In Praise of Juan Williams

Juan Williams - A Decent Man

Juan Williams - A Decent Man

NPR has fired Juan Williams for having feelings.

I will not be sending any money to NPR, nor to any Public Radio Station that carries them.

Why?

Because for the last decade or so I have had the pleasure of listening to Juan Williams. He is a genuinely decent man. I’ve often not agreed with him. He does tend to be a bit left leaning. We have vastly different cultural backgrounds and sometimes seeing things through the lens of his point of view has seemed to me to ‘have issues’. But he was always an honest and decent man presenting his view of the world directly and with honor.

His Political Crime

Juan had done two unacceptable things. Both involved being honest.

First, he had appeared from time to time on the Fox network. Fox understands that controversy sells. So they have folks from both sides of an issue, and let them argue their points of view. To do that, they need some liberals to face off against their more conservative hosts. When I’d see Juan on Fox, I’d know I was getting a fair presentation from ‘the left’. I new this as I’d heard him on Public Radio (and seen him on Public Television) presenting his views.

But NPR despises Fox. It stuck in their craw that Juan would “support” Fox by presenting his views (and, oddly, their left leaning point of view too) on Fox. But that was not enough to be actionable.

A few days back, Juan was on Fox up against Bill O’Reilly. He was making the point that we need to be tolerant of folks who make us uncomfortable; that Americans in general have a cultural issue with Muslims that we need to get past. All in keeping with the Looney Left Politically Correct Speech rules of engagement… But, Juan had the audacity to be honest. He said, roughly, that if he got on an airplane with a few guys who were dressed like Muslims he would be nervous. This was said as a preamble to the notion that even though folks feel that way, we need to get past it. Well, that’s just not acceptable speech for NPR… The PC Party Line is that we’re all wonderfully good friends and only evil Right Wing Bigots could be made uncomfortable if they found they were sitting next to the newest Shoe Bomber…

While the web page itself is gone, and the cache has been flushed at Google, the sample which Google displays in response to a search is still there:

Juan Williams : NPR
Juan Williams, one of America’s leading journalists, is a news analyst with NPR News. He also works on documentaries and participates in NPR’s efforts to …
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId… – Similar – Add to iGoogle

Note that: “America’s Leading Journalists”

Doesn’t matter if you are a great “Leading Journalist”, have been a valued employee for a decade, are widely held to be a highly competent and decent man with impeccable performance and honesty. Have a Politically Unapproved FEELING and your career is ended.

I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in supporting the Politbureau nor in having Thought Crimes.

FOX: Hire Him Now. Prime Time.

Dear Fox News: Please hire Juan now. Put him on prime time, front and center. Let him host his show and tell what he feels and show what his opinions are. And bring on guests to take the other side. I’ll watch. Every time he’s on. I don’t care if he’s a bit left. I don’t care if he presents the “black view”. I’ll watch. He presents it honestly and makes it interesting.

Not like the ranting screamers who berate anyone white, nor like Jessie Jackson who’s out there for the White Guilt Shakedown nor Al Sharpton and his Black Rage game. I had a black buddy who’s moved away and I miss him. Juan is the same kind of guy, like him, where you could ride together (we both had motorcycles…) to a local bar, share a beer, and simply say “Hey, black guy, so is Jessie Jackson full of crap or what?” And get an honest straight answer. (And perhaps a reposte of “Yeah Whitey, he is, but I still can’t get a cab to stop after 10 pm. And you’re drinking sissy beer. Let me buy you a real mans beer”… (delivered with a grin).

My Horrible Bigotry

I must confess. When I get on a bus, a train, or even an airplane, I’m checking out the crowd. I’m looking for a pattern of multiple Muslim men, typically seated in pairs, all between about 20 and 35, typically clean shaven, or with the 1/2 a beard goatee style they do when trying to be in keeping with having the required beard while trying to ‘blend in’. Nervous demeanor, OR too calm with a touch of elated, will both get bonus points. Heightened awareness of folks around them, ‘scoping out the place’, or generally setting off my ‘people reader’ that these folks are just not acting normal will also get closer inspection. Presence of a backpack on a bus will also be a ‘flag’.

Why? Am I a horrid bigot? Nope. I’ve worked at a majority Muslim firm where I was one of the few non-Muslims. They are good folks, by and large. (Though some aspects of the Koran are a bit nutty from my point of view – like the frequent ‘off with their head’ guidance). I ‘work well’ with Muslims and my only real complaint about them is that they side with my wife on the topic of beer as evil and a sin. Someday I’d like to visit a Mosque and get an introduction to the whole routine. (I’ve been to a Synagogue, Catholic mass, and a few dozen varieties of Protestant churches, and a few Buddhist temples… it would be nice to round out the set of life experiences). Though I think that’s probably not allowed unless you are on the track to conversion.

