goddamn about human life. In fact, part of the terrorist strategy, whether Gaza or Baghdad, is to maximize civilians deaths and then blame it all on us. In this, the left is more than eager to comply.

Civilians were killed by the U.S. in every conflict we have ever fought. They were killed in the controversial wars like that of Vietnam, and they were killed in the wars we believe righteous like WWII or the Civil War.

The left knows all this, or at least most of them do (some are not bright enough to really absorb it) but they do not acknowledge it. But, it works for them to hold up those deaths caused by our actions, and to ignore the actions of others which led to those deaths. Or, even better, to blame us for all the deaths, as if the US is arbitrarily attacking others. The left and the terrorists know we have a conscience, and even with no other choice left, the reality of it will still gnaw at us. They wish to paint our every move, every victory or action of necessity as a useless but pre-planned bloodletting fulfilling some dark purpose.

The left also loves to ignore the costs of inaction. Had we not invaded Iraq, how many people would have died anyway in the past year? How many in the next 5 if we had left it up to the ‘international community’. Rough estimates figure that 1 millions Iraqis have died as a direct result of Saddam Hussein’s 30 year reign. This ignores the deaths he has caused do to warring on surrounding regions. If we break that down by the 30 years the man was in power, it works out to be 33,333 Iraqis a year. So, had we done NOTHING, and had Saddam not been in a particularly bad mood, over 33 THOUSAND Iraqis would have died under his rule just this past year alone!

This is what the left does not want you to realize. Inaction kills. Peace can kill. It can murder more than a war can, given a complete disparity amongst combatants and indifference by those who could interfere. 800,000 were murdered in Rwanda in a matter of a few MONTHS! There was no war there, certainly none the U.S. took part in. And almost a million people perished in horrible fashion. Where was the left when this was going on?

Helping to argue the definition of ‘is’, ‘oral sex’ and ‘perjury’.

When the Goblin tells Spiderman that by fighting him, he will just cause the death of innocent people, he is using the same tactic. He is appealing to Parker’s conscience and morality in order to convince him to make an immoral choice. JOIN ME and no one will get hurt. Anyone who dies will be YOUR FAULT.

It is, at its base, a ridiculous proposition. If people die in New York while Spiderman battles Goblin, only one carries the blame, the Goblin himself. He is the one initiating hostilities, the one seeking to dominate the city. It is his war of aggression which will cost people their lives. But he knows this, and he doesn’t care. But he knows Spiderman cares, so he attacks this weak spot, or what he perceives to be weakness. He knows it WILL bother Spiderman. It will cause him to doubt himself, and what he is doing, and thus weaken his resolve, weaken him.

Again, any of this seem familiar in light of current events?

The Spiderman sequel, if anything, is richer with lessons for us all in this current struggle, and it elaborates of this theme of the importance of will.

Things are not going well for Peter Parker. He continues his battles against crime in the city as Spiderman, and he is winning. Crime is down, the city is safer and the city has Spiderman to thank for it.

But, is there thanks?

Parker can’t concentrate on his studies, is fired from his job, broke, finds himself growing distant with friends and flunking out of school. Mary Jane Watson, tired of waiting for Peter to declare his love, moves on and into the arms of another man. He protects the innocent and saves lives, but is hounded and berated viciously by the press, painting him as the bad guy, a menace greater than the thugs and criminals preying on the innocent. His oldest friend hates his alter-ego with a passion, blaming him for the death of his father, who was the psychopathic Goblin.

He is stretched thin, has few allies, and he loses confidence in what he is doing. Then, his spider-powers on which he relies begin to fail him. Again, any of this sound familiar?

When Parker confides in his doctor, he tells of his ‘dreams’ wherein he is Spiderman but is losing his super power. The doctor (openly wearing a dead-head t-shirt under his unbuttoned coat…MESSAGE!), condescendingly tells him that the reason he is losing his powers is because maybe he was never meant to be Spiderman in the first place. He is told, in other words, you are not what you think you are and you cannot do what you think can and you should just give it up. Defeatism in a nice little nutshell.

