Thursday, March 31, 2011

Foolish Libyan Intervention Gets Even More Idiotic

Maybe you thought the Libyan intervention was a bad idea, that it wasn't in the U.S. interest, and just wasn't necessary. But at least a case could be made that getting rid of Gaddafi would be a positive thing, and that the intervention made his exit more likely. It made some sort of sense if you looked at it in that light. But now we find that instead of supporting the rebels, we might fight against both sides. No this isn't from Onion News Network.
Members of the NATO alliance have sternly warned the rebels in Libya not to attack civilians ... the coalition has told the rebels that the fog of war will not shield them from possible bombardment by NATO planes and missiles, just as the regime’s forces have been punished.

“We’ve been conveying a message to the rebels that we will be compelled to defend civilians, whether pro-Qaddafi or pro-opposition,” said a senior Obama administration official. “We are working very hard behind the scenes with the rebels so we don’t confront a situation where we face a decision to strike the rebels to defend civilians.”

Can this war get any more idiotic? Rather than acting rationally, supporting the rebels -- the side we chose to intervene on -- and helping them overthrow Gaddafi, we are going to pretend that we are really there to protect civilians, and are now threatening to bomb our own side. Seriously. So instead of just killing Gaddafi-supporting civilians, we'll now kill rebel civilians -- all in the name of "protecting civilians." Even the New York Times has to ask, "Who in Libya is a civilian?" The clowns running this country apparently didn't even consider that question when they signed onto a bad UN Resolution. Anyone with the slightest clue about what happens during rebellions and civil wars knows how difficult is is to separate civilians from combatants. I wrote about this issue before.

HOT5 Daily 3/31/2011

1. "Libya is not Rwanda" Debunking the overblown rhetoric of Obama and Libyan intervention supporters.

Representative Sample: Libya is not Rwanda. Rwanda was genocide. Libya is a civil war. The Rwandan genocide was a premeditated, orchestrated campaign. The Libyan civil war is a sudden, unplanned outburst of fighting.

2. "Obama’s Energy Plan" It that's what you want to call it.

Representative Sample: This isn’t an energy policy. It’s a pack of lies, political posturing, payoffs for allies and disdain for everyday Americans. In short, it’s just more of the same.

3. "Libya: Are there "good" civilians and "bad" civilians?" The idea that we are in Libya to protect civilians gets sillier every day.

Representative Sample: one has to assume that the critical nature of ensuring Libyan civilians aren’t harmed is much more of a concern in Benghazi than in Tripoli.

4. "Latin America’s Friends of Tyranny Club" Remember Obama's nonsense about how the "international community" had to intervene in Libya? What about these members of the so-called community?

Representative Sample: Latin America’s club of tyranny is rallying to defend the legitimacy of a tyrant. Its aim is foremost to impugn international intervention in Libya and build a counter-coalition in defense of Qadhafi. It rejects Western humanitarian rationales and claims to see only the naked force and greed of colonial/imperial powers.

5. "Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death" Why many people have negative views of Islam and Muslims, reason #9078376868.

Representative Sample: Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why U.S. Intervention in Libya Was Unnecessary

I was going to respond directly to Obama's speech, but it is so long that I thought I'd focus instead on someone who agrees with the president: Marc Lynch at He has a post up called, "Why Obama Had to Act in Libya."
had the international community not acted when it did, thousands would have been slaughtered as the world watched.
First of all, it is always useful to point out that there never has been, and still isn't an "international community." And this mythical beast did not intervene in Libya. The U.S., Britain, and France did, along with some token support. There are major powers such as China who opposed intervention.

Second, I'm skeptical of the worst case scenario of mass slaughter in Benghazi. Lynch is merely repeating an assertion without much evidence behind it.
The effects of that decision would have been felt across the Middle East, where America would have been deemed to have abandoned the people struggling for freedom in the Arab world.
America is going to be blamed by those who want to blame it for something, regardless of what we do. And it is far from clear exactly what Libyan rebels are fighting for other than getting rid of Gaddafi.
And it would have quite simply been wrong.
Another unfounded assumption. Libya is in no way our responsibility. There would have been nothing wrong with recognizing that and choosing not to intervene in its civil war.
My conversations with administration officials, including but not limited to the one recounted by the indefatigable Laura Rozen, convinced me that they believed that a failure to act when and how they did would have led to a horrific slaughter in Benghazi and then across Libya.
Lynch is easily taken in by administration propaganda. Obviously administration officials are going to stress the absolute worst-case to justify intervention.
There was no mad rush to war, and certainly no master plan to invade Libya to grab its oil.
The only people that think there was are the usual anti-American types. That charge is so ridiculous it isn't even worth a response.
The administration resisted intervening militarily until they had no choice
Of course it had a choice. It chose to intervene in a civil war where no clear American interests were at stake. It there were, why was it so difficult to define them? Why did the president wait so long to even offer up a muddled rationale in his speech last night?
And my conversations with Arab activists and intellectuals, and my monitoring of Arab media and internet traffic, have convinced me that the intervention was both important and desirable.
What Arab activists and intellectuals think should be one of the very last considerations as to why we should commit U.S. forces to intervene in someone's civil war.
The administration understood, better than their critics, that Libya had become a litmus test for American credibility and intentions, with an Arab public riveted to al-Jazeera.
Oh please. Does Lynch really think the U.S. is going to get some sort of credit for its actions in Libya?
This administration is all too aware of the dangers of mission creep, escalation, and the ticking clock on Arab and international support which so many of us have warned against. They don't want another Iraq, as Obama made clear.... even if it is not obvious that they can avoid one.
Don't make me laugh. This administration is clueless and oblivious. They can't even articulate a cohesive message or offer any sort of effective leadership. Why should we believe a foreign policy incompetent like Obama has the slightest idea about the unintended consequences of his actions?
Thanks to al-Jazeera's intense focus on Libya, literally the whole Arab world was watching, dictators and publics alike. Not acting would have been a powerful action which would have haunted America's standing in the region for a decade.
Not acting would have sent a much needed message the U.S. doesn't intervene in areas when its national interests are not at stake. Lynch has a ridiculously naive and misplaced faith in rationality of the Arab world. Again, we aren't going to get any more support because of this action.
many of the same people now denouncing the intervention would have been up in arms at America's indifference to Arab life -- it is all too easy to imagine denunciations such as "the dream of the Cairo speech died in the streets of Benghazi as Barack Obama proved that he does not care about Muslim lives."
Thanks for making my point. The same people saying one thing anti-American, would be saying something else anti-American. Our intervention or lack thereof just changes the focus of their anti-Americanism, not the substance.

The rest of the article partially undermines his own argument. These lines stand out.
The administration hasn't done a great job communicating its position, particularly on the question of whether or not Qaddafi's departure is the goal (I personally think it has to be). While I hope that today's London meeting will produce more clarity on a political path forward, I haven't seen much to suggest one yet.
Yeah, those are some big understatements.

The bottom line is that no one has put forth a convincing argument for why intervening in Libya was necessary for U.S. interests. In my opinion, the weakness of Lynch's arguments, which are based largely on exaggerating the effects of non-intervention, and wishful thinking about its supposedly positive effect on the Arab world, reinforce the case that U.S. involvement was not necessary. This action is a example of typical liberal "do-gooder" policy. It's rooted primarily in emotionalism and the idea that we have to "do something," even if that something isn't well-thought out, sets bad precedents, and risks all sorts of unintended consequences.

HOT5 Daily 3/30/2011

1. "Carthago Delenda Est" Since we are in Libya, how about we don't settle for another half-measure?

