Monday, September 22, 2014

"Because we believe in human dignity . . . "

Last week, Keith suggested that the comment "We ought to defend the ME Christians from persecution not because they are Christians, but because we are Christians" was worthy of a post in lieu of commenting on the latest hi-jinks of TAC and Dreher.  In that spirit, a great man spoke on this topic ten years ago yesterday at the UN, saying it much better than I can say it myself: 

... Both the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaim the equal value and dignity of every human life. That dignity is honored by the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, protection of private property, free speech, equal justice and religious tolerance. That dignity is dishonored by oppression, corruption, tyranny, bigotry, terrorism and all violence against the innocent. And both of our founding documents affirm that this bright line between justice and injustice, between right and wrong, is the same in every age and every culture and every nation…

…These rights are advancing across the world. And across the world, the enemies of human rights are responding with violence. Terrorists and their allies believe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Bill of Rights and every charter of liberty ever written are lies to be burned and destroyed and forgotten ...

… All civilized nations are in this struggle together, and all must fight the murderers. ... 

... And the commitments we make must have meaning. When we say serious consequences, for the sake of peace there must be serious consequences. And so a coalition of nations enforced the just demands of the world. Defending our ideals is vital, but it is not enough. Our broader mission as U.N. members is to apply these ideals to the great issues of our time. . .

Because we believe in human dignity, America and many nations have established a global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 

Because we believe in human dignity, we should take seriously the protection life from exploitation under any pretext. …

Because we believe in human dignity, America and many nations have changed the way we fight poverty, curb corruption and provide aid. …

Because we believe in human dignity, the world must have more effective means to stabilize regions in turmoil and to halt religious violence and ethnic cleansing…

Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace. We've witnessed the rise of democratic governments in predominantly Hindu and Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian cultures. …

… When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom and worthy of freedom. … The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls or martial laws or secret police; over time and across the Earth, freedom will find a way. Freedom is finding a way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must continue show our commitment to democracies in those nations. The liberty that many have won at a cost must be secured.

President Bush gave this speech only ten years ago. But in comparison with the recent statements of his successor, this affirmation of belief in human dignity sadly seems like ancient history. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Director Blue Smells a Rat

Director Blue notices "The" "American" "Conservative". RTWT, excerpt:

I recently stumbled across a website that purports to represent a center-right point-of-view called The American Conservative. Initially intrigued -- considering that Americans can always use compelling conservative opinion sites -- I perused the site and quickly noticed something a bit, well, off.

No fewer than five articles on the front page alone represented attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz — the brilliant Constitutional conservative from Texas — and many more attacked Israel and "Islamophobia". The ludicrous crackpot Stephen M. Walt, a notorious purveyor of anti-semitism, is linked as are pseudo-conservatives like Conor Friedersdorf.

We smelled the rat too, Doug. I don't know if TAC "purports to represent a center-right point-of-view". I think they purport to represent something they would call traditional conservatism or authentic conservatism.

It's interesting to read other takes on TAC, and I like Director Blue (Doug Ross) with whom I'm pretty much in agreement. I try to stay away from terms like "false flag", but I agree with and rather like the characterization of TAC as "internet chewing gum" and "honeypot".

Most importantly, Mr. Ross points us to a must-read exposé of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer as the kings of leftist academic antisemitism.

"Won't come back again"

It seemed like at this point in my life I had entirely given up my musical obsessiveness and compulsiveness. I hardly even bought CDs anymore. But I did buy Celebrity Skin when it came out in the fall of '98 and Boys on the Radio was always my fave track.

Call me a chauvinist, but here is the real genius behind Hole.

Tom on the two "heavy coins"

Tom writes:

The homilist at Mass last Sunday -- when, as you recall, the Gospel reading was Matthew 18:15-21 -- made an interesting side suggestion while preaching on fraternal correction. He said it may be that the two hardest things for Christians to practice are fraternal correction and forgiveness.

Put another way, perhaps, the natural or humanistic concept of love most falls short of the fullness of Divine love in terms of correction and forgiveness. And if Christians, who are at least occasionally told they should correct and forgive in love, aren't great at it, what can we expect of those whose culture doesn't regard both fraternal correction and forgiveness to be virtues?

Our new priest, who I count as a very wise man for being a youngster in his late twenties, said much the same thing. It's hard to work up the courage to correct people because they may resent it, then they won't like you anymore. But maybe it will aid us in our task to realize that what you've lost in your unpopular state is that "humanistic love" which, as Tom rightly suggests, is a cheap knockoff of the Top Shelf stuff: Divine Love.

My mold

This was the year Everlong came out, but the video for that tune is just ridiculous. So I'm going with the ol' Bittersweet Symphony.

This was also the year I turned 30, which is the first real decade milestone to my mind, twenty being too close to twenty-one, eighteen and sixteen. My friends who I shared a house with in Pittsburgh took me out to dinner on my birthday and we had a good time. Later at night I woke up to loud noises out on our front porch and peaked out the window to see two people having sex on our lounge chair. We chased them off; I recognized the female as being a local crack whore. It goes to show that anything can happen, and that's what I remember about my 30th birthday.