Is there neater little synopsis of the aftermath of the 60’s mentality than this? The left, the 60’s generation and its progeny, constantly question the use of U.S. power, our capabilities, our intentions and our goals. Defeat terrorism? Not possible. Bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East? Never work. Fight a war against crazed fanatics and win? You’re delusional.

This is not to say whether the use of power should not be questioned and justified. The Spiderman creed is “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” and that is also so profound because it is so simple. Power must be used responsibly, but what the left does not get (or chooses not to for other reasons) is that the responsibility often entails that you DO use that power. There are sins of commission, yes, but there are the sins of omission. Having the power to stop something wrong and choosing NOT to do so is a moral choice, and most times NOT a good one.

So the doctor with dead-head shirt discourages Peter Parker from believing in himself and his abilities. Peace Man!

Later, Parker is sitting in his apartment, contemplating his path, considering giving up the life of responsibility he has led. He has a vision of his Uncle Owen, his father. Uncle Owen reminds Peter of his responsibilities, of his duty to carry on in a replay of the last conversation the two had before his death. But, Peter rejects the quest, the charge, telling his uncle it is too hard, too difficult, and it is costing him too much.

Peter Parker forsakes his power and responsibility, tosses his suit in the garbage and in a great montage played to Sun Shiny Day, goes on about his life without a care in the world. He watches police cars race by with sirens blaring and does nothing, and even walks away when he sees someone being mugged.

He later confesses his actions preceding his uncle’s death to his aunt, actually claiming responsibility for it, for the murder of his uncle. His aunt is devastated by the confession and walks away.

But, Peter is drawing the wrong lesson from that episode, or rather he forgets the lesson he had learned at such painful cost. In the original film, he attributes his greed, his vanity, his self-interest for his uncle’s death, and certainly, those things may have led toward the events which later claimed his uncle’s life. But, it was Peter’s refusal to act later on when he could have easily done so, which truly leads to the death of his uncle. Peter believes the use of his abilities has led to that traumatic episode in his life, but it in fact was the direct opposite: his failure to act when he could have, his sin of omission allowed evil to escape and in the end personally cost him.

This is not to say Peter’s life as Spiderman does not cost him as well. It does, in more ways than one, and the film emphasizes this for the audience. The life of a hero is not easy and without costs, even of the everyday quality. And, in the end, the one responsible for Uncle Ben’s death is the thug who shot him, not Peter.

To me, Uncle Ben symbolizes the older generation, the WWII generation, if you like, passing off the responsibility to the younger, which rejects it in order to do what it wants, regardless of the peril which exists and is growing. Power and freedom and come at a cost, he tries to remind Peter, but Peter does not want to hear it.

Thus we find the attitude of a disturbingly large portion of our generation. They shrink from the power we possess, and from the threat we face, and from the solemn responsibility which face.

Belief in oneself and one’s powers is the most important thing; the power without the will means nothing.

But, while Peter enjoys his new carefree life (and it is hard to blame him), a danger grows. His thinks he has eliminated the threat to his loved ones by giving up his powers, but he is deceiving himself. Doc Ock is plotting and scheme to assemble a device which could destroy the entire city in which Peter, his aunt, his friends and Mary Jane live. A threat looms, and grows larger, and crime rises and people are hurt and they die because someone who has the power to do something does not. Peter has not escaped the danger. He is merely ignoring it, allowing it to increase.

He begins to realize this, of course. Part of why Peter Parker is a hero is not his strength or super powers, but his sense of compassion, and responsibility and honor. When he comes upon a burning building, and hears that there is a child inside, he ventures in, EVEN THOUGH HIS POWERS ARE GONE. He rushes is and saves a child owing simply to his heroic nature, not any superhuman ability.

When he discovers that another person is dead in the building, one he no doubt could have saved had been his old-self, his alter ego. It wounds him.

We next see him in his apartment, agonizing over his decision. His sense of responsibility is at war with his desires. Should he denied the things he wants, should he be required to give up his dreams?