My reason for inspection is simple:

There has been a decades long pattern of multiple Muslim men blowing up busses, trains, and planes. They self identify (usually after the fact via a video) as Muslims, acting on religious motivations. The organizations that promote this behaviour are open about it and proudly claimed responsibility. There is no secret here about who is doing the blowing up and why.

If we’d been having trains in England and Spain, busses in England and Israel, and planes around the world (oh, and that Cruise Ship where the ran the Jew in a wheel chair overboard after taking over the ship); if those things were being done by Hare Krishna saffron robed advocates, or by Jesuits (sometimes called “God’s Marines”…); well, then I’d be giving the Eagle Eye to all the Saffron Robbed Hare Krishna’s or all the guys wearing their collar backwards.

To ignore that simple fact is insanity. And it is NOT bigotry. It is a rational response to a clearly identified threat.

(I’d started a google search to count the number of planes, trains, and busses blown up in the last few decades by Radical Muslim Nutcases, but the count is just too high to do it in any reasonable length of time…)

A Side Bar on The View

For those who don’t know, Bill O’Reilly was on The View. A couple of the women got into a hissy fit because he said “Muslims attacked us on 911” and the women stormed off the set.

It would seem that the Thought Police will accept ‘that truth’ only if wrapped in dozens of qualifier words to make it Absolutely Clear that there were NOT 2 BILLION Muslims on those airplanes at the time of the attack.

They need to learn that when a cop gets a radio call that “A Black Man is selling dope on 4th and B street corner”, that’s not ALL black men and you don’t need to say “One, and only one, probably poor and oppressed by Evil White Men, African American is plying an inappropriate trade, undoubtedly to support his family, on 4th and B street corner”. Nor, if a Mexican Gang is beating up white guys, do you need to say “A Few, but not ALL 15% of the population that is Hispanic, downtrodden and oppressed Mexicans are beating the crap out of a guy”. Nor, for that matter, when faced with a lynching, say “A half dozen White Trash, but not the rest of the 200,000,000 white oppressors, have lynched …”

In English, the use of a descriptor does NOT imply a union of ALL members of a group or class. It implies a membership of the specific subject of the sentence in that group, and nothing more. I refuse to pollute simple and clean logical thought for the purpose of political BS. Get over it. (Or better yet, don’t. It makes you look really looney and open loop / in need of meds).

My Position

So, just to make my position perfectly clear: The USA was attacked by Muslims on 911. Britain has been attacked several times by Muslims including bus and train bombings. Spain has been attacked by Muslims and had a train blown up by Muslims. Greece has been attacked by Muslims (and historically was occupied by a Muslim Empire with great oppression). Russia has been attacked by Muslims (including the slaughter of a bunch of kids in a school). France has had riots by Muslims. Danes have been attacked by Muslims including murder in the street of folks who dared to suggest that maybe Muslims were not behaving nicely. And dozens and dozens more that are similar.

And I’d be happy to work for a Muslim dominated and owned firm again. I’d be willing to leave my wallet laying on my desk, with money dripping from it at that job. I’d be honored to attend a Muslim service (to the extent an infidel can participate). And if a Muslim friend needed help with anything, I would offer it. After 911 I talked with my Muslim work mates and offered any protection I could afford, should they need it. (And I own guns. That’s plural…) I was also pleasantly surprised (as were they) when in the weeks that followed they had absolutely no “issues” at all; and needed no help. (These were largely folks from out of the USA so kind of stood out with their accents). The notion that Americans are biased bigots is simply broken.

That the Loony Left, the hyper sensitive portion of the Muslim community, and the Temper Tantrum folks on The View can’t handle the truth is just not my problem.

Just like we were at war with Germans in WWII, we are under attack by Muslims now. And just as it was not all Germans then, it’s not all Muslims now. This is obvious. And thousands of Americans of German ancestry went off to fight Germans then. (About 1/2 the US population has some German ancestry). Just like when we were attacked by British shortly after the revolution, yet most Americans then were in fact British, and went off to fight their brothers… To recognize who is doing the attacking is NOT a slam on all members of that group. Our Muslim population was also attacked on 911. By Muslims. That is just a simple truth.

