Jun 21 2008

History isn’t just a story

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:26 pm

Pat Buchanan‘s recent book, Churchill, Hitler and “The Unnecessary War” has caused no little comment in the blogosphere and elsewhere, in no small part because it is revisionist history, running very much counter to the understanding of most historians about the events leading up to World War II.

I commented on Buchanan’s book earlier, quoting Victor Davis Hanson.

Buchanan riposted, asserting Hanson’s critical views of the book were not founded in fact, claiming Hanson hadn’t read the book, etc.

A fascinating conversation has developed between Hanson and Buchanan over Buchanan’s book.

Just Google “Buchanan Hanson” and you’ll see many links.

To no one’s great surprise, I’m siding with Hanson on this one, though I have appreciated certain of Buchanan’s earlier books, especially The Death of the the West, a sort of precursor to another favorite of mine, America Alone by Mark Steyn.

The sad part of this entire tale is that today’s recent college graduates mostly lack the tools to evaluate the arguments of either Buchanan or Hanson. Many of them literally know no more of Stalin than that he was some kind of dictator, maybe of Russia or something. They know somewhat more of Hitler, because our academic community is (ignorantly) proud of what it thinks was its position regarding Hitler, while being somewhat embarrassed about how many thought Lenin/Stalin might be pretty good guys stuck with a hard job requiring them, regrettably, to break eggs occasionally.

Our recent grads know more about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib than the Lubyanka. Indeed, the wiki article on the Lubyanka makes only a passing mention that it was an infamous prison/torture center. If they know of all three, they believe there is some moral equivalence between them…. about like equating the elementary school-age neighborhood bully with a professional hit man.

Generally, our recent college graduates believe Hitler was a bigger killer than Stalin, if they even know anything of Stalin. And when informed about Stalin’s murderous ways, they then believe he was the biggest killer, because they know next to nothing about Mao. A great many literally have no idea who Mao was, when he lived, where he lived, or what he did. Some of them think he might have been some kind of Japanese or Asian guy.

Generally, our recent college grads seem better informed about the depredations of the Crusaders than the Bolsheviks.

These students know more about diversity and non-“dead-white-male” authors than they do about the history which shaped the world in which they live, and which provides the frame for many possible future conflicts.

They know just about nothing about Islam, but they know how evil the Israelis are for holding the Palestinians in poverty, and sort of killing them for sport sometimes.

I don’t want to sound like I blame the colleges and universities exclusively. I was graduated from high school in 1969, knowing more history than most of our recent college graduates. I was not especially unusual in that, nor was I especially interested in it. It was just the expectation of the times.

The Howard Zinn effect has been absolutely deadly to our students’ understanding of history, and unfortunately many of its victims are now young teachers, passing along their ignorance to all and sundry.

I write this in the (probably forlorn) hope that young folk will get interested in knowing the real history that created their world, and will take the time to provide for themselves what school did not.

I’ll probably post a reading list at some point… for anyone who’s interested.

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Jun 21 2008

Public to Congress: Time to DRILL

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 6:44 pm

Leftist Democrats (which means too many of them, sadly, but, thankfully, not all) are fond of saying:

You Can’t Drill Your Way Out Of High Gas Prices

But they do think that:

They Can TAX Their Way Out Of Them

Other’s have made this point.

It is, of course, an idiotic notion that taxing oil companies will cause them to produce more energy, oil, alternative, or anything else. It will certainly induce them to pass along the cost of the taxes at the pump. It is probably impossible to point to any time/place when a tax on something has resulted in more of the activity being taxed.

There are several misunderstandings about drilling, existing oil leases, Republican vs. Democrat tendencies and roles, etc., addressed here. I wonder how many people complaining about high gas prices now remember that Bill Clinton vetoed drilling in ANWR and other places when a Republican Congress passed him a bill to do so, in 1995, saying that it wouldn’t make any difference for ten years anyway.

This is not a bash Clinton moment, it is a sober “let’s assess the Left’s contribution to our current problem” moment. Incredibly, they are saying the same thing NOW. I heard Obama say on TV today that if we drill now, it won’t help for 10 years.  If we’re fooled a second time, we deserve to mortgage our homes to fill our tanks with gas.

There have been several polls indicating that solid majorities of Americans believe we should drill, and do it now.

Investor’s Business Daily quotes a few, and makes some other points. Read the whole thing.

An online petition circulated by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions group and urging Congress to “Drill Here, Drill Now” so consumers can “Pay Less” has reached 1 million signatures.

Meanwhile, a new Reuters/Zogby poll found that 60% of the public is in favor of increased drilling and refining, while two-thirds responding to a Rasmussen poll, including 46% of those who call themselves liberal, think drilling should be allowed offshore.

Not to be outdone, a Gallup poll discovered that 57% are in favor of a new wave of drilling “in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas now off limits.”

It seems Americans are well aware that members of Congress, not the oil executives they’ve demonized for decades, are to blame for the punitive prices we are having to pay at the gas pump. They want lawmakers to do something about it.

Polls with this kind of tilt in favor of, say, leaving Iraq, are given huge play in the media. But if you think we should drill, and don’t know why we aren’t, you may think you’re in the minority, and wonder why. The news is that a strong majority agrees with you. Now, what will you do about it?

Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.