Representative Sample: There is no substitute for victory. Khaddafi's regime must be destroyed. Otherwise, we risk having future generations deal with an even worse problem in Libya.

2. "What Do You Mean by Democracy?" Always a good question to ask. A response to Roger Cohen's NYT article.

Representative Sample: The trouble with Cohen’s advocacy for democracy is that he is incapable of drawing the one meaningful distinction between groups bent on Islamist domination such as the Brotherhood and Hezbollah and a genuinely democratic though deeply flawed party like Shas.


Representative Sample: they did not start out to be looters, leeching off the productive; but they learned to survive and thrive in the environment of pull and privilege that big, intrusive governments create. They learned to buy votes and favors; to get the big government contracts and the big government's protection of their 'special' status.

4. "The Church of Christ Sadist (2)" Examples of the results of Christian Science doctrine.

Representative Sample: Another sadistic Christian sect (see our post immediately below, The Church of Christ Sadist) lets children die in agony.

5. "Obama’s Speech A Profile In Disingenuousness" Links to a good Washington Post article.

Representative Sample: So who is in charge in Libya? The US, of course – just with a different flag officer wearing a different hat while warming a different chair. This remains a US operation.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/29/2011

1. "Obama on Libya: Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind" This reaction is similar to my own.

Representative Sample: Obama asserted on multiple occasions that it was in our “national interest” to intervene in Libya. Why? Well, it’s still not entirely clear.

2. "Obama Accomplished His Aims" Here's a more positive take on the speech from the right.

Representative Sample: his speech tonight accomplished its aims. It sounded reasonable and thoughtful. Its tone was right. Yes, there was a fundamental lack of logic in it, but that's for the intellectuals to parse. From the standpoint of an ordinary watcher, Obama came across as presidential and focused. I'm not saying it was a great speech by any means, but it was a relatively effective one.

3. "The Syrian Time Bomb" While everyone is focused on Libya, what's going on in Syria?

Representative Sample: On all these fronts -- Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel -- Syria is a key player. But its internal problems now threaten to reshuffle the cards, adding to the general sense of insecurity and latent violence in the region. And of all the threats facing the Middle East, perhaps the greatest -- greater even than of another Arab-Israeli clash -- is that of rampant sectarianism

4. "Israel deploys 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket system" I'm sure it will get some live testing sooner rather than later.

Representative Sample: Israel on Sunday stationed the first batteries of its "Iron Dome" short-range missile defence system in the south of the country, but stressed the initial deployment was experimental.

5. "Defamation of Religion resolution finally dropped at the United Nations" It's about time.

Representative Sample: A 12-year campaign by Islamic countries to have religion protected from “defamation” via a series of United Nations resolutions finally came off the rails yesterday when Western countries and their Latin American allies – strong opponents of the defamation concept – joined Muslim and African states in backing a new approach

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Monday, March 28, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/28/2011

1. "Developing a New American Foreign Policy" Some excellent points.

Representative Sample: What Obama is doing, frankly, is pushing for the appearance of short-term economic recovery that’s brought on by dumping huge sums of government money (borrowed from our international creditors) into the economy.

2. "Keep It Clean" Good article on the CIA and how it has been emasculated.

Representative Sample: over the last three decades, the CIA has come under a lot of criticism for not being able to do their job. That has often been true, and the main reason is the climate of fear (of prosecution for something later declared politically incorrect). As a result, intelligence operatives and their bosses see survival as a matter of not taking chances.

3. "Republicans are more scientifically literate than Democrats or independents are" Although some of the poll questions reveal overall frightening levels of scientific illiteracy. More than a quarter of the population thinks astrology is scientific?

Representative Sample: It is often insinuated by major media sources that Republicans are less scientifically literate than Democrats are, primarily because of the former's skepticism over evolution and opposition to taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. Jason Malloy dispelled this notion several years ago, but I wanted to present the GSS data on the topic in a more concrete and packaged form.

4. "The Morality Test for God" God fails.

Representative Sample: God is, by most accounts, good. So here’s the problem. There are countless instances where, if a human acted with regard to some instance of suffering or tragedy the way God apparently acts, then we would readily and without doubt condemn that person as morally wicked. That is, if a person acts like God acts, there would be no doubt in our minds that that person was morally evil.

5. "B-2s, Libya, and the Economics of Deterrence" What are B-2s for?

Representative Sample: The B-2 has now been used in four different conflicts: the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. I can understand why people might think this makes the aircraft an expensive white elephant, but when you start to try to understand what it's for the picture is rather more complex.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amazing Foreign Policy Incompetence

When Obama was running for president, many pointed out that his qualifications for the office were minimal, that he had no executive experience, and that he clearly knew nothing about foreign policy. In my opinion foreign policy is the most important aspect of the presidency. In domestic affairs, the president can advocate policies and has all sorts of executive power to appoint unelected officials. But ultimately he needs Congress to pass bills.

Since World War II, Congress has surrendered its constitutional power to declare war to the president, essentially giving him the authority to commit the U.S. to war, whether we call the conflict one or not. This great power invested in a single individual should never have been given to a lightweight like Obama. This was evident to anyone who cared to notice before the election. But too many people preferred to go with "hope and change."

I've pointed out Obama's foreign policy cluelessness on numerous occasions, but even I'm surprised at the staggering level of incompetence on display regarding the Libyan situation. It's one thing to make a bad strategic decision. Even someone well-versed in foreign policy can do that. You can make a bad decision on intervening in a war, but handle it in an effective manner. Instead, the Obama administration is projecting incompetence and a lack of leadership. Consider the following from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

asked on ABC's This Week if the US military might be involved in the fighting through 2011, he said, "I don't think anybody knows the answer to that." ... Gates acknowledged that Libya is “not a vital national interest to the United States.” ... But Gates, Clinton, and Obama in his radio address Saturday insisted that the situation in Libya is important to US interests – including stability in the Middle East and northern Africa.

How is it possible that the administration can't even craft a coherent message? I know it's incompetent in foreign policy, but I thought Obama was at least an effective political operator. How do send you send your defense secretary out to answer questions about an unpopular war -- and unpopular even amongst the base of your own party -- and have him admit that the action isn't in the U.S. vital interest? Why wouldn't you just define U.S. vital interests as whatever your argument is for intervention? You say something like this:

It is in the U.S. vital interest that a brutal dictator hostile to the U.S. not be permitted to reestablish control in Libya. The stability of the Middle East as a whole is crucial to U.S. interests. After carefully evaluating the situation we came to the conclusion that intervening in Libya, in conjunction with European allies, other coalition partners, and under the authority of the U.N. resolution was in the best interests of the United States. In this case we made the judgment that sitting back and doing nothing, allowing Gaddafi to massacre his own people and regain complete control, was unacceptable.

I don't even believe that and I can come up with that sort of typical foreign policy statement. Why can't Obama and his crew? Amazing incompetence.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/25/2011

1. "Implanted brain chip still ticking after 1,000 days" Amazing. Science fiction becomes reality.

Representative Sample: the investigational BrainGate system is a combination of hardware and software that directly senses electrical signals produced by neurons in the brain that control movement. By decoding those signals and translating them into digital instructions, the system is being evaluated for its ability to give people with paralysis control of external devices such as computers, robotic assistive devices, or wheelchairs.

2. "Barack Obama’s 10 Commandments of War" What happens when you elect someone utterly clueless about foreign policy to direct your country.

Representative Sample: Congressional pre-approval is always a Constitutional requirement —when the president is Republican.

3. "Top 10 Failures of ObamaCare After One Year" And then there is domestic policy.

Representative Sample: ObamaCare is projected to cost at least $2.4 trillion when it is fully implemented. Instead of Obama’s promise to reduce the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that ObamaCare will increase the federal deficit by $260 billion through 2019.