Denying it, and having temper tantrums about saying that truth, simply indicates a person of poor mental structure and with honesty issues.

In Conclusion

I hope to see Juan Williams on Fox much more often. If he blossoms like Stossel has, it will be a joy to watch.

I would also hope that the radical Nutcase Muslims would be identified by the rest of the Muslim community and weeded out. They don’t need the kind of grief those folks are bringing to their community. We can all “just get along”; but only if Islam cleans up it’s own house. The “off with their heads” response to criticism and slights also needs a bit of work.

Finally, it’s pretty clear that NPR has become a PC riddled political advocacy group and needs to be defunded. PACS ought not to be feeding at the public trough, and NPR is now just a PAC with a big publicly funded megaphone. Their bleating that they don’t get public funding is smoke. They get it, just indirectly via the Public Broadcasting station network. Money laundering is not the same as getting no money.

I have fond memories of the days when Public Broadcasting had folks like William F. Buckley as counterpoint to their liberals. (“Point Counterpoint” was also a favorite). But those days are long gone. It’s now just a Politbureau propaganda machine. One, it would seem, that is starting to eat their own kind…

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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52 Responses to In Praise of Juan Williams

  1. R. de Haan says:

    Great article.

    Related:
    They don’t need your money, Soros is financing them big time.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/all_the_news_that_fits_soros_a.html

    Razor sharp analysis from Alan Caruba
    http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/2010/10/npr-fires-juan-williams-for-telling.html

  2. Keith Hill says:

    Hi Chiefio. Long time no post but have been keeping up with your site which is No.1 on my daily “must see” list.

    Though I’m not familiar with Juan Williams, his treatment mirrors that of many people all over the world who fall foul of the ever-increasing scrutiny of the Politically Correct Brigade. This attitude is fed by self-styled “journalists” in a compliant media who seize on every mildly controversial comment, take it out of context, twist it, add their own spin then blow it out of all proportion. Never mind the truth, sensationalism “sells”. The coverage in the lead-up to our recent election is a case in point, as it was pathetic and universally trivialised.

    In Australia it is getting worse. The members of once respected organisations such as the ABC “our” National Broadcaster, our leading scientific organisation CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology have all bowed to PC pressure and are almost exclusively doing the bidding of the Left-wing Government which has been forced even further left after an unholy alliance with the Greens and three left-wing “Independents”.

    I have tried to live my long life in the belief that there is almost always a “happy medium” that can be reached in most situations, recognising that both sides of any disagreement or discussion have some valid points.

    The unfortunate position we have reached is that one side controls most of the media and anyone opposing their leftist views is a branded a bigoted redneck or worse.
    Apart from a few blogs, it is getting very hard to find a forum capable of reaching the general public in which an alternative view can even be expressed.

    As I totally agree with the views you expressed in “My Position” I guess that makes me a bigoted redneck too, but let me assure you that the vast majority of real country Aussies I met on recent travels from North to South, think the same as we do.

    On the travel topic, Eastern Australia has never looked better with heavy grain and seed crops from Queensland through New South Wales and Victoria. Rather funny that despite our BOM In May forecasting a dry winter, most parts of Australia have had their best rains for years and the countryside is soaked. Rivers are flooding, farm dams and even roadside drains were full at the end of August and there have been several heavy widespread downfalls since. Unfortunately, locusts are looming as a threat. Always something!

    We are having some interesting October weather in Tasmania with several heavy falls of snow but the garden is looking great. Ramp up that CO2 and bring on more global warming !

    Finally for now, you may not be getting as many posts but rest assured those who do visit get pure enjoyment.
    Tom Bakewell, a recent poster on another thread of yours, expressed beautifully what I’m sure many of us feel. I hope I’m not breaching your copyright Tom, but I think it’s worth repeating here:

    quote:- “What a remarkably talented soul you are. It pleases me no end that amongst your gifts is the one for high quality writing done for the joy of the craftmanship and the simple pleasure of sharing.”

    Thank you Tom Bakewell. Very well said !

  3. mrpkw says:

    I have never given money to NPR or PBS and never would.

    The idea that there should be any need for a tax funded radio/television channel/network is at least 50-60 years past.

    In the modern age of communication and technology, anyone and everyone can get published or broadcast if there is a desire by any to hear or see it.

    DEFUND NOW !!!!!!!!!!

    It’s “only” about 400 million for all publicly funded stations, but it would be a great start to realizing what the federal governments role should be.