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Jun 21 2008

The Incurious Left: If you don’t look, you don’t have to notice.

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 5:40 pm

How long can the fiction be kept up by the Left that the situation in Iraq is more or less the same now as 18 months ago?

Michael Barone

It is beyond doubt now that the surge has been hugely successful, beyond even the hopes of its strongest advocates, like Frederick and Kimberly Kagan. Violence is down enormously, Anbar and Basra and Sadr City have been pacified, Prime Minister Maliki has led successful attempts to pacify Shiites as well as Sunnis, and the Iraqi parliament has passed almost all of the “benchmark” legislation demanded by the Democratic Congress — all of which Barack Obama seems to have barely noticed or noticed not at all. He has not visited Iraq since January 2006 and did not seek a meeting with Gen. David Petraeus when he was in Washington.

As with the Haditha Marines story, and many others, the main stream media gives enormous play to any story that hurts the Bush narrative, and downplays anything that might help it.

But the facts on the ground in Iraq continue to improve, despite the occasional bombing. To the extent that the upcoming election is a referendum on where we go from here on the Iraq war, good news in Iraq hurts the Democrats, which is why those parts of the media who are committed to Obama’s election will continue to give any good news the very minimum of coverage they can, and retain any credibility at all, while any bombing, no matter how rare or isolated, is guaranteed page one material.

McCain pretty much has to get Obama into less moderated debate formats, reducing Obama’s ability to survive on just putting out long canned speeches (which he delivers as well as any actor). The public needs to see Obama trying to respond to tough questions from McCain about why Obama was so wrong about the surge and its effects on Iraqi politics. Obama needs to own up to his opinion, expressed with great certainty in early 2007, that the surge would not, could not work.

It must be tough to be a politician whose hopes for victory depend on bad news for the USA as a whole, or at least on the public not finding out the good news.

So, the questions: how long can Obama and the media keep the American public from finding out

1) How well things are going in Iraq, and the arrow of progress?
2) What happens if we leave prematurely?
3) How wrong Obama was about the surge, and what that means about his vaunted “judgment”?

Some possible good news in this is that the “independent” voters will just start to wake up and look around in a couple of months, and if the good news in Iraq continues, it will be harder and harder to hide it, and Obama’s lack of foresight in the matter.

Prediction: If bad news happens in Iraq, or anything that can be spun that way, expect the major media to trumpet it from every orifice they have. If, on the other hand, things continue as they are, expect the major media to try to paint the election as being about “post-Iraq” issues like the economy, health-care, gas prices, etc.

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Jun 21 2008

The Music Business in Flux: as usual

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:38 pm

The music business is having interesting times.  After reviewing the wrenching changes imposed on business models by recent technological innovation, Mike Ragogna concludes:

Regardless of the problems, there are growing opportunities to solidly integrate music into the culture. There is a lot of incredible music being created, and more of it now than ever before, so the state of the art remains in good shape (though I guess this is where “taste” come in). But the reality is Tower’s gone, Virgin’s shrinking and yet another distributor is going the way of the “78” (you know, great-grandpa’s records?) and we’ve got to deal with it. Maybe it’ll take a little more than an hour, but this battleship can be turned around. With a little luck, the music business will get past this current set of challenges and put the focus back on the business of music.

May it be so.  I think we aren’t putting the genie back in the bottle, though.  The stranglehold by a few large suppliers is broken, and that is going to have more and more effect on the actual music itself.  I think we already see plenty of micro-markets that were unthinkable 10 years ago, and I think things are going to move farther in that direction.

Which, basically, I like.  On the one hand, it means there may be fewer “superstars”, carefully groomed by essentially non-musical people, just because they can be sold to a certain demographic.   On the other, I think it opens up more opportunities for basic, solid musicians to make a living without having the choice between lightning striking or abject poverty.



Jun 21 2008

Condoleezza’s Secret Identity: Spiderman, beware!

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:25 pm

The Hamas Minister of, uh, Culture (video at the link) has a few choice words about the USA Secretary of State.  Some choice tidbits (more transcript at the link):

With the arrival of that black scorpion with a cobra’s head, Condoleezza, I began to worry that she would use her venomous fangs and hiss to kill this initiative and new spirit that we should protect.

The arrival of Condoleezza Rice is not a good sign. An even worse sign is the meeting between the Palestinian leadership and the Zionist entity, in the presence of that scorpion-cobra. Condoleezza Rice, you are not welcome.

Every proud Palestinian views you as a murderer, and sees the blood of the children of Palestine between your lips and on your fangs. I pray to Allah that you will soon slither away, along with your master who is more Zionist than the Zionists, that murderer and criminal, whose place in history is more advanced than that of Nero, Hulagu, Genghis Khan, Timor the Lame, Hitler, and Mussolini, and before them that of Nimrod, that criminal murderer, little Bush, who is striving to fan the flames in this region.

Bush believes in the same idea as the Jews: The land from the Euphrates to the Nile is yours, oh Israel.

We must be very wary of the rotten American policies in the region, which are represented by the scorpion-cobra Condoleezza.

This is actually mildly encouraging.  There wasn’t a single reference to “the Great Satan”, and he actually referred to Israel as “Israel”, for once, not merely as “the occupier” or “the Zionist entity” or whatever.

Baby steps, right?

I’m sure we can work with these people. 


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