4. "Islamic Group Places $2.2 Million Bounty on Head of Koran-burning Florida Pastor" Remember when this was such a big deal that the President and General Petraeus had to weigh in? Apparently doing the same thing at a different time just wasn't quite as significant -- except to Islamic fanatics of course.

Representative Sample: No sooner had Jones fired up his Bic than an Islamic “court” in Pakistan found him guilty of the crime of desecrating the religion’s most holy book. The court then issued a fatwa—loosely translated as “death order—against him, as is their wont.

5. "Not Dead Yet: Predictions of Religion’s Extinction Miss the Mark" I agree. Religion isn't going away.

Representative Sample: As long as human nature persists, man will be wrestling with God. In other words, religion is a permanent feature of the human race.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Actor Was Waterboarded for 10 Hours

British actor Trevor Williams, who played a private security contractor in the 2010 movie "Route Irish," recently revealed that he endured 10 hours of real waterboarding during the filming. The experience left him with "weeks of panic attacks." Why would he do such a thing?
to ensure the scenes looked right, he had decided to undergo the controversial torture technique for real on camera. ... to protect him, the film crew had worked out a safe way of waterboarding, but it soon became clear it was not working. ..."So I made the decision, along with Mark and one of the crew, to just do it. ..."I trusted them enough to come up with a scenario where Mark would do it and if I raised my thumbs, the crew would run over and release me."
So let's review. A British actor voluntarily submits himself to 10 hours of waterboarding. He endures a fully authentic version purely in the service of artistic integrity. But U.S. use of this same technique to interrogate a captured terrorist leader and enemy of America such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a horrible war crime that can't be justified. Is it any wonder that I laugh at people who hold that view?

One other point... Although I'm on record stating that I consider waterboarding to be a mild form of torture (as torture goes), I also understand why many supporters of the technique claim that it is just a harsh form of interrogation and not real torture. The case of Trevor Williams serves as a prime example of why those people have a reasonable argument. Would Williams have decided to have electrodes attached to his testicles and undergone ten hours of electrical shocks? Would he have let the film crew strap him to a rack and had them crank it in the service of realism? Somehow I doubt it.

[My response to the waterboarding isn't real torture argument is that certain "things", such as torture, can have degrees. The fact that a "thing" is of a lesser degree does not necessarily render it something other than a "thing."]

HOT5 Daily 3/24/2011

1. "How to Blight a War" A concise summary.

Representative Sample: Have I exaggerated Barack and Billery's Wacky Adventure? Have I misstated the sequence of events? I stand willing to be instructed in what really happened -- which must surely be less insane than it looks to us, the observing, here in Sector 001.

2. "Terrorism Flourishes Because It Brings Public Relations' and Political Gains" Palestinian terrorism that is. They are used to being rewarded and excused for it, so why not keep doing it?

Representative Sample:events in the region and the international reaction encourage terrorism. No surprise. If terrorism is not only unpunished but not even criticized internationally--even rewarded with sympathy for the terrorists' cause and criticism of Israel, the victim--why shouldn't terrorist attacks increase?

3. "Lefties defend Obamacare" And do a bad job of it.

Representative Sample: Attack, attack, attack because they cannot defend a government that wants to strangle the best health system in the world.

4. "Revisited: The Drumbeat of 'Humanitarian Intervention?'" Excellent points.

Representative Sample: Selecting places in which humanitarian intervention are acceptable is tough work. However, if one begins with the premise that the intervening nations have nothing to gain by such intervention then justification seems to come easier to some minds.

5. "Hypocrisy on the fly: Obama does Latin America" It's a full-time job trying to keep track of Obama's hypocrisy.

Representative Sample: President Obama had nothing but praise for Chile’s democracy and economic miracle, declaring it a model “for the region and world.” So why is he obstructing the same reforms in the U.S. that gave Chile its success?

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reasons for Disbelief

Over at Secular News Daily there is an article by Gordon Douglas called "Reasons for disbelief: The top ten reasons I am an atheist." I always find those sorts of discussions or essays interesting, so I thought I'd comment on his reasons and see if they correlated with my own.

Other Religions Exist. That one's not convincing. You can believe your own religion is the only true one. That idea had little influence on my atheism.

Faith is Rewarded to the Same Degree as Disbelief. True, but not something I really thought about until after I had already lost faith.

God Can't Be Proven. I would put that instead as, there is no convincing evidence of God/gods. This is obviously a key influence on most atheists being atheists.

The God of the Bible Can be Disproved. Not true. Even though the God of the Bible appears purely fictional as Douglas notes, it is theoretically possible that he could exist.

Religion is, By Nature, Deluding. Absolutely. But again, that's something you see much more clearly after you leave it.

Science is Obviously Better. Except that there are plenty of people who seem to have no problem being scientists, or pro-science while still being religious. This had no real impact on me becoming an atheist.

The Origins of All Religions are Clear. Yes. Once you really start thinking about it and questioning it, the idea that religion is just man-made starts to creep in -- unless you beat it back with irrational faith.

There's No Difference. Between religion and a so-called "relationship with God." Yes, this false assertion grated on my nerves even when I was a child. Why was it that my nominally religious friends saw our family as very religious, yet I was told we weren't following a religion, and that "true" Christianity wasn't about being religious?

Religion is Destructive. This was never a reason for me, and I think it can be overstated. Religion also has positive effects.

Christians Don't Really Get Persecuted. This isn't as stupid as it appears, just a bad summary line. What he means is that Christians in America are not persecuted as some claim to be. That's true, but had nothing to do with me becoming an atheist.

Evil Exist in the World. Yes, the problem of evil has probably made many atheists, along with all related questions regarding the supposed nature of God. From a philosophical standpoint, I'd put that whole category as the number one reason I rejected Christianity. Outright atheism came later though.

HOT5 Daily 3/23/2011

1. "Comparing Wars: Libya and Iraq" Far different situations, but still interesting.

Representative Sample: By no means is Libya a simple issue, nor do these facts necessarily argue against the actions taken by the United States, but it is important to take this opportunity to put our last major military intervention in Iraq into perspective by considering just a few facts

2. "“No Country Leans on Upper-Income Households as Much as U.S.”" You'd never know it if you listen to the class warfare propaganda from the left.

Representative Sample:Seems like some people — fellow citizens all — are already paying their “fair share” and then some.

3. "The Left and the Near Enemy" Excellent analysis.

Representative Sample: For the Leftists there are no true external enemies, every problem in the world is ultimately caused or controlled by someone within our own society. For Leftists, there is only the near enemy, the people they see everyday.

4. "Existentialist textbook sticker" Pretty good.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

5. "Palestinians Don't Want Their Children Learning About The Holocaust" Not surprising. It might interfere with instilling anti-Semitism.

Representative Sample: The Hamas government in Gaza has angrily reacted to a plan by the UN to teach Palestinian schoolchildren about the Holocaust.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That Didn't Take Long

Last Friday I wrote a post arguing that we were setting a bad precedent by launching a military intervention based on a UN resolution centered around the notion of protecting civilians.
Is there the slightest doubt that the next time Israel has to launch a major military action there will be calls for international action to protect civilians?
Our nominal ally and now Islamist-led Turkey didn't even wait until the next major Israeli operation. Here's the Deputy Prime-minister.
We wish that the United Nations had made similar resolutions, and countries had taken action, in the face of incidents in Gaza, Palestine and other regions,"
I didn't expect to be proven correct quite that fast.

HOT5 Daily 3/22/2011

1. "The White House's three worst assumptions on Libya" It's hard to narrow it down to three.