That phrase struck me. It struck me when he first mentions it, and when it comes up several more times, particularly at the end. Peter tells Ock (after being told by his Aunt May) that sometimes we have to give up our dreams in order to do the right thing.

Giving up your dreams, even the thing you want the most, for the greater good?

This kept coming back to me again and again. This was a jarringly unusual idea for a Hollywood movie. Hollywood tends to extol the virtue of dreams and dreamers over everything else. Tradition, values, respect, duty, pragmatism, etc., are all pale and insignificant compared to the DREAM. Dreams are really the only things that count, says Hollywood; everything else is an annoying, useless, inhibiting distraction from them.

How could a movie tell its audience that dreams are secondary to words like sacrifice and responsibility? What bizarro world did tinsel town get sucked into? Even I found it a disturbing thought, having been indoctrinated by movies since before I could know better. Give up your dreams? What kind of oppressive, fascist conformist concept is THAT? What was the writer trying to say here, that stupid prick!

Then I remembered something I had read two years prior, just a little after 9/11, during the battles in Afghanistan after the first American casualties occurred. In this article, students in Washington Square Park were asked about their willingness to sign up to fight the war on terror, to fight those who had attacked us.

One student said he thought it was important to fight terror, but he had dreams he did not want to give up, and by going to war he might do just that. Forsake his dreams.

Then I got it.

It is no doubt that Americans are dreamers, and most of them have dreams and ambitions and desires, and always have. We are a nation of dreams. We exist to create an environment in which personal dreams can be realized because we value them so highly. It is what makes us so special and so mythical. It’s called liberty. The pursuit of happiness. It’s only listed prominently in the Declaration of Independence, for God’s sake. America is special because it allows human beings to pursue their dreams and extols it as a virtue and right.

But…the catch is, they aren’t free, these dreams. They always cost something to achieve them, and they can cost even more to defend them. Even everything you have. Even the dream itself.

Americans have defended those dreams, at Yorktown, Gettysburg, St. Lo. In our own land, and in places like France, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. The Americans who came before me who had their dreams of a better life in this nation, and they gave life, limb or sanity in the battles fought against enemies who would have taken all of those things from us anyway, and left us without the dreams as well.

A dream is NOT the most important thing, because without the ability and will to defend against those who would take it from you, what will you accomplish? A dream does not last long against exposure to the harsher realities of life without protection.

That student did not want to give up his dreams, and that is understandable. He had the rest of his life before him, but so did those who were at their desks in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, or those sitting on a plane somewhere over America that September morning. They had the rest of their lives before them, before the knives came out, and the impacts came, and the fire spread, and gravity took them. These had their lives and dreams ripped from them from black holes of humanity who cared nothing for the first, and have only dark, twisted visions in place of the other.

Seeing the smoke rise, and the people fall, others put aside their dreams and picked up a gun and went to fight for us, some giving up those dreams forever. They ALL had dreams for their lives beyond the mountains of Kabul or the streets of Baghdad, but, they understood those the dreams meant nothing in the face of an enemy who feeds on destruction, and so they went. They risked and sacrificed all saving others by choosing to fight. They were, they ARE, goddamn super heroes.

As did those who marched off to Valley Forge with Washington, who held the line at Gettysburg, and who stormed the beaches of Normandy. They ALL must have had dreams, but they went and fought anyway. It is the compact which holds the nation together. We can have so wonderful, grand dreams in this country, and pursue them with passion, but there is a price to be paid for it.

On the subway train, after battling Doc Ock, Spiderman saves the train full of people, and is pulled in by them, exhausted, seemingly dead, carried by the populace almost in a ceremonial fashion. The slain warrior laid to rest. When he is placed down, they comment on how young he is, one comments he is no older than his son.

He represents the young who at this very moment are defending the republic around the world at mortal peril to themselves, and like real life, his sacrifice is appreciated by the everyday man, but not by all.

Tomorrow: Jay Jonah Jameson. Poster child for the real-life press…