Sunday, August 28, 2005
There is one major reason that there isn’t any Ernie Pyle in the mainline media today, and that is because some of the news would be good, positive, and lead people to believe that the war was important and that we in combination with the Iraqi military are winning it. That isn’t an impression that very much of the mainstream media would like Americans to see, so it isn’t very likely that they are going to support regular dispatches from an Ernie Pyle.
The fact that none in the mainstream media are not going to support such reporting is less of an obstacle in the age of the internet however. http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/ is a Blog by Michael Yon who is an independent writer with US troops in Mosul Iraq. Many of his accounts are gripping, certainly not all are of that “good, positive” sort either … it is just that he is there and seems willing to report objectively, which is more than can be said for most of the US media.
For the left in this country, the loss in Vietnam was their shining victory. The combination of the media, university professors and students, and various radical groups around the country were able to do what no foreign power had ever done. Defeat the USA in war. That pinnacle of American impotence was maintained and even “improved” upon in the eyes of the left as by 1980, America cowered in front of students in Iran, and proceeded to lose 7 servicemen and accomplish nothing in a failed rescue attempt that should be known by all as “The Jimmy Carter Desert Classic”.
Since the media can’t pray, they wish upon a star every night that Iraq becomes “another Vietnam”. Since it isn’t a jungle, it isn’t communist, it isn’t split into a North and a South, and were we to leave, it isn’t clear what would fall to whom, they are never very specific of what they mean, but everyone of course knows what they mean.
They want America to lose. As badly as possible.They will do anything in their power to create if needed, and support in any way they can, an anti-war movement. They want a precise time for a pull out, even if it means that terrorists would just have to lie low and win after the date (probably ESPECIALLY if it means that). This is one of those cases where assuming that liberals are stupid would actually be “kinder” since one could then postulate that they just “don’t know” what would happen if the US is forced to pull out of Iraq and it is taken over by terrorists, but as I’ve said before I refuse the “liberals are stupid” path … even though in this case it pretty much only leaves the “liberals are evil” condition as an alternative.
I suspect in this case there IS some of the “I’m so mad I’m stupid” case of cutting off ones nose to spite their face. The hatred for George Bush, and the general fear of a strong US is so consuming for them that they absolutely refuse to look at consequences and just want to be able to point to Iraq as a failure and “another Vietnam” no matter what. It is much the same as the WMD issue. Certainly everyone knows that Saddam HAD WMD, he killed tens of thousands of Kurds using gas. The very same people that chortle about WMD not being found used the threat of Saddam using WMD as one of the reasons to not go to war. However, it remains a core tenant of liberalism that consistency is not an issue. To a conservative, if YOU also knew that Saddam had WMD, and actually used that fact as a reason that the US should not go to war in Iraq, you would be completely EMBARRASED to suddenly call Bush “stupid or disingenuous” for knowing what you knew, since that would be tantamount to calling YOURSELF names.
That would be true if you believed in consistency, but if you are a liberal, you don’t, so it is no problem. I suspect that most liberals assume that the WMD was either destroyed at the last minute, moved out of the country, of still hidden in the desert somewhere just as conservatives do. The difference is that they could care less … even it was moved out and is now in terrorist hands. They LOVE the fact that they can use the lack of WMD against the whole of the US intelligence, military, and of course the administration. Being wrong is weak, and the more weak the US is, the more they like it.
Thus the fervent hope for “another Vietnam”, which since there are no real parallels between Iraq and Vietnam in reality, simply means “public opinion turns against the war and America is forced to pull out in disgrace”. On that day the media and the left raise a lusty cheer, for not only has America failed, they will point back to that failure as the cause of all manner of ill, and to prevent the country from having the confidence to rise to challenge even students holding hostages for a very long time. They will have done all they can do to cause the failure, and they will lament the failure as an abyss that is not recoverable, and smirk. They will point to the “meaninglessness of the soldiers deaths”, and smile, how wonderful for all to wallow with them in the pit of a meaningless world.
Give Michael Yon a read, Ernie Pyle lives, he just has to be suppressed by the left these days.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Sometimes fiction can be quite expressive of beliefs and Heller does a good job of covering a lot of standard liberal thought in one novel. There is no God, nearly everyone is “crazy”, the world is entirely wrong and messed up, war (in this context WWII) is meaningless and not justified (no apologies are made to the Jews), capitalism, business, profit … all obscene and bad. Hookers, random sex, “good”, in that it is something to try to get more of because it feels good, but still meaningless. The bottom line is always pursuit of pleasure in the face of meaninglessness and foolish authority. Why can’t there just be more “random fun”?
