Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hollywood’s Hollowness

Pat Sajak (Wheel of Fortune) attacks Hollywood: “So I’m trying to understand the nearly universal lack of outrage coming from Hollywood over the brutal murder of Dutch director, Theo van Gogh, who was shot on the morning of November 2, while bicycling through the streets of Amsterdam. The killer then stabbed his chest with one knife and slit his throat with another.”
Sajak’s theories:” Perhaps they are afraid that their protests would put them in danger. That, at least, is a defensible position. If I were Michael Moore, I would much rather rail against George W. Bush, who is much less likely to have me killed, than van Gogh’s murderer and the threat to creative freedom he brings. Besides, a man of Moore’s size would provide a great deal of “bulletin board” space.
”Maybe they think it would be intolerant of them to criticize the murder, because it would put them on the side of someone who criticized a segment of the Arab world. And, after all, we are often reminded that we need to be more tolerant of others, especially if they’re not Christians or Jews.
”There’s another possibility; one that seems crazy on the surface, but does provide an explanation for the silence, and is also in keeping with the political climate in Hollywood. Is it just possible that there are those who are reluctant to criticize an act of terror because that might somehow align them with President Bush, who stubbornly clings to the notion that these are evil people who need to be defeated? Could the level of hatred for this President be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against?“...Read entire piece here. I think he's right on all counts.

A New "New World Order"

Throughout the 1990's we as a nation largely ignored foreign affairs. Although it is tempting to blame this solely on President Clinton, the reality is that few of us were much interested. With the rise of the Internet and the "new economy" (which famously didn't exactly pan out), many of us were far more concerned with our stock options than with Bosnia.

And, to some extent, this is understandable. We had just been through more than forty years of Cold War. When we finally won, we were anxious to spend out "peace dividend." We had ignored pressing domestic matters far too long, we told ourselves, and it was time to address such matters as health care and welfare reform.

We conservatives rightly blame Clinton for neglecting the threat of terrorism. As Dick Morris tells it, Clinton's eyes would "glaze over" whenever the subject came up. When he did confront it, his actions were those of one more looking to avoid domestic trouble than one who was truely interested in killing al Qaeda terrorists. His much-derided modus operandi was to fire cruise missiles at suspected targets in the desert. In retrospect, all this achieved was to instill in the terrorists the belief that we were a paper tiger.

But to be fair, if he had mounted a serious attack on, say, Afghanistan, Clinton would have faced problems at home. His own party would have criticized him for taking attention off of "pressing domestic issues such as health care," conservatives would have accused him of "wagging the dog," (not without some justification), and the general public would have worried about the effect on the stock market. I'm not entirely letting him off the hook here, as he could have and should have done more. But he couldn't have convinced us to wage a War on Terror if he had wanted to.

An Awakened Nation

The 1990's were therefore an "interim" period. September 11 woke us up. Perhaps the 1990's were necessary, in the sense of halftime at a football game. It allowed us to "rest up" for the current war. To illustrate, imagine that the 1993 attack had destroyed the World Trade Center towers. The president tells us that we must resolve to fight a war against terror, one that might last a long time. The reaction of the country might well have been "oh no, not again."

As it was, we awoke from out slumber with a start, looked about, and immediately set outselves to the task at hand. Yes, there are naysayers. Yes, many do not think that we should treat the situation as a war. But the results of the last election put to rest the notion that the country as a whole is not willing to fight a long and hard battle.

The Fall of the "Old World Order"

President George H W Bush famously proclaimed the emergence of a "New World Order" during his presidency. His successful diplomacy during the run-up to the Gulf War seemed to validate this. Appearances, however, were deceiving.

As the 1990's wore on, it became more and more clear that the institutions that were developed during the Cold War were at best inadequate for the new challenges we faced, and at worst were positively harmful. NATO was developed to "hold the fort" against the Soviet Union, and this it did quite well. But it is wholely unsuitable to address challenges outside of Europe. Likewise, the UN floundered under the "leadership of Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali. For a more complete discussion of these failures and some possible solutions to them see my article here.

And End to Mindless Multilateralism

New ideas and new institutions are needed if we are to successfully confront the challenges of this century. While the left endlessly intones the mantra of "multilateralism," President Bush indicated yesterday that he will have none of it:
"The success of multilateralism is measured not merely by following a process, but by achieving results," Mr. Bush said. "The objective of the U.N. and other institutions must be collective security, not endless debate."
While the President did not discuss specifics, he did outline principles that should serve as a basis for further discussion:
"Defense alone is not a sufficient strategy," he said. "There is only one way to deal with enemies who plot in secret and set out to murder the innocent and the unsuspecting: We must take the fight to them."

The president declared that multilateralism has, of late, resulted in little action. Although he vowed to make an effort to build coalitions with foreign powers, he said those efforts must be geared toward results.
This is exactly what a president should be doing. We do not want or need a detail-oriented intellectual as our national leader. Liberals have developed a "cult of intelligence," as if IQ alone made for great greatness. Yet for all his smarts, Senator Kerry was unable to articulate a coherent policy even on as important a matter as Iraq. Speeches on values and ideas are what we need to hear from our leaders. President Bush has done us well by defining some important ones.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


by Joe Blundo The Columbus Dispatch 11/16/04
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O'Reilly.
Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota.
The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"
In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them cross the border and leave them to fend for themselves. "A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."
When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.
In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies. "I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"
In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said. "We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is determined to reach out."
(hat tip: DizzyGirl)