  4. David says:

    EM stated “The notion that Americans are biased bigots is simply broken.”

    Indeed, and thank you for another excelent post. Some simple facts follow:

    There were 1,606 hate crime offenses motivated by religious bias in 2008. A breakdown of these offenses shows:
    65.7 percent were anti-Jewish.
    13.2 percent were anti-other religion.
    7.7 percent were anti-Islamic.
    4.7 percent were anti-Catholic.
    4.2 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.
    3.7 percent were anti-Protestant

    In the first year following 9/11 anti Jewish hate crimes were double anti-Islamic hate crimes. Every year since then anti-Jewish hate crimes have outnumbered anti-Islamic hate crimes by six or more to one.

    Unfortunately the media will instead concentrate on those crimes which do occur against Muslims, rarely if ever acknowledging the low overall number of hate crimes against Muslims, or that anti Semitism in this country is many times worse, and hate crimes against Christians outnumber those committed against Muslims.

  5. David says:

    The biggest problem in the war with radical Islam is our PC attitude which blurs the distingution between radical Islam and moderate Islam. The difference is not easy, and many Muslims are themselves confused on the issue.

    Islam must acknowledge what should be it’s own civil war and failure to police itself of violent extremist activity which occurs regularly in the name of Islam on every continent. All of Islam must show humility and accept some responsibility for the terrorism and unbridled violence that has infiltrated it’s teachings almost since its foundation. Islam must acknowledge that this violence has surged worldwide in recent decades and must clearly state that terrorism is unacceptable and without excuses, and further, Islam must do more to help the world to clearly distinguish between radical and moderate Islam. The US policy should be to do all possible to help true moderates make this distingtion.

  6. boballab says:

    I saw last night that another commentator (Mara Liason) that is on both NPR and Fox as contributors, has been asked by NPR not to go on Fox anymore. Typically you would see her on Bret Baiers special report as part of the panel. With that in play it makes you wonder if what Juan said on the Factor was really why they fired him, or just an excuse to make an example to others if they associate with Fox.

    Now here is something else that is strange: The most honest guy on the Big 3 networks IMHO is George Stephanopoulos. I know sounds strange for someone that was Clinton’s press guy, but he has a nice article up on ABC on his interview with Juan Williams:
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2010/10/juan-williams-i-dont-have-a-psychiatrist-npr-ceo-low.html

    Here is the take away from the end of the article:

    Williams – who just got a $2 million deal for three years with Fox News – said it is making him rethink his previous beliefs about the left wing.

    “I’ve always thought the right wing were ones that were inflexible and intolerant and now I’m coming to realize that the orthodoxy at NPR, its representing the left,” he said.

    Take note Fox has signed him to a $2 mil, 3 year deal so I expect to see him with a show somewhere in the Fox lineup.

  7. Pascvaks says:

    Ditto!

    Couldn’t have said it better!

  8. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Juan Williams may well be the Rosa Parks of modern American journalism. The lefties have really shot themselves in the foot this time and greatly added to the stature of Williams as well as his pocketbook. :-) Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. pg

  9. adrianvance says:

    Read “Enough” (c)2006 by Juan Williams and you will see, again and again, that he has all the gears of a conservative, but continues to think of himself as a black liberal. He is perfect for Fox and that is why they picked him. He knows the truth, but can express the liberal position from his emotional side. Ironically, it was that which did him in for NPR in an ultimate irony. Be aware, they will trash Mara Liason next.

  10. Ed Forbes says:

    I have considered myself to be a “lefty” for years.

    I absolutely hated Bush II and what he did / tried to the constitution.

    [ It is not torture unless the pain is the equivalent of loosing a major organ ]

    [ Wiretapps do not require a search warrant ]

    [ The US government can throw a US citizen, arrested on US soil, into jail, without charge, and no requirement to bring before a judge ]

    But after being called a “racist” for supporting HC over BO in the primaries, I was done with the current crop supporting BO in power.

    “Racist” for the left is becoming a tag like “commie” was for the right for so many years.

  11. Larry Geiger says:

    “Update: Williams signed to new, $2 million FNC contract”

    Hey Chief, they are listening to you!!!

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @boballab: $2 Million? Golly, who knew my “demand” of Fox would work so fast and so well ;-)

    Well, “Good on him!”. He deserves every penny.

    Per StepInAwfulStuf (sorry, it’s just such a wonderful taunt from ‘the old days’ I could not resist resurrecting it… besides, it lets me dodge trying to spell Stepenopho Stephanofo… oh, whatever… ) Per George:

    He, too, has blossomed as he stepped out from under his handlers. I find I kind of like him now.