The “hero” of the book is Yossarian, a bombardier that keeps trying to get out of flying any more missions via various schemes and interacts with all the other characters. Milo Minderbender is sort of a stand-in for capitalism. He is ostensibly in charge of providing food, but is sort of a cross between Radar O’Reilly and the head of Enron in that he creates one big syndicate that involves everyone in the war including the Germans and “everyone has a share”.
I keep trying to think back if I would have bought into this book more if I had read it when I “should have” … say college or shortly after. Very hard to say in that youth tends to be a time of confusion and questioning of meaning, and this book certainly has plenty of that. On the other hand though, this book was published in 1961. One of my “overall theories” is that once the “dominant thought” gets too strong, it can’t help but create it’s own opposition in a free society. The calm and comparatively peaceful (to WWII) 50’s with the “Father Knows Best” look and relatively doting and prosperous families gave rise to the rebellion and churn of the sick 60’s.
One could look at the odd little TV show “Family Ties” from the ‘80s and at least get the hint that in order to be a “rebel” in the face of parents that came of age in the ‘60s you would have to be a Conservative. Out on vacation I saw a bumper sticker that said “Annoy a Liberal. Work Hard, Succeed, Be Happy”, and I often suspect that we have shifted just about that far in America. To be a “good liberal” in this country you have to at least question the value of hard work, success, and replace happiness with anger it seems.
While the electorate as shifted ever so slightly to the conservative side, the dominant culture certainly remains liberal. The youth will always have a tendency to rebel against the dominant culture. When Catch-22 came out that meant rejecting God and religion, marriage and family, nationalism, the morals of society, and the idea of life having purpose. It seems to be at least worth a little thought that the 60’s liberals succeeded so well that the youth of today after being faced with the mass media and public education can “rebel” by accepting God and making religion a part of their lives, getting married and being faithful to their vows, loving and supporting their country, following a moral code, and believing in the meaning and sanctity of life.
For a liberal like Heller, it might be a bit of a Catch-22.
Monday, August 22, 2005
I won’t bore readers with any details of my attempted hike to Sky Pond that resulted in a difficult trip back to the trailhead from 4 miles up, and a night in the hospital in Estes Park, other than to make the points that giving blood a week prior to heading to elevation is not good idea, and they are really serious about altitude and hydration. I’ll find out more this week if there are any problems beyond the single event.
Estes Park stays at the top of our list of mountain destinations. We went to Jackson WY last year. The Tetons are very beautiful from the valley, but they are “up there”, and you are “down here” … in order to get up into the mountains it is more of a hike, and harder to get to the really great scenery. From the shorter hikes, a lot of the viewing is looking back out at the flat valley. There is a lot of taste in scenery, but my real problem is that Jackson seems to be becoming an ACTUAL example of what liberals claim America is, a place that is good for only the very wealthy.
Jackson has an airport that can handle all the private jets, and the land prices and the kinds of galleries and restaurants that are there show it. The place keeps moving up the dollar scale, and moving to the political left as well as more of the Hollywood types come in to act like their view of a cowboy and move the real cowboys out. Estes has everything from the KOA / YMCA / Super-8 that is actually cheap, to the Stanley Hotel where the Presidential Suite goes for $1,500 a night. Estes is like what America ACTUALLY is … a place where there is a bottom, a big middle, and a good sized top, and they can all get along and enjoy the scenery together because they know they are all generally where they are at because of the blessings and trials they have received in life, and what they have done with them.
Aside from the hike to Sky Pond that ended at Timberline Falls, we did get in a short hike up to Calypso Cascades which caused me now ill effects, and traveled over the Trail Ridge Road to search for Moose on the Grand Lake side. Two Moose were spotted, it appeared to be a cow and a calf, but they were not very cooperative relative to viewing. I have to give Jackson the nod for viewing of the Moose … we had a cow munching away outside our condo one night up there, and saw 3 large bulls on hikes up in the park last year.
So vacation is officially over and one day of work is under the belt
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The Blog might be a little slower this week, the views are just too good for writing, although sitting and looking at them with the laptop and a cup of coffee isn't bad either ;-)
Friday, August 12, 2005
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Friday night the family made the pilgrimage to Lambeau field for “Family Night”. The tickets are sold locally in
How do I know this? I’m no dummy, I listen to MPR, and every time they discuss the issue of stadiums they point out that there are NO STUDIES that show ANY positive impact of pro sports on the local community.
