Monthly Archives: February 2010

Okay, just this once, I’ll acknowledge Frank Rich’s existence

The man is so deranged that he’s just not worth wasting brain space on, but the dozen or so remaining Times’ readers have elevated his latest hallucinations to the top of the “most emailed to Eskimos” category, so here’s Powerline’s rebuttal:

Rich suggests that the answer lies in Stack’s online political screed:

“But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner.”

No, it doesn’t. Stack’s essay is left-wing, not right-wing; it ends with a denunciation of capitalism and a quote from the Communist Manifesto. The Tea Party is a highly diverse movement, but you will find very few Communists in it.

[CF ]: You literally have to be a Times’ employee or devoted Times’ reader to believe this shit. Amazingly, Frank’s followers currently occupy Washington, D.C. and are trying to run the country. Pray for our nation.

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Jews attack curlers!

Out of the West Bank!

Oh, the humanity! Israeli police go after stone throwers.

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Good heavens, Nicholas Kristof discovers evangelicals

They’re doing more to aid the afflicted than anyone else - I have my reservations about some of these groups but Kristof is absolutely right: they’re putting their money and effort where my mouth is  – good for them.

A pop quiz: What’s the largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization?

It’s not Save the Children, and it’s not CARE — both terrific secular organizations. Rather, it’s World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade.

World Vision now has 40,000 staff members in nearly 100 countries. That’s more staff members than CARE, Save the Children and the worldwide operations of the United States Agency for International Development — combined.

A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time?

Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?“How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)Hmm. Imagine if sodomy laws could be used to punish the stingy, unconcerned rich!

One of the most inspiring figures I’ve met while covering Congo’s brutal civil war is a determined Polish nun in the terrifying hinterland, feeding orphans, standing up to drunken soldiers and comforting survivors — all in a war zone. I came back and decided: I want to grow up and become a Polish nun.

Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.

Some liberals are pushing to end the longtime practice (it’s a myth that this started with President George W. Bush) of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. That change would be a catastrophe. In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

UPDATE: on the other hand, here’s an unabashed Rand follower who sees this activity as folly. I don’t agree, but I see her point.

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SWAT teams – the revolution can’t come too soon.

SWAT team busts into house, shoots the family dogs (including the 12″ Corgi) and charges parents for endangering the welfare of a child. This has to stop, now.

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The lights are going out all over Europe

Instapundit links to a distressing article from London: the Muslims are taking over the Labor Party. Viscount Grey would not be surprised.

  • Moderate Muslims in London told how the IFE and its allies were enforcing their hardline views on the rest of the local community, curbing behaviour they deemed “un-Islamic”. The owner of a dating agency received a threatening email from an IFE activist, warning her to close it.
  • George Galloway, a London MP, admitted in recordings obtained by this newspaper that his surprise victory in the 2005 election owed more to the IFE “than it would be wise – for them – for me to say, adding that they played a “decisive role” in his triumph at the polls.

Mr Galloway now says they were one of many groups which supported his anti-war stance and had never sought to influence him.

No, Galloway is a traitor to his country in his own right – no bribes necessary.

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Bummer: Canada 3, USA 2, OT (don’t tell Walt)

Great game, and someone had to lose, but another 24 seconds and it would have gone to a shoot out. Dang.

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I hate to pick on a kid but really ….

Greenwich Time is running a series of articles by a young nitwit named Sarah Lipman who is touring Asia on the cheap and, while I admire her free-spirited adventourousness, I’m appalled at her ignorance.

The Hao Lo Prison is more famously known for the inmates American POWs it held during the Vietnam War in the 1970s, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the United State’s first ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson. Known by them as the Hanoi Hilton, it displays how American POWs — while prisoners — were still treated fairly, with access to packages from home and Christmas dinners.

What interested me most about the prison, and will continue to interest me throughout my stay in Vietnam, is the stark contrast between how as a U.S. student I learned about the war in Vietnam and how the “American War” will be portrayed in museums throughout the country.

Uh huh – great education you got there, Sarah.

There’s this, for instance:

Torture began in earnest the following day, when he was brought before three interrogators and about a dozen soldiers. He initially tried to stick to the textbook answers: name, rank, serial number, date of birth. But then the real pain was applied.

In a steady voice, Swindle described his torturers applying tourniquets to his arms with parachute cord. “They took the cord and cinched it so tightly above my elbows that it literally caused my hands to contract because of the pressure on the ligaments,” he said.

And that was only the beginning. Next they tied his arms behind his back with three men applying pressure on each side. “(They) pulled against each other until my arms, they folded them up my back and my hands went back to my neck,” he said.

Next the torturers wrapped cord around his body so it looked like he had no arms. They tied parachute cord around his thumbs, which were at the back of his head, and hoisted his body off the ground by throwing the cord over the rafters. Swindle said the technique pulled his shoulders out of socket.

“And it’s about that point where you think you’re insane, ’cause this is hurting quite badly, and there’s not a soul in the world that can help me,” he said.

That’s when he learned to lie, figuring he could give them just enough truth to make his lies believable. When the interrogators wanted Swindle to name the men in his squadron, he told them he couldn’t think in such pain. They’d have to loosen the ropes to get anything out of him. When they started to loosen his bindings, he gave them the names of his high-school football coach and assistant coach, saying that was is squadron commander and executive officer.

When they loosened the ropes some more, he gave them the names of his entire high-school football team as his squadron’s pilots. Swindle chuckled as he recalled a welcome-home gala several years later in his small south-Georgia hometown. “All those guys were in the audience,” he said. “And I said, ‘You better not ever go to North Vietnam, because they’re looking for you.'”

Swindle said the experience with the ropes from his second day in captivity was repeated four or five times before he was moved to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp in late December of that year. The lies were all about coping. Prisoners learned many different ways to cope in their tortured captivity. “You give in,” he said. “So don’t think you don’t give in. But it’s how you do it and what you give them.

Or John McCane’s own experience at Hanoi Hilton:

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain.[45] He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[33][45] Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, stopped by guards.[33] After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda “confession”.[33] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, “I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”[46][47] Many American POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract “confessions” and propaganda statements, with many enduring even longer and worse treatment;[48]virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors.[49] McCain subsequently received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[50]

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory.[51] From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable,[52] while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities.[53] McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. “Christmas Bombing” campaign of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.[47][54]

Altogether, McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973.[55] His wartime injuries left McCain permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[56]

But they got Christmas cards from their families!

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