Representative Sample: I hope they will reflect on some of their strategic and policy assumptions that preceded the Libya crisis. Three assumptions in particular stand out, each of which the White House appeared to embrace in its first two years, and each of which is flawed. These mistaken assumptions are:

2. "Obama’s Surge in Foreign Oil Dependence Program" It may not be the goal, but it's the result.

Representative Sample:the high gas prices you see now are only the beginning until we get near the election. Then Obama will promise once again to lower them- probably in the same manner as he promises to cut the deficit, i.e. quadruple it and then promise to cut it in half. And we see how our dependence on foreign oil is reduced by shifting from one vendor an-………….never mind.

3. "Fuel From Bacteria" An informative article on this type of potential bio-fuel.

Representative Sample: With genetic engineering technology we have also created a fourth category of bacteria – those that can be used as microscopic factories. For years we have been using bacteria to cheaply manufacture drugs and other compounds.

4. "How Political Lies Spread On The Left" Debunking recent ridiculous left-wing propaganda.

Representative Sample: That’s a lot of left wing blogs from Marxist ones to ‘moderate left ones. One interesting thing is that they repeat the same story – like, literally cut and pasted. That’s what I would call ‘lockstep liberalism’ but it’s gone beyond that to mindless copycat liberalism.

5. "Priorities: Celebs Speak Out in Support of Accused American Traitor" If there's a traitor or other enemy of the U.S. out there, there's a leftist who views him as a hero.

Representative Sample: With all the tragedy in the world today, all the righteous causes that could use a little burst of stardom, what does the following reveal about these celebs?

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Monday, March 21, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/21/2011

1. "Yet Another Overworked Metaphor For Understanding American Foreign Policy" Historical perspective.

Representative Sample: Foreign nations must watch their dealings with Americans: at the drop of a hat or turn of a screw they can suddenly become Indian Tribes and become the target of American improvement.

2. "Potential Causes of Total Human Extinction in the Next 200 Years" I think he missed some, but these are bad enough.

Representative Sample: it may be that these next 200 years are the most critical: when total human extinction is most plausible. This may even be the most critical time (for intelligent life) in the history of the galaxy.

3. "A 'No Fly Zone' in Name Only" Another reason the UN resolution is meaningless propaganda.

Representative Sample: It has become clear a day after its imposition that what allied forces are doing is NOT imposing a "No-Fly Zone", so much as they are imposing absolute air supremacy in order to enable them to conduct operations against fielded Libyan forces on the ground. These are two very, very different matters.

4. "Democrats, Muslims, Gun Owners and Tea Partiers" Good point.

Representative Sample: This week the Democrats displayed near unlimited concern that a group of Americans might be unfairly labeled for the actions of a few bad actors within that group

5. "No, America Doesn’t Need More College Graduates" And higher education needs less taxpayer money, not more.

Representative Sample: I don’t think we’re doing some of these kids any favors by pushing them into college, subsidizing them into tens of thousands of dollars to debt, before they even have any idea what they want to do with their lives.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Now What in Libya?

The utter cluelessness and incompetence of Obama in foreign policy is on display for all to see, yet again.

Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the outcome of military action from the air was "very uncertain" and made it clear that Washington did not see the goal of Operation Odyssey Dawn as removing the Libyan leader from power.
So we're intevening in a foreign civil war against a long-time enemy of the U.S., but we aren't planning on actually doing anything particularly useful. So why are we there?
"The goals are limited. It's not about seeing him go. It's about supporting the United Nations resolution which talked about eliminating his ability to kill his own people."

Is the administration really that stupid? I have to believe that Admiral Mullen must have been fighting the urge to gag when he repeated that nonsense. He's serving complete fools who think it's a good idea to turn the U.S. military into the air and sea equivalent of UN peacekeepers, who sort of intervene in conflicts, but not too much.

Intervening in this civil war was a bad idea, but what makes a positive outcome the most likely? I can think of one thing and one thing only: the quick death of Moammar Gaddafi. The best case scenario is that the death of Gaddafi will cause the quick collapse of the regime and its supporting forces. A new government will form, and the reason for intervention will no longer exist. I realize this is a best case scenario, and that the death of Gaddafi might not end the war. But it's worth a shot. Instead of continuing to bleat our ridiculous mantra about protecting civilians, and pretending that the UN resolution has any real meaning except as an excuse for intervention, we should direct our efforts at killing Gaddafi, his relatives, and any other potential leaders who might take over in his absence.

HOT5 Update

Since I seem to have other things to do on weekends, from now on I'll only be doing a HOT5 Mon thru Friday. I may put up an occasional one on Saturday or Sunday, but not regularly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Setting a Bad Precedent With Libya

I'm opposed to U.S. intervention in Libya because I don't see it as necessary for U.S. interests, or necessary at all. France & Britain, which are gung-ho to act against Gaddafi, can easily turn the tide in favor of the rebels without U.S. assistance. But the UN resolution for intervention also sets a bad precedent that could harm U.S. interests in the future. The justification is based on protecting civilians. If you read the resolution, you will note that the words "to protect civilians" appear repeatedly.

If protecting civilians is a good justification for war, then it justifies any intervention in a foreign conflict. Civilians die in all modern wars. Sometimes they are targeted deliberately, but many times they are killed by accident. And sometimes they are killed because even though they are civilians, they are taking part in hostilities. Any government attempting to put down a rebellion has to kill civilians. Rebels usually don't have their own military, at least not in the initial stages. Armed rebels mingle with and hide amongst unarmed civilians. Even belligerents that care whether or not they kill civilians are going to have to kill some in order to fight at all. It should be obvious, since we have ongoing wars, that counterinsurgency operations require that some numbers of civilians die, no matter what extreme measures are taken to limit casualties.

Anti-American types at home and abroad are constantly condemning the U.S. for killing civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. At some time in the future, will the U.S. face a U.N. led effort to intervene against us, justified by the supposed need to protect civilians? Is there the slightest doubt that the next time Israel has to launch a major military action there will be calls for international action to protect civilians?

What we are doing by signing on to this foolish UN resolution is handing our enemies a club to beat us with in the future. But as usual, our government never looks at the unintended consequences of its actions when it feels the urge to "do something."

HOT5 Daily 3/17/2011

1. "20 Days of Left-Wing Thuggery in Wisconsin" Compare this behavior to the completely imaginary connection between Sarah Palin and the Arizona shooting that had the left in hysterics.

Representative Sample: what’s happening in Wisconsin is downright frightening because, as you’ll see below, these incidents are growing in number and intensity. Furthermore, other than the Right, no one is calling for calm or civility. The local media is, at best, wrist-flicking these incidents, Democratic legislators have not called for calm, President Obama is AWOL, and worst of all, Public Union Workers not involved in the thuggish behavior taking place in their name, have been complicit with their silence.

2. "The Raj Strikes Back" A pretty good analysis of what our ill-advised intervention in Libya might bring.

Representative Sample: The West is not intervening into a two-way war. Obama, Hillary, and the gang are taking us into a fragmentary nationalist and religious conflict that pits Islamist radicals and supposedly nice Westernizing computer geeks against Gaddafis or Mubaraks — only thereafter to pit the radicals and Westernizers against one another, the remnants of the old regime, and, as often as not, the foreign invader.

3. "Nuke Energy: The Next Japan Casualty" I'm afraid this might be the case.

Representative Sample: The situation at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is already factoring into any number of nightmare reports and prognostications, a new and potent Japanese symbol of our collective fears about science. Fukushima is further demonizing — or monsterizing — an industry which might actually offer the only clean, sustainable energy source for a world simultaneously preoccupied with Godzilla-sized carbon footprints and climate change.