Having been born in Packerland is one of those blessings like being born in the
Having lived in MN for 27 years, the first 14 of which the Packers stunk, the joy of the recent return to glory is especially sweet. The favorite Vikings fan approach during the era was “The Pack will NEVER be back !!!” … followed by some version of “ALL Green Bay has is history” … “and they ARE history” …”small market teams can’t compete any more” … “enough minorities will never play in Green Bay”… a team has to have an owner, a town can’t run a modern team” … and on and on. I’m sure that over those decades of abuse in the 29 years between titles, some few gave up, but the vast majority kept the faith. When the existence of your team is itself a miracle, it is very hard to lose faith in miracles.
Which brings me to my favorite Packer/Viking joke; The coach of the MN Vikings dies and goes to heaven (We’ll call him Mike Tice). Having been up there for a few weeks and settled in, he leaves his nice little house and goes out looking for the coach of the Green Bay Packers, who he also knows has died fairly recently (Mike Sherman), just to see how he is getting along. It doesn’t take him long to find that right in the middle of everything is this MONSTROUS place that is a replica of Lambeau field with huge spotlights shining the giant G, all decked out in garish green and gold, with a ton of Packer pennants, signs, and symbols all around.
It is more than Tice can take, so he goes to the administration building and looks up God. “God, I know I’m supposed to be happy here, but I can’t understand why I have the house I have, and Mike Sherman, who as far as I know, didn’t do anything at all that would justify that huge place that looks like Lambeau field that he has”.God looks at him with a puzzled expression and says; “What do you mean
Friday, August 05, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
My short ride to work this AM was rewarded by an MPR segment that I think provides huge insight into the problems of us “all getting along”. The segment pointed out that; “In a study done up in
As I’ve said before, I refuse to follow the same thought pattern that liberals follow with conservatives (“conservatives are stupid”). I don’t believe these people are stupid, I believe that their mental model is SO different from someone with even a moderate conservative bent, that communication is very difficult. My “guess” is that they see stealing a handgun in much the same way that a conservative (normal person?) would see getting a speeding ticket, or even a single drunk driving arrest. “Breaking the law”, yes, and worthy of punishment, but not “a criminal”.
To the liberal minded folks doing the news, and to the folks doing the study, “criminal” had some other unstated definition, but it was assumed to be understood by listeners, and it certainly didn’t include stealing a handgun and not getting caught. Any person with a set of values by which “a crime” is something beyond “getting caught and getting convicted” tends to look at such a study, and reporting it without laughter, as “stupid”.
A liberal looks at many things that same way, just from the opposite perspective … the price of oil, the war in Iraq, the economy, judicial appointments, and a whole host of items with the mindset that “well of course they are THIS way, and if you don’t see it that way you are STUPID” … and they often get quite exasperated and usually angry if they are confronted with someone that seems to have rational reasons that they can’t refute, but they KNOW they have to be refutable since they have the right answers!
Why is the country more polarized? Because our ability to select the news we hear is greater than ever before. Many liberals listen to ONLY Public Radio, and read ONLY the NY Times and/or something like Time or Newsweek. Since the 80’s, there are also plenty of Conservatives that ONLY listen to some type of talk radio and get news from Fox News (actually, there they hear BOTH sides … but that tends to make the liberals even angrier), and then pick up a conservative publication or Web sources for the rest of their news.
The schools are less of a mixing area then they used to be … the constant removal of any mention of God, and the focus of teaching “values” like gay sex and promiscuity has led more and more conservatives to private schools or home schooling. Issues like Abortion and Gay Marriage have segregated the churches so the liberal churches tend to be forced further and further down the path of a social message outside the Bible, which drives Christians toward churches that teach the Bible. Thus segregated, the Bible based churches tend to identify with Republicans, and the society based churches tend to identify with the Democrats. (with the Catholics split right down the middle between those that follow the teachings of the church, and those that don’t … but like true liberals, still want the benefits of course).
So we have people listening to different stories and generally not mixing with each other. Amazingly, they become polarized, and start looking at the world in such different ways that they can’t seem to make sense of what each other is saying. My answer is “you have to listen to the people on the other side, and AT LEAST try to understand how they are looking at things. Unfortunately, it looks to me like the division will keep getting wider for at least a good long while, and since not even something as elementary as 9-11 was able to significantly bring the country together, I’m not sure what is likely to change it.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Politics seems to mostly remain blessedly on vacation. Bush has made a “Recess Appointment” of John Bolton, who the Democrats successfully filibustered, preventing confirmation. The web is great, Bill Clinton made 144 recess appointments, including an Attorney General for Civil Rights, and an openly Gay Ambassador to
One of the dings on
I heard second hand that Charles Krauthammer was pointing out that when one looks at the 190 countries in the UN, a good deal of the countries are not the kind of garden spots with excellent manners and civility that your typical very nice Democrat is used to.