    For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, the loony left in particular but also the radical right to some degree tend to enforce de facto codes of conduct that make folks come across as stilted and a bit forced / phony. Then when they get to step out and just be themselves, with all the richness that implies, you get a whole new person who is much more effective.

    Ah, yes, Mara Liason. Another effective and persuasive representative of the point of view of the moderate left. Yeah, I’d figure her days are numbered too. I look forward to watching her future $2 Million show on Fox, when that day comes ;-)

    At the rate things are going, Fox will be able to poach all the best and the brightest from NPR while at the same time letting NPR look the fool in the process. Just bloody well played, Rupert.

    @mrpkw: I have given them money. (Damned pledge drives… I have all the Celtic Everything CDs now…) There was a time, 40 years ago, when they were worth a great deal to me. At about 5 years old there was “Educational Television”. I would watch it for hours for the simple joy of learning. One show, on sign language, was way ahead of it’s time. Little did I know that later I would use what it taught me about lip reading and sign… There were endless hours on all sorts of useful things, from math to history (No “History Chanel” then…). I got to meet folks like William F. Buckley and feel parts of my brain light up that were usually being lazy but suddenly had to work to keep up. Such a mind. Infuriating at times, but it was the first time I realized what the larger world really held.

    Then there was Wall Street Week with Luis Rukeyser and Nightly Business Report and Washington Week In Review (of which I have a few boxes of old tapes. About 1/2 of them Beta… but my recorder still works..). But now on Public Broadcasting, “business” is a dirty word.

    It also let me get in touch with my British roots. A lot of BBC stuff got recycled on PBS early on (and still does to some extent).

    So yes, I’ve been a supporter of what they were. (One of my friends has even run the camera at a local station during pledge breaks. I’ve been tempted to sign up too.)

    But when they start eating their own, sorry, can’t join you in that. And when they start making the news instead of reporting it, well, not interested. And when they fire the honest and moral folks, makes me wonder who they keep and just what in their news is real.

    So this morning I was listening to “Morning Edition” on the daily commute. Nothing about Juan. Eventually there was a short ‘promo blurb’ about some coverage to come on some other show.

    Lift rug, address dirt pile, grasp broom firmly, pull dirt toward rug. Twice. Lower rug. Dirt? What dirt?

    I had to change stations. It was a maddening silence on their part as they went droning on about some pap or other with a now-glaring left wing filter firmly between me and the story. Que sticky sweet stereotypical trendy feel good music and CUT! (to another station…)

    It’s hard letting go of old friends. But sometimes they just move away from you to a place you can not follow…

    @Keith Hill:

    About 25 years ago I had the opportunity to move to Australia. The company I worked for had made me an offer to stay and work in the Australia office (as a counter offer to that from another company). At the time I was on vacation in Australia / N.Z. and had accepted the other company offer and told my employer. They had me stop in the Melbourne office to make the counter, and when I mentioned how much I loved Australia used that as a sweetener. (It was a high end database consulting company). I was single. The move would have been easy. And I simply loved the place.

    For decades it has haunted me that I chose to stick with my commitment and come back to California to the other company. Had I passed up a golden opportunity?

    Then, about a decade ago, Australia started going off the Loony Left deep end at a prodigious rate. From gun confiscation to the murder of the real “Crocodile Dundee” to socialism writ ever larger. As the Green God Worshipers took over ever more, it was clear where things were headed.

    So I’m finally relieved of that burden of so long ago. Were I in Australia now, I’d be looking to leave. What the Commissars have done to folks just trying to raise cows on their own ag land is criminal. I’d fantasized about getting a small station to retire on just a 100 klicks or so outside Sydney or Melbourne, or perhaps just inland from 90 mile beach. A place where I could have my own little ‘junk range’ and shoot a tin can or two for fun. A place where I could raise some “toy farm” animals and indulge in some variety development efforts. And a place where the Eucalypts would provide all the fuel I needed as part of the annual clean up to prevent burns.

    And now I see that all of those things are now criminalized to some degree or another and subject to Herr Commissar where they are not outright criminal acts.

    I feel for Australia, and I miss the Australia I once knew.

    (And if you see any Sumner surname folks down there, especially with a tendency to reddish brown hair and freckles, well, some of my Granddad’s siblings moved there. They were sailors in HM Merchant Marine and on visiting, changed home port… So might be worth buying them a beer and asking if their Great Granddad was a sailor…)

    So enjoy the rains and the good crops. And hope for a speedy recovery of your political system too.

    @David:

    Ah, yes. The Forbidden Elephant in the room. Muslim violence toward Jews. (It’s OK to cover Christian violence toward Jews, as that paints Christians as evil red necks).

    OK, time for another “My Bias” revelation, just so folks know where I might have something pulling my position.

    One of my Aunts (from England) married a U.S. soldier during W.W.II (just as my mom did). My mom married a Catholic / Amish blend from Iowa. The Aunt married a “Russian Jew” from Jersey. (His Dad had jumped ship off Florida… Literally. It was under way and he jumped overboard and swam in from 3+ miles off shore…) They had 3 or 4 kids, all smart as can be. One went on to a Military College. Don’t remember which school, but it was very high end. Another is a Ph.D. in Operations Research.

    So I have the stereo typical “Jewish Uncle”.

    If you buy kosher deli food from a chain grocery store along the east coast, you have pretty good odds of buying something from his brothers company. (I’ve forgotten the brand name, but it’s pretty common).

    So yeah, I’ve “got no problem” with Jews. Maddening sometimes. Grumpy and overly sensitive on some issues, IMHO. (Then again, having 90% of your family murdered and being under constant assault for a few hundred years can do that to you…) But generally honest moral folks. And some of them are pretty damn good swimmers… sharks and all.

    Sidebar: I’ve thought of writing a book about the ‘typical’ ordinary American. Putting in the real life stories of folks I know. Jews who swam miles of sharks to be an American. Amish who left Europe for a chance to just be left alone. British who were forced to fight their brothers due to stupid kings. Irish who got off the boat looking for a new world, and often ended up fighting each other on both sides of the War Between The States. (there was little “civil” about it…) And even the story of a Muslim friend who ended up here after one set of muslims in his home country tried to kill his clan. An excitable fellow, but a moral and hard working one. Now with a suburban home, wife and kids. Just an ordinary man. America is full of such stories. It is part of what makes us who we are. Just a bit more ‘sturdy” than the average elsewhere in the world who stayed home.

    OK, with that preamble out of the way:

    It pains me to see how violence toward Jews gets a bit of a wink and a nod some times. It really pains me that Muslim violence toward Jews is rarely presented with the context of the Koran saying it’s “OK”. Not PC to point out that the Koran tells Muslims to kill Jews. (I’ve read it. It’s in there. Just like the Christian Bible has some pretty whacky stuff in it, from polygamy being OK to justified killing and reasonable things like being told to eat Kosher / Halal that Christians pretty much ignore). But the difference is that the Koran is held to be absolute truth by many Muslims in a verbatim kind of way.

    So we have the Synagogue burning of the month, and it’s a ho-hum story.

    (Were I Jewish, I’d have the place so wired with security cameras that anyone driving by would have every hair on their head counted… and I’d have the Rabbi packing heat. But that’s just me. I don’t handle assault in a PC way… “It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6”)

    So in the end I find that the “cranky” and “over sensitive” folks just get me irritated at them. Everybody has someone who tosses rocks at them. Get over it. Muslims too. Stop whining and get on with a happy life. We’re all going to die anyway. I’d rather reach the end after some amount of a decent and happy life. When looking back, I’d rather not look back on a cranky unhappy fulminating span of being pissed. I’ll remember many long warm afternoons sipping wine and hand feeding bean leaves to bunnies. Much better ;-)

    It would be much better for us all to have a pot luck block party and find out what Halal Couscous is like and what makes a decent Kosher Pickle different from a Red Neck Dilly and who makes the best Beef Sandwich (be it Corned Beef, Kosher Pastrami, or whatever the Halal equivalent might be.)

    And we will never get there as long as folks hide the truth, including the real numbers on who attacks whom, and why.

    In America, Jews and Blacks get more than their share. Muslims not so much; though still too much. In the world at large, Muslims cause most of the current mayhem. (From Sudan to Somalia to Lebanon to …). That’s just a fact. And there is nothing that non-muslims can do to ‘fix it’. It’s an internal affair of Islam to fix. And they best get on with fixing it. The rest of the world will not wait forever nor put up with it forever.

    (In prior centuries, it was others who caused most of the mayhem. From the Christians in the Crusades and the Protestant / Catholic wars over “idols” in the Catholic church, to the Godless Socialists and Communists during the Cold War. There is nothing unique about the present Muslim Mayhem. It’s a minor reprise of the Muslim