4. "Pakistani TV star tells off an imam beautifully." Nice to see, until you remember that this woman is an international celebrity, and therefore able to do something most women living in Pakistan would probably never dare to do -- for good reason.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

5. "How I Made It With No Health Insurance, No Job, Big Medical Expenses and No Obamacare" A story worth reading.

Representative Sample: As my health problems increased, they required expensive medication and regular doctor and emergency room visits. Being out of a full-time job meant I had no medical insurance. Since these were the days before Obamacare, I had to make it on my own.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Conservatives View Liberals

There's an interesting post by Enoch Root at POWIP called, "How Liberals Feel – or How Krauthammer Got It Wrong," that looks at how we on the right view liberals, and whether or not our viewpoint is correct. After referring to an article from 2002 that characterized liberals as stupid, Root notes that Krauthammer's position has evolved.
a few days ago, Mr. Krauthammer put forth a more nuanced (or if you prefer, definitive) position regarding the Great Chasm — and why compromise is impossible. I don’t have the quote in front of me… but if memory serves it went something like this: The fundamental difference is that Conservatives think Liberals are naive and emotional… while Liberals believe Conservatives are evil.
That formulation has been around for a long time, and in my opinion it is largely accurate. But Root thinks it gives liberals too much credit. Although he doesn't say so directly, it appears he thinks we should see liberals as evil -- much as they view conservatives, except that our views are correct. But first he makes some points I agree with about how liberals viewing conservatives as evil explains many things.
First, it explains why Liberals often come across as pompous and condescending.

It explains their absolute intolerance of diversity of thought.

It explains their violent reaction when they don’t get their way.

It explains their hostility toward any who dare to challenge their Worldview.

It explains their knee-jerk demagoguery and intransigence.

I guess that list is also without limit. But you get the point.

It also explains why they hold their many false assumptions with the fervor of religious belief, and react with outrage when those assumptions are challenged, as if you were an evil heretic. But here's where my opinions of liberals diverge from Root's.
When Conservatives say liberals are just naive, we are being too charitable. ... When conservatives say they are well-intentioned, we are in denial. They are not on the whole well-intentioned. Sure, there are many hippy-dippy, pot smoking liberals who believe in live and let live. But this is an unfortunate caricature. One that tends to make conservatives underestimate our foes. The most dangerous liberals are incredibly pragmatic. They are incredibly deliberate. They have objectives and formulate strategies to achieve them. ... My point is that when we call Liberals naive, we are being naive. When we say that perhaps “they love too much” we are throwing pearls before the swine. Think Machiavelli and you’ll be closer to the truth.

He goes on in this vein. In my opinion this is dangerously close to conspiracy-theory thinking, viewing liberals as evil-minded plotters determined to inflict their monstrous designs upon us. This is the type of thinking that leads people to argue that Obama wants to destroy the economy, or that Democrats want to keep the poor helpless and dependent on government only for political reasons. Are there people on the left who are purely cynical manipulators, interested in power and nothing else? Of course. But I don't think that's a reasonable characterization of the majority of liberals. The evidence indicates that most liberals really believe their ideas and policies are good, not just for gaining and holding power, but for human progress. I'll give one detailed example of liberal thinking based on a recent discussion on a liberal blog, and my reading of related material on other leftist sites.

Let's say you suggest that poor people are somehow responsible, even partially, for their own conditions, and mention practical things they might do to improve their situation. This goes over on the left much like arguing with a conservative evangelical Christian that good works make more sense than salvation by faith. You are blinded by your "privilege" and don't understand that poor people are helpless victims of an oppressive and broken system. Expecting them to do things to help themselves is just downright insensitive. There's a long list of excuses for why your suggestions, no matter how practical or obvious, just won't work. You can even point out factual errors in their assertions and assumptions, or their failure to reason logically. It doesn't matter. Like religious beliefs, their assumptions about the poor are part of the liberal creed. The same creed sees the poor as hard-working people struggling to get by and make ends meet. Good luck pointing out that many poor people have made horrible decisions in their lives, and that plenty waste too much of what little money they have on things like cigarettes, liquor, lottery tickets, and other luxuries they can ill afford. Like people of all social stratas, some poor people are in fact stupid, ignorant or lazy. All of this goes against the liberal creed that the poor are helpless victims who can only really be helped by government assistance -- and no matter how much government assistance there is already, it is never enough. But does the left's outright rejection of reality with regard to the poor mean that most liberals want to keep poor people in a state of poverty for political reasons? I don't think so.

In my opinion, most liberals who hold to the creed regarding the poor genuinely believe in their ideology. They really think that poor people are just victims of an unjust oppressive system, who can only be helped by massive assistance -- assistance which of course always involves more taxes and more government programs. They sbelieve that more handouts are the best way to help poor people. In other words, they truly see their ideas and policies as the way to help the poor. It isn't just cynical exploitation, although it might appear that way on the surface.

I do the occasional post where I highlight some left-wing blog post and call it "Laughing at the Left," because in my opinion, many left-wing views should be greeted with the derisive laughter that they deserve. I'm firmly in the camp that sees much of the left as naive fools, because the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that most should be regarded as fools, rather than as deliberately malevolent. There's nothing naive about regarding the left as naive. Obviously fools are often dangerous. But that doesn't mean we need to act like the left and assume evil motives on the part of our political opponents.

HOT5 Daily 3/17/2011

1. "Nuclear Power and the State" I'm strongly in favor of nuclear power but I found this to be an interesting perspective.

Representative Sample: The state monopolizes the energy sector, claims to balance the risks and benefits of its decisions, and is not liable as an institution for error. It is almost impossible to know for certain the correct answer about how much or little we should rely on nuclear energy or any other form of energy without a free market and outside the context of private property rights and privately held profits and accountability.

2. "Don't Blame the Spies" Some good points.

Representative Sample: time and again, after some crisis or costly failure, the intelligence community has been criticized for allegedly not providing that kind of unwelcome or uncomfortable message -- and for not providing it loudly enough to gain the attention of even the most inattentive.

3. "Liberal de facto apologia for Islam" De facto apologia when they aren't actively apologizing for it.

Representative Sample: My issue is not that American liberals strenuously defend the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. My issue is that they often expand their defense to an inaccurate characterization of the religion.

4. "And Then There Were None" A look back at WWI.

Representative Sample: With the death of Frank Buckles on February 27, 2011 there are no surviving US veterans of World War I. Worldwide, a handful of WWI veterans are alive today; soon there will be none.

5. "Gadhafi's Cyrenaica Offensive: A Gift to Dictators" I'm against U.S. intervention in Libya, but this is one of the better arguments I've seen favor.

Representative Sample: A Gadhafi win tells the world violent subjugation works. Iran's tyrants hope so. Gadhafi's survival may also serve Chinese domestic political interests. Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, which inspires Libya's rebels, has inspired Chinese dissidents.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/16/2011

1. "The Post-American Liberal Culture" I wish I was as good as this guy at dissecting liberals.

Representative Sample: Defining multiculturalism as Americanism is not a definition, but an absence of a definition. And that's the definition that liberals are most comfortable with. The missing answer. The absence. The abyss. They don't know who they are anymore, but they damn well sure intend that no one else find out either. In the meantime they are citizens of the world, they are human beings who are concerned about the plight of other human beings so long as they are as different from them as possible. They are open-minded, tolerant and willing to listen to anyone who isn't an American.

2. "THOMAS SOWELL OP-ED: The 'Redevelopment' Hoax" Answering the question as to why those who oppose development support "redevelopment."