The next day we tossed the chair. I was sort of miffed; it had been my Grandfather's.

Bittersweet symphony, man.

Twenty Reasons Why Ed FitzGerald Hasn’t Released His Jobs Plan

All the Ohio Dems are moaning about how John Kasich won't debate Ed FitzGerald. One reason might be that he is going to trounce FitzGerald without one, and why risk it?

Another reason is that you really don't need to debate anymore; you can just use BuzzFeed to make your point.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

David Harsanyi on why Ted Cruz was right

Here's the best-written article I've found to sum up how I feel about persecuted Christians in the middle-east, the State of Israel and Ted Cruz getting booed a week ago. Here's the meat of it, but it's worth reading the whole thing:

But when it comes worldly matters, here’s what I think I know: There’s only one country in the Middle East that doesn’t persecute – or allow the persecution of – Christians. And, in today’s world, that makes them an ally of the oppressed.

As Cruz points out:

Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people, you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”

No, Israel’s not going to drop commandos in to rescue the Coptic or send an airlift for the Assyrians– any more than the United States can or would. (Though, sometimes, I wonder why.) But in the Middle East, secularism is far less dangerous to Christians than theocracy. Assad, then, might be a better option than ISIS, but Israel is better option than any of them. Because, generally speaking, Israel shares the same enemies, the same broader geopolitical aims and the same moral outlook. Which, today, makes it the only nation to ally with Christians in the Middle East.*

The best testament to how Jews feel about Middle Eastern Christians can be seen in how they treat them. According to a 2013 Israeli census, the Christian population in Israel has been growing over the years. The only stable Christian population in the Middle East. There are 158,000 Christians in Israel (many of them Arab, and some of them Russians who were offered asylum through The Law of Return). And on average, they were better educated than Jews, and just as prosperous. The Israeli government has actively attempted to better integrate Christian Arabs, who are politically dissimilar from many Muslim Israeli Arabs. It must be working to some extent. According to Time magazine, there’s been a big increase in Arab Christians enlisting in the Israeli army, “doubling the number of each of the preceding three years.” Israel should do more to make it happen.

What threatens the Christian population in Israel? It’s what threatens them everywhere. According to the census takers, “there were fears that Muslim intimidation in cities in northern Israel, where many of them live, are causing large numbers to consider emigrating to the West.”

The reason I like this article so much is it addresses the usual canards thrown around about the views of people like me who support Israel. Harsanyi shoots down the idea that we think Israel can do no wrong or that we prefer secular over religious in general for some insidious reason. I'll take peaceful secular governments over murderous Muslim ones any day, thank you. As far as I can see, the countries being considered aren't Catholic and the call to prayer in these countries does not contain words from The Purpose-Driven Life translated into Arabic.

I don't claim to know why or if Cruz should have said everything he said to that specific audience. But I agree with it in substance. The elephant in the middle of the room remains the question of why do people hate Israel so much. I think there is an answer to this and you may want to go read it here if you wish, with one warning. If you didn't like what David Harsanyi and I have written you will possibly be very angry at what Aryeh Spero writes there.

Ed FitzGerald Splains Hisself

Does anyone else find articles like this hilarious? This is the first of two articles based on an interview with Ed FitzGerald. It pretty much leads off with Ed explaining why he shouldn't not be governor. Excerpt:

"We're going to take all that down and boil it down to saying, 'This is mysterious that someone was dilatory in something that was private,' " FitzGerald said. "Obviously, I should have handled it better, and I don't make any excuses for it, but it isn't a reflection and hasn't been a reflection on how I've conducted myself in public office."

Wait... private? How is a driver's license private? If you get stopped by a police and don't have a driver's license on you can you explain that "well really, officer, it is after all a private matter"? Does that work? Or how about "gee, officer, I'm sorry but I'm just a dilatory kind of guy." I think the whole point of government-issued licenses of any kind is that their nature is public, not private.

The whole "not a reflection on how I've conducted myself" claim is even more laughable. This whole incident is actually an example of how he's conducted himself. I happen to live next door to a public official and she is well-aware that everything done by her reflects on her. This is absolutely discernible in her behavior, bearing and things she chooses to converse about.

Ed FitzGerald has a shovel down there and is determined to dig himself out. Who wants to bet that the second part of the interview mentions Senate Bill 5?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"And now it's drawn me in"

One headlight is cool, too, but I like this video better.

I think bringing down the horse might have been the only new disc I purchased in 1996. It's the only '96 release I remember listening to on disc at any rate. That the the Matchbox 20 year, remember?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This song summed up 1995 for me

It was a really weird year. I think I had 2 dates.

These people make David Byrne circa '77 seem normal by comparison.

The lyrics should discourage going to palm readers.