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Monthly Archives: May 2005

London Blogging

May 13th, 2005 - 11:24 am

We’re at the hotel, and we’re exhausted. The fun part will be trying to stay awake until 9pm…

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A Call For Abuse

May 12th, 2005 - 2:40 pm

Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been obvious that one of my email addresses has been harvested by a spammer, and a particularly stupid one at that. I’m getting at minimum five copies of various Nigerian “please help me move millions of dollars” scams a day, as well as a few “you’ve just won a lottery you’ve never heard of” announcements sprinkled in.

I generally delete these wastes of bandwidth as soon as they show up, but the latest is a new low, even for spam-scams. Check it out:

Dear Friend,

I got your email address from the Internet and please do
not feel bad about this message more especially as I am
from Iraq. I am a widow of one of the former senior
managers of the Iraqi State Oil Organisation in charge
of the United Nations Oil-For-Food Programme.
My Husband and three of our four children were killed
in the U.S. led military campaign during this crises
period leaving my little daughter. Before the dead
of my husband, he reveals to me that he deposited a
luggage containing 12 million US dollars as family
valuables with a local security company here in Baghdad.
What I want is that I need you to help me
receive this luggage when it arrive Europe.
The security company has agreed to help transfer
the luggage to Europe and that I need somebody
to receive it for me since I am not free to travel now.
Please note that this doesn’t involve any risk.
All I need from you is honesty and a promise
not to betray me after you receive the luggage.
Please note that I have decided to take this risk
because the new Iraq government is investigating
all the managers that work at the oil for food
program and I stand to lose the entire fund if I
don’t relocate them.
Note that for security reason, I will not disclose
my identity until you respond to this mail. I look
forward to hear from you soon and I will provide
you with more details.
Thank you.

Personally, I think this particular scumbag deserves to get abused. The address is widowhelp22@netscape.net.

Y’all have fun…

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Think you’re having a tough day? What about this guy:

On a more banal note something has gone wrong with my left leg. For the time being I have avoided limping by overriding the control circuitry with the power of the force, but this is needlessly draining. I have called for a repair droid, but it has been over an hour and there is still no sign.

Later, I will find the man responsible for dispatching the repair droids and crush his trachea with my mind. I also have tentative lunch plans with General Krelcon and his people, possibly in the Corellian quarter.

That’s right–Darth Vader has a blog. And it’s great.

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A Fisking

May 12th, 2005 - 12:00 am

It took 40 years, but today Pat Buchanan hit bottom on the slippery slope from Young Turk conservative columnist to Nazi Apologist troglodyte.

Here’s his latest column for WorldNetDaily, who should have known better than to publish it:

In the Bush vs. Putin debate on World War II, Putin had far the more difficult assignment. Defending Russia’s record in the “Great Patriotic War,” the Russian president declared, “Our people not only defended their homeland, they liberated 11 European countries.”
Those countries are, presumably: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Finland.

To ascertain whether Moscow truly liberated those lands, we might survey the sons and daughters of the generation that survived liberation by a Red Army that pillaged, raped and murdered its way westward across Europe. As at Katyn Forest, that army eradicated the real heroes who fought to retain the national and Christian character of their countries.

So far, so good. Although one doesn’t have to exactly ask those sons and daughters – nor appeal to their “Christian characters” – to find out if their nations were actually liberated. Just look at the record. Look at what happened to Poland’s pre-war government-in-exile. It, like, never returned, dude. Instead, Stalin put his cronies in power. Stalin integrated the Baltic States into the Soviet Union. The list goes on, in all 11 countries, as most anyone with a passing familiarity with postwar history already knows.

Buchanan goes on in a similar vein for another hundred words or so, and he gets no argument from me. So I snipped all that so that we can get on to the meat:

If Yalta was a betrayal of small nations as immoral as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, why do we venerate Churchill and FDR? At Yalta, this pair secretly ceded those small nations to Stalin, co-signing a cynical “Declaration on Liberated Europe” that was a monstrous lie.

Simple: FDR was dying, and so was the British Empire. Neither had the means to fight Soviet expansion, even if they had wanted to. Besides, this country was not going to go to war with an ally, no matter how monstrous, not after having just concluded three years of war and suffering a million casualties. It was Not. Going. To Happen.

Would this nation have been acting justly, if we had not stopped at the Elbe, but continued on to Moscow? Yes.

Would we have, could we have, asked that much more from our Greatest Generation? Flatly, no. Once, when I was even younger and more foolish, I asked my Grandfather why we didn’t do what Patton said — arm the suriving Germans and fight WWIII right then. He said, “Do you know what we went through? Enough already.” This was from a Jew who hated Communism even more than he hated Germans.

More from Goosestep Pat:

As FDR and Churchill consigned these peoples to a Stalinist hell run by a monster they alternately and affectionately called “Uncle Joe” and “Old Bear,” why are they not in the history books alongside Neville Chamberlain, who sold out the Czechs at Munich by handing the Sudetenland over to Germany? At least the Sudeten Germans wanted to be with Germany. No Christian peoples of Europe ever embraced their Soviet captors or Stalinist quislings.

Funny that Buchanan should twice use the Christian Gambit, when his main point comes straight from the British Fascist Party’s (a neo-pagan/nationalist group) 1938 propaganda. When it seemed that war might break out over Hitler’s demand that Czechoslovakia turn the Sudetenland over to Hitler, Oswald Mosley‘s thugs put out a pamphlet asking, “Who cares if a lot of Germans want to get together?”

Who cares, indeed, Pat?

I mean, the Sudeten Germans wanted Hitler, right? So they were better off than the Czechoslovaks, who had Stalin’s tyranny imposed on them. Oops! History tells us that Czechoslovakia was the one nation which democratically installed a Communist government after WWII ended.

Did FDR and Churchill sell out Eastern Europe? You’re damn right they did. What Buchanan wants you to forget is, neither man had much choice. And why does Pat want you to forget it? We’re getting to that.

More:

Other questions arise. If Britain endured six years of war and hundreds of thousands of dead in a war she declared to defend Polish freedom, and Polish freedom was lost to communism, how can we say Britain won the war?

Politics is the art of half a loaf. War is the art of taking as much as the loaf as you can get away with. Britain – exhausted of manpower, capital, and material – came out of the war with her sovereignty intact. Unlike, you know, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic States, etc. I’d call that a win.

And that’s another thing Buchanan left out. Of those 11 nations Stalin “liberated,” five of them were Fascist nations. East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and (marginally) Finland. They took the wrong side. They, however unjustly, suffered the consequences. And another thing. Stalin never got his way in Finland or Yugoslavia – both turned out to be complete pains in the neck.

Onward:

If the West went to war to stop Hitler from dominating Eastern and Central Europe, and Eastern and Central Europe ended up under a tyranny even more odious, as Bush implies, did Western Civilization win the war?

Well, yes. What has become of National Socialism? Where is Soviet Civilization? One was beaten utterly in 1945; the other took a while longer. But both are on the ash heap of history. Compare either “civilization” with where the US is today – or even where France is! – and you’ll know Buchanan is playing you for a dupe.

Worse than a dupe, in fact. Buchanan is trying to play you like that Nazi sympathizer from “The Best Days of Our Lives.” If you’ve never seen the movie (and I can’t find it on Amazon or IMDB), it starred a real WWII veteran who lost his hands in the war. In a famous scene, he’s confronted by an American Nazi who tries to convince him we fought “the wrong guys” in the war.

Tell me: How is Pat different from the American Nazi in that 1946 movie? I mean, other than his oddly close relationship with his sister?

In 1938, Churchill wanted Britain to fight for Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain refused. In 1939, Churchill wanted Britain to fight for Poland. Chamberlain agreed. At the end of the war Churchill wanted and got, Czechoslovakia and Poland were in Stalin’s empire.

How, then, can men proclaim Churchill “Man of the Century”?

Because, unlike certain columnists, they were willing to stand up against Fascism?

True, U.S. and British troops liberated France, Holland and Belgium from Nazi occupation. But before Britain declared war on Germany, France, Holland and Belgium did not need to be liberated. They were free. They were only invaded and occupied after Britain and France declared war on Germany – on behalf of Poland.

Poland, Poland, Poland – Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. By the time WWII ended, it was about a whole lot more than Poland. China ended up a Communist dictatorship, too. Does that mean we didn’t really beat Japan? So did Ethiopia – does that mean Italy won the war, too?

When one considers the losses suffered by Britain and France – hundreds of thousands dead, destitution, bankruptcy, the end of the empires – was World War II worth it, considering that Poland and all the other nations east of the Elbe were lost anyway?

I dunno, – let’s use Buchanan’s Formula For Victory and ask a Briton or a Frenchman. If they answer “Bloody ‘ell” or “Oiu!” we’ll call it a “yes.” And if they reply “Ja!” we’ll chalk it up as a “no.”

If the objective of the West was the destruction of Nazi Germany, it was a “smashing” success. But why destroy Hitler? If to liberate Germans, it was not worth it. After all, the Germans voted Hitler in.

Not all wars are fought for liberation – ask a Cherokee. Whoops! Something tells me Buchanan isn’t ready to turn Florida back over to any of those heathen redskins any time soon.

Seriously though – I am serious. Some wars are fought for no purpose greater than destroying something. Sometimes that something is evil (Nazi Germany), and sometimes it isn’t (at least half of our Indian Wars). Pat Buchanan would have you think the Trail of Tears was more just than D-Day.

If it was to keep Hitler out of Western Europe, why declare war on him and draw him into Western Europe? If it was to keep Hitler out of Central and Eastern Europe, then, inevitably, Stalin would inherit Central and Eastern Europe.

Oh for God’s sake. At the time France and Britain decalred war on Hitler, he was allied to Stalin, thanks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which Pat already mentioned.

For that matter, why would Osama strike New York City, when he knew such an attack would invite us in to his home base in Afghanistan? Why would Pat’s beloved South secede from the Union, would it would inevitably bring the Union tearing through Georgia? Why would… oh, you get the point. Wars are often started for stupid, self-negating purposes. But defeating fascism was neither stupid nor self-negating.

Was that worth fighting a world war – with 50 million dead?

I don’t subscribe to the “body-count calculus” of war. Some evils have to be fought, no matter what the cost. Would Buchanan be bitching about a million dead “Christian” Americans, if we were fighting an invading army of pagans? Two million? Of course not.

Let’s look at the world, if the West had chosen not to fight in 1939.

We have two possible scenarios. In the first one, Hitler’s Germany beats Stalin’s Russia.

Buchanan’s beloved Poland? It is stripped of Jews, and then of Poles. Poland, for all of Pat’s protestations, ceases to exists. Then something similar happens to Russia. If you don’t know, Hitler had grand designs on European Russia. 100 million Russians were to be either killed, deported to Siberia, or used as slave labor. Everything up to the Ural Mountains (including the Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States) was to be incorporated into the Greater German Reich. Anyone not cooperating was, as already described, to be shot, enslaved, or deported.

In this scenario, would it matter if the Low Countries or France had never been invaded? Hardly. Faced with a Empire greater than any even Napoleon ever dreamed of, Western Europe would have become, well, exactly what it became under real-timeline German occupation.

These are historical facts. Buchanan knows them. He’s hoping you don’t.

And if Stalin won?

Things would have been nearly as bad – but still worse than they were in reality. Instead of an Iron Curtain “from Stettin in the Baltic to Triest in the Adriatic,” Stalin would have controlled all of Europe. Perhaps Britain would have remained free, as a Western Cuba off the coast of the Soviet Empire.

And Pat’s beloved Poland? Yeah, the Poles would’ve been free, all right – free to have their faces smashed by Stalin’s boot.

These are historical facts. Buchanan knows them. He’s hoping you don’t.

Please notice that the Hitler Wins scenario – the one for which Pat pines – is even darker than the Stalin Wins scenario. Stalin, for all his evil ways, never made plans to deport entire nations to Siberia, nor did he send entire classes of people to gas chambers. Stalin “only” wanted to impose communism, no matter how many millions of people he had to kill to do it.

Hitler’s murderous desires were far greater.

And if Pat Buchanan, the Nazi apologist, has decided to forget that…

…I hope you won’t.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll tells me the movie is “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which explains why I couldn’t locate it on IMDB or Amazon.

THOUGHT: It’s been a long time since I’ve asked for a Google Bomb. So if you decide to link to this piece, use the phrase “Nazi Apologist” in there somewhere.

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One Last Thing…

May 11th, 2005 - 10:07 pm

…before we head off to London.

I’m leaving you with a little parting gift: A full-frontal fisking. Look for it around midnight Mountain Time.

NOTE: Big thanks to Will Collier for subbing for me. Doubly so for getting an early start. Quadruple-y so for doing such a bang-up job of it.

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Waka-Waka-Waka

May 11th, 2005 - 5:42 pm

Pac-Man is 25 years old.

I still remember the first time I played it, in an arcade at the old Denver airport. I was on spring vacation with my folks, and I damn near missed our flight home because of hanging around that arcade to play Pac-Man and the gigantic pinball machine they had in there.

Thank goodness for MAME–think I’ll have a game right now.

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Betting On One Horse

May 11th, 2005 - 3:21 pm

Yesterday, United Air Lines was allowed to dump it’s pension plan on the federal government. That’s bad news for pretty much everybody except UAL’s accountants and execs: employees and pensioners are going to get considerably smaller payments than they’d been promised, and everybody who pays taxes gets to pick up the tab. A number of other airlines, including Delta and US Air, are considering doing the same thing, and you have to think beleaguerd Ford and General Motors bean-counters are also looking enviously at the massive chunk of accounts payable UAL just scratched off its balance sheet.

I don

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Pod On The Dark Side

May 11th, 2005 - 3:13 pm

Sorry to have been away for a while. Like Steve, I’ve been busy, with a lot of work, travel, houseguests, and general life going on. Unlike Steve, I’m not about to be a father anytime soon (right, honey?), but I’m quite happy to add my congrats on the impending VodkaRugrat. I’ll endeavor (endeavour?) to pop in more often while the happy couple is gallavanting around England.

A dorky item, noted in passing (and you can look forward to several of these, as we’re nigh upon a High Holy Week of Geekdom):

John Podhoretz slammed “Revenge Of The Sith” over at NRO. As much as I generally like Pod The Younger’s political columns, I’ve found the guy to be a pretty crappy movie critic. He hates anything associated with comics (and what is “Star Wars,” if not a comic writ large?), and wrote six years ago that “The Phantom Menace” was better than either “Return of the Jedi” or “The Empire Strikes Back.” As Martini Boy once noted of Roger Ebert in a similar context, that particular opinion is indicitive of having one’s head shoved so far up one’s arse, one is able to lick one’s own esophagus.

And besides, he actually likes watching “American Idol.” If that’s not a taste disqualifier, I don’t know what is…

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London Calling

May 11th, 2005 - 9:47 am

We’re almost ready for London, baby.

About half our clothes are organized, the suitcases are out, the house/puppy sitters have notices and instructions posted, the passports are valid, the travel documents are ready…

We haven’t forgotten anything, have we?

Well, there is that Anglosphere Blog Bash on Saturday. That sure won’t suck.

I’m bringing the laptop this trip, so expect at least some photoblogging while we’re gone. Don’t, however, expect any Friday Recipes of English food. I’m just sayin’ is all.

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Help

May 10th, 2005 - 12:12 am

For no reason I can pinpoint, I’ve been missing my old radio days. Got so bad, I decided it was time to start podcasting. You know, talking into a microphone like a have an actual radio-sized audience, then posting the resulting MP3 file for you to listen to.

If I really decide to do this thing, it’ll be the unholy offspring of vanity and nostalga. But, hey, who doesn’t love a baby?

NOTE: After three-plus years of blogging, a little fact just hit me. When I was doing small-market morning radio for damn near minimum wage, I had a bigger audience than I get here on the internet. And let me tell you: I’m a lazy blogger, but I was an even lazier broadcaster. Puts things in perspective, no? On the other hand, I like you people a lot more than I liked most of my neighbors in Humboldt County, CA.

Anyway, I’m looking for a good mic. Something less than a hundred bucks, yet won’t pick up all my popping P’s. An inexpensive, yet forgiving, microphone. A cheap hooker with a heart of gold I can talk dirty into without having to pay extra.

Got any advice?

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Dying Is Easy

May 9th, 2005 - 11:28 pm

So I was about to say something nasty about The Huffington Daily Gazetter Bugle Post Blog Thingy, but clicked over to Lileks first. Naturally, he beat me to the punch:

…I

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Baby Due Date

May 9th, 2005 - 10:45 pm

Melissa is due in approximately 230 days.

Not that we’re counting or anything, but I do have a little Excel spreadsheet going.

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Talk About Burying the Lede

May 9th, 2005 - 10:36 pm

One of my best friends here in town started a blog months ago, without ever once telling me.

Alex, dude, you’ve got to network, man!

Anyway, check out SciFiPundit if you like your bloggers even geekier than Will Collier or me.

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Notice

May 9th, 2005 - 10:22 pm

Steve Lovelady is at it again.

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Moral Exhaustion

May 9th, 2005 - 1:18 am

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Those are truths, and they are self evident, and I’m just plain tired of defending them against those who believe they are neither, and who cannot

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Notice

May 2nd, 2005 - 10:33 pm

Busy here working off what little ass I have.

Two muni bonds I’d owned for a decade came due, and I’m trying to find something to replace the 6% tax-free income I’d been getting — and in today’s market, that ain’t easy. Well nigh impossible.

So I’m working too much, playing too little, and blogging not at all. Not to mention really, really cranky.

Grr.

PS If I haven’t answered your email, it’s because I’ve barely looked at my inbox the last two weeks. It’s been that kind of time. When you’re spending the principal on the mortgage instead of the income, email becomes a luxury. Grr, again.

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