Representative Sample: development involves decisions made in the market by large numbers of people in the general population, in their own personal interests, while redevelopment involves taking decisions out of the hands of the population at large and putting the power to make those decisions in the hands of elites.

3. "Hate-filled Holy Book’: Bill Maher Takes Heat From Left, Source Responds with Koran Quotes" More on Bill Maher and Sam Harris over the Koran.

Representative Sample: From a Bigger Picture viewpoint, maybe this is one of those situations like “Waiting For Superman” where an apostate on a crucial issue — and most importantly, a pop culture apostate — someone more interested in truth-telling than ideology, is needed to get the word out and wake people up. Only Nixon can go to China, only the director of “Inconvenient Truth” can take on the teachers unions, and only the right’s number one antagonist can stand up for Western Civilization in the face of radical Islam.

4. "Discussing China’s Navy" Links to an interesting article.

Representative Sample: China’s naval power merits concern because the maritime realm is the most probable dimension in which a Chinese-related military conflict will be triggered and fought. There are several reasons for this.

5. "Defund United Nations Failures Now" Long overdue.

Representative Sample: The UN could not be further removed from taxpayers around the world who provide its funding—especially American taxpayers, who cover 22% of the “core” funding and kick in enough “voluntary” spending to get their final invoice over $6 billion per year.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Liberals Aren't Crazy About Personal Responsibility

I realize the title is an over-generalization, and liberals are all for holding class enemies and other political opponents personally responsible for their actions. But when it comes to all sorts of groups liberals cater to or apologize for, looking at personal responsibility as the cause of their actions or situations is way down on the list. When it comes to the poor, ethnic minorities, non-Christian religious minorities, criminals, and even terrorist enemies of America, there is always some excuse for their bad situations or behavior that doesn't involve their own actions and decisions. Terrorists aren't attacking America because they are murderous savages twisted by their odious religious beliefs. Oh no, they've become terrorists because they lack economic opportunity in their own countries, and they are attacking America in response to evil American policies. In other words it's our fault.

Criminals aren't just bad people who choose to take things that don't belong to them, injure and kill others, and commit all sorts of other offenses -- unless they are affluent white criminals of course. They come from disadvantaged parts of society, therefore there are all kinds of excuses as to why they had to turn to crime.

Poor people aren't poor because they make bad decisions. Of course not. They're poor because they are oppressed by the privileged classes and the "system." If you are well-off, the fact that other people aren't is your fault. It's your fault and the fault of everyone who hasn't voted to have the government seize more of your money and redistribute it through programs to help the poor. Even suggesting that many poor people might be primarily responsible for their own condition is just heartless and mean. It's also pretty amusing that to many liberals, suggesting that poor people are poor because they made bad decisions is seen as an insult akin to calling the poor stupid. Yet at the same time liberals apparently think the poor are too stupid to do things that are necessary to help themselves out of poverty, or at least to alleviate their conditions. That's why they need government intervention. We certainly can't expect them to take the responsibility for doing things necessary to help themselves.

I've always found the distinction between the right (and libertarian) emphasis on personal responsibility, and the left's cult of victimization to be one of the sharpest dividing lines on the political spectrum. This divide separates the sides on various societal topics, and even crosses into foreign policy in the case of the blame America first crowd.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/15/2011

1. "God and Disaster" These things have been pointed out many times before, but believers always have ways of rationalizing them away.

Representative Sample: If they believe that their god designed a world in which such things happen but left the world alone thereafter and does not intervene when it turns lethal on his creatures, then they implicitly question his moral character. If he is not powerful enough to do something about the world’s periodic murderous indifference to human beings, then in what sense is he a god? Instead he seems to be a big helpless ghost

2. "DOD Takes Steps To Secure Classified Data" It's about time.

Representative Sample: Thousands of classified military documents were leaked and distributed into the Internet's public forum last summer, prompting an immediate investigation from the top down.

3. "Candor: The World’s Scarcest Resource?" Moderate Muslims attempting to whitewash the Koran.

Representative Sample: it is genuinely disconcerting to see so many moderate Muslims dissemble about the traditional tenets of their faith. Of course, it’s hard to know whether Ellison was actually lying, or whether he is simply unaware of the contents of the Qur’an, but I have had far too many of these exchanges myself, both in public and private, to ignore the general trend. Who will reform Islam if Muslim moderates remain committed to denying the obvious?

4. "Total world military spending and arms." Breaking it down.

Representative Sample: The defence budget of America alone, at $693 billion, accounts for more than 60% of the total. But when defence spending is compared to the overall size of each country’s economy, Saudi Arabia tops the list. It spends over 10% of GDP on defence, more than double the proportion spent by America.

5. "Only The Government Could Accidentally Spend $3.1 Million" Our government in action.

Representative Sample: That Medicare is such a gigantic program that a computer glitch can lead to the misspending of millions of dollars is a testament to just how bloated entitlements have become.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Monday, March 14, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/14/2011

1. "Neutrality Is Not An Option" Shut down the public unions.

Representative Sample: One countermove comes to mind: start waging war back against the unions. They've shown their true colors, they've demonstrated that they feel no compunctions on their behavior. So decertify them.

2. "Dumbing Down America For Affirmative Action" Because what racial group you belong to is more important than qualifications.

Representative Sample: I am not in favor of lowering standards for any reason. I do not care if too few blacks, women, Puerto Ricans, Hispanics, or whatever the minority victim of the week happens to be get excluded because they could not pass the test or meet some other standard. If they are unable to meet the minimum standard then they are unable to do the job. If we are going to ignore the test results or change them to benefit one particular group then why have the test at all.

3. "The Financial Ignorance of Religious Texts" There's plenty of ignorance to go around in religious texts, but this is one aspect I never really thought much about.

Representative Sample: However well-meaning these rules originally were, their existence shows that the texts that contain them were authored by fallible humans, ignorant of the mathematical and economic arguments that would propel the human species to prosperity.

4. "The size of the secular right" Not large.

Representative Sample: The constituency constitutes a whopping 0.67%, or 1 in 150 people, or two million people in a country of 310 million.

5. "Why Do So Many African-Americans Convert to Islam?" Good question and interesting point.

Representative Sample: Islam in black Africa has similar roots as Christianity among blacks in the Americas-conquest and slavery. So the question arises, if converting from Christianity to Islam represents a way for a black American to reject the religion of the slave-master (Christianity), what sense is it to embrace another religion with a similar history?

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daisy Khan Speaks Out Against Islamic Extremism

Daisy Khan heads the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), and is the wife of Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Park51 New York City project. She spoke last Thursday at a conference called, "Women, Islam and Peacebuilding" held at Arizona State University. I don't agree with everything she said, but I have to give her credit for being a high profile Muslim who is speaking out against violent extremism.

Khan spoke about the need for more female Muslim peace leaders, about denouncing violence against Muslim women and about the voice of a few extremists who have "hijacked" her religion.
Unfortunately although it's a minority, it's far more than just a "few extremists." But the condemnation is still welcome. She also addressed the issue of so-called honor killings including a specific case in the U.S.
Khan said the Muslim community has a responsibility to denounce these types of crimes. ... the death of a young woman and the destruction of a family should be seen as a moment for Valley Muslim community leaders to say, "This must never get repeated again. This must never be done in the name of our religion."
Khan also made another interesting point.
"Muslims . . . imams and the community . . . are extremely important to rooting out extremist ideologues because they know their community, they know how to counter this ideology,"
This is true, but the oppposite can also be the case. Imams can also be instilling a victim mentality, promoting Islamism, or in the worst case radicalizing young Muslims who then turn to the violent extremism Khan is denouncing.

There are plenty of imams throughout the world who uphold and promote doctrines subjugating women, hostile attitudes toward non-Muslims, death for apostates and blasphemers, and other odious elements of the practice of Islam as it exists in various places. Fortunately this appears to be rare in the U.S. But, here's what Khan says about the King hearings which she opposes.

he is stereotyping and isolating a community as well as opposing the work of countless peaceful Muslims. ... The hearings risk portraying all Muslims as the enemy, when the common enemy of peaceful people is extremists
Unfortunately like many Muslims Khan has it exactly backward. What risks portraying Muslims as the enemy are the actions of Muslims throughout the world. Hardly a day goes by without some atrocity committed in the name of Islam.
"I am an American," she said. "Why should an entire community have to suffer for the evil committed by a few?"
Life isn't fair. If you are part of a minority religion that happens to be noteworthory for inspiring acts of terrorism, and highly visible for other barbaric practices regularly committed in its name, you are going to be colored with the taint of how that religion as a whole is perceived.

I believe that Daisy Khan is correct in that the mainstream American Muslim community itself can be our best line of defense against acts of Islamic terror. But that requires cooperation with police and surveillance measures, and active steps to identify and isolate extremists, not excuse-making and pretending that American Muslims are somehow being persecuted -- which is what we see all too often. Stop seeing suspicion of Muslims as based solely on prejudice and bigotry, and start recognizing that the acts of your fellow adherents of Islam are primarily to blame.

One final point... Regardless of my disagreements with Daisy Khan, it is worth noting that she is a prominent Muslim who is speaking out publicly against extremism. There are some on the right who won't credit that, and will claim she's being disengenous, engaging in "taqiyya," or whatever. I'm not one of them.

No HOT5 Again Today

I was planning to do one, but stuff came up. It will be back tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leftist Finally Notices that Barack Obama is a Weak Leader

I was skimming some left-wing blogs for amusement and came across a post called, "A weak President," by Mark Kleiman of the laughably-named "The Reality-Based Community." Anyone paying attention has known for years now that Barack Obama is a weak leader, but Kleiman appears to have just figured it out. Not only that, but he employs the worst comparison possible in the world of BDS sufferers, linking Obama's behavior to that of the great Satan himself, George W. Bush.

Barack Obama sounds completely clueless. Clueless at the Bush level
. What is it that has Kleiman so riled up? Is it Obama's utter cluelessness on foreign policy, or some other major failing? Oh no. It's that Obama takes no responsibility for the treatment of the left's favorite traitor, Bradley Manning.

In left-wing world making a traitor -- oops, I mean great hero of the people -- sleep naked equates to "torture." Never mind that there appear to be valid reasons for Manning's treatment routine, since Obama is going along with it, that makes him ok with torture. And if he's allowing torture, then he equals Bush. That's what passes for reality in the "reality-based community."

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/11/2011

1. "Yes, CAIR's Terrorist Ties Are Real" I just linked this same writer, but this is a point worth noting.

Representative Sample: CAIR's sympathy for terrorists, and its ties to them, are extensive, well-documented, and yes, they have resulted in charges (and convictions). In 2004, when CAIR tried to bully David Frum and the National Post, among others in Canada and the US, into ignoring this, Frum threw the stubborn facts back at them

2. "There Will Be No Uprising in Saudi Arabia" Sounds like wishful thinking considering the source, but let's hope he's right. Gas is already way too expensive.

Representative Sample: This fact has led some pundits to the conclusion that the kingdom has only temporarily muffled the latent discontent of its people and that ultimately the domino of dissatisfaction and regime change will fall in Riyadh. These analysts, however, are highly likely to be proved wrong, as they fundamentally misunderstand the unique strengths of the Saudi monarchy and the current system of governance.

3. "Example of Liberal Civility" Remember when leftists were hysterical about a completely imaginary connection between a Sarah Palin political map and the Tuscon shooter?

Representative Sample: Numerous examples of ‘liberal civility’ can be seen in events across the country, especially in places such as Columbus, OH. Physical altercations, breaking into government buildings, and posters comparing Republicans to Hitler are pretty common. And that is some of the more mundane stuff.

4. "WaPo: Meet the Radicalized Muslim American Leaders of al Qaeda" But we shouldn't hold hearings on it because it might hurt the tender feelings of some Muslims.

Representative Sample: He doesn't even mention al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's chief of English language propaganda, Charlotte's Samir Khan. Nor does he talk about al Qaeda central's head of propaganda, Orange County, California's Adam Gadahn. Or David Headley, the Chicago man who helped plan the Mumbai massacre for Lashkar e Toiba.

5. "Rep. Keith Ellison’s Bigotry" I'd call it stupidity rather than bigotry, but otherwise a good response to Ellison's ridiculous whining.

Representative Sample: The congressman told a teachable story this morning. One problem: It’s untrue.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Right Wing News' "Ultimate Like/Dislike Poll" for People on the Right

I always find these sorts of polls interesting. Here's the description:
Right Wing News emailed more than 260 right-of-center bloggers and asked them to rate 55 prominent people and organizations on the Right as either strongly liked, liked, disliked, or strongly disliked.
I thought I'd answer the poll questions since I'm too minor of a blogger to be asked directly. It is difficult to answer like or dislike for some of these people. Although I'm extremely opinionated, I'd answer many of the questions with a shrug and say that person was "ok." But since that's not an option, I'll give it my best shot.

What do you think about Allah/Ed Morrissey (Hot Air)?
I like Hot Air a lot, so I'd go with strongly like.

What do you think about Michelle Bachmann?
Kind of split on her. There's things I like and things I don't. No answer.

What do you think about Glenn Beck?
Strongly dislike.

What do you think about John Boehner?
He's ok. I guess I'd have to say like.

What do you think about Andrew Breitbart?

What do you think about David Brooks?
Not a fan of Brooks. Dislike.

What do you think about Pat Buchanan?

What do you think about George W. Bush?
Another split for me. I dislike his performance as president, but like him as an individual. But since his performance as president was more important, I'll go with dislike.

What do you think about Dick Cheney?
Sometimes I dislike him and other times I like him. Overall like outweighs dislike.

What do you think about Chris Christie?

What do you think about Ann Coulter?

What do you think about Mitch Daniels?

What do you think about Jim DeMint?

What do you think about Erick Erickson?
Not a fan of Red State but don't really dislike it either. Don't know enough about Erickson himself. Can't answer this one.

What do you think about Pamela Geller?
Dislike, based on the contents of her blog, not her personally.

What do you think about Newt Gingrich?

What do you think about David Frum?
Strongly like. Unlike many on the right, I think Frum is one of the best political analysts around -- even if I sometimes disagree with him.

What do you think about Sean Hannity?
Strongly dislike.

What do you think about Jim Hoft/Gateway Pundit?
Not a blog I follow. Don't know.

What do you think about Mike Huckabee?

What do you think about The Koch Brothers?
Strongly like, from what little I know of them.

What do you think about Charles Krauthammer?
Strongly like

What do you think about Mark Levin?
Dislike. Levin is good at times, but I don't like his attitude and approach.

What do you think about David Limbaugh?

What do you think about Rush Limbaugh?

What do you think about GOProud?

What do you think about Michelle Malkin?
She's does some good work. But I disagree with her on a number of issues and I'm not crazy about her overall approach. I'd have to say dislike outweighs like.

What do you think about Meghan McCain?
Dislike but don't really care.

What do you think about Mitch McConnell?
Dislike. Typical politician.

What do you think about Dick Morris?

What do you think about Christine O'Donnell?
Strongly dislike.

What do you think about Kathleen Parker?

What do you think about Bill O'Reilly?

What do you think about National Review?
Strongly like

What do you think about the NRA?
Strongly like

What do you think about Sarah Palin?

I like certain things about her, but overall I'd have to go with dislike because I don't think her presidential aspirations match her qualifications. As someone just generating support for GOP candidates and firing up the base I like her.

What do you think about Ron Paul?

What do you think about Rand Paul?
Like better than Ron, but I'm not sure overall.

What do you think about Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit?

What do you think about Dan Riehl?
Dislike. I've read his blog, and often agree with him. But the guy comes off as a jerk to me from what I've seen.

What do you think about John Roberts?
Strongly like

What do you think about Mitt Romney?

What do you think about Karl Rove?

What do you think about Marco Rubio?

What do you think about Paul Ryan?

What do you think about Michael Savage?
Strongly dislike

What do you think about Joe Scarborough?

What do you think about Thomas Sowell?
Strongly like

What do you think about Fred Thompson?

What do you think about Scott Walker?
Like from what I've seen so far.

What do you think about The Tea Party?
Like. I'm not a tea party type, but I think overall it benefits the GOP, so I'll put it in the like column.

What do you think about Allen West?

What do you think about George Will?

What do you think about WorldNetDaily?
Strongly dislike.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HOT5 Daily 3/10/2011

1. "Too Many White Guys" More on the latest critique of the military.

Representative Sample: the real emphasis should be on demanding excellence from all who aspire to flag rank, and promoting those who meet--and exceed--a very high bar. Some of the "remedies" outlined in the Lyles report seem closer to social engineering, particularly when you introduce the notions of "measurement" and "metrics."

2. "For Terrorism Before He Was Against It" Unlike most of the attacks on Rep. Peter King, this is a valid criticism.

Representative Sample: King is holding hearings to determine why American Muslims become the sort of people he'd have little problem with if they were Ulster Catholics.

3. "Curiosity as a Purpose of Life" Good points.

Representative Sample: One of the most common questions religious believers ask atheists is where we find purpose in life, what makes our existence meaningful and worthwhile. I've written about this subject on Ebon Musings, but I want to add to my answer. Both atheists and theists can give the usual answer of wanting to do good in the world, helping our fellow human beings and so on, but I've realized that atheists can offer another answer, something that believers genuinely can't say: atheists are inspired to go on living by curiosity. We want to know who we are and why is it that we're here.

4. "US Predators are killing 'hardcore elements' and 'foreigners' - Pakistani general" A Pakistani speaking out with strong support for the U.S. drone assassination program. You don't hear that every day.

Representative Sample: "Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it's a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners," Mehmood told Pakistani reporters

5. "Our Chameleon-in-Chief" Wait until the reelection campaign to really see some attempts to change his appearance.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

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Bigotry Against White Supremacists

After the news today that Kevin William Harpham has been arrested in conjunction with a plot to detonate an explosive device along the route of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, I've seen quite a bit of bigotry directed at innocent white supremacists. As of now there's no evidence that Harpham was working with any sort of group. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center even points out that,
it is "extremely unlikely" the attempted bombing was carried out by a group. ..."What we see are lone wolf attacks," Potok said, possibly with one or two confederates.
The vast majority of white supremacists do not commit acts of terrorism. Sure they have an ideology that's out of the mainstream and repulsive to most Americans, but only a few of them actually resort to terrorist violence. We shouldn't jump to the conclusion that white supremacist ideology is connected to terrorism. That's horribly unfair to the majority of law-abiding white supremacists. Why should we single them out for surveillance and special attention just because of the actions of a few extremists?

HOT5 Daily 3/9/2011

1. "Peter King Faces the Same Media Buzz Saw That Tore into Ground Zero Mosque Critics" The same playbook.

Representative Sample: The successful efforts of groups like CAIR to convince the mainstream media that American Muslims were facing an unprecedented wave of prejudice reduced the discussion to one of whether Americans were in favor of discrimination against adherents of Islam. The fact that this premise was utterly false made no difference to the way the media covered the story, since they had already swallowed the false assertion that Muslims were under siege.

2. "Is the military leadership “too white and too male?” Diversity gone wild …" A good response to an attempt to judge the military by the politically-correct standards.

Representative Sample: We sort of have to stop and talk about some basic things when we see a report like this. And the first is “what is the purpose of the military – diversity or victory”? Playing this sort of numbers game is stupid in an all volunteer force which has the job of defending the country. We’re not talking the university campus or some corporate board.

3. "Against schools" Do we even need them anymore?

Representative Sample: It’s perfectly possible now for children to be educated without being assembled in classrooms. The internet is the ideal resource. A child needs a safe room, a computer, and at least until mid-adolescence, adequate supervision. Given those, the chances are he’ll get a far better education than he’d get at school.

4. "Somali Pirates: Danes Suggest Sinking Pirate "Mother Ships"" At least one country is tired enough of pirates to actually think about doing something useful to counter it.

Representative Sample: Denmark's ruling party, the Liberal Party, on Tuesday proposed that the Danish navy should be able to sink mother ships to disrupt piracy

5. "Passive news reports may lead readers to feel they can’t find the truth" Interesting.

Representative Sample: The study found that people are more likely to doubt their own ability to determine the truth in politics after reading an article that simply lists competing claims without offering any idea of which side is right.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Best Article I've Seen on the Peter King Hearings

Since Congressman Peter King (R-NY) announced that he wanted to hold hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims he's come under constant attack from the usual suspects, who scream "Islamophobia" whenever anyone points to any connection between radical Islamic terrorism and Islam. The Daily Caller has an excellent article about the situation called, "Radical Islamists condemn hearings into radical Islamists."
Congressman King is holding hearings on the radicalization of young American Muslims. This is considered selective prosecution if one ignores the fact that the profile being looked at by Congressman King belong to the people actually fitting that very profile.
As the article notes, since radical Muslim terrorism tends to be committed by Muslims, any investigation into it is naturally going to have to focus on the Muslim community. This sort of basic logic escapes the various useful idiots screaming about Islamophobia. The vast majority of the time you hear anyone using the made-up term of Islamophobia it's in an attempt to silence legitimate criticism of Islam and the actions of various Muslims. The Daily Caller hits the nail on the head on multiple points. The whole thing is worth reading.


Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has another good column on this issue.

HOT5 Daily 3/8/2011

1. "44 Great Presidential Quotes" From Washington to Obama.

Representative Sample: "Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error."

2. "The U.S. Surveillance State: Big Brother on Steroids" Evidence for my frequent contention that a right to privacy is non-existent.

Representative Sample: All of this neat new technology joins systems also being rolled out across the country that link almost all public and private surveillance cameras to a centralized, government surveillance center, neatly being tied into vast databases of unspecified “public records” at Real Time Crime Centers (RTCC).

3. "Everything That's Wrong with the Partisan Media in a Nuthouse" I saw the AP story in question and had a similar reaction. I meant to write about it but forgot. Fortunately someone else took up the slack.

Representative Sample: To a certain extent, we all remember things not the way they happened, but they way they ought to have happened; yet liberals, socialists, and Progressivists drag this ordinary human failing down to unexplored depths of mental degradation.

4. "Evacuating My Soul" Interesting post on the idea of the soul from an atheist perspective.

Representative Sample: The concept of a soul is one of the most persistent ideas throughout the history of religion and mythology, and it continues today as both a safety blanket and cattle prod for believers of all types. A soul is such a fundamental concept that it is easy for even atheists to find themselves thinking in terms of its existence.

5. "39 Days: What's in America's Strategic Oil Reserve" Not that much, and certainly not enough to do anything about gas prices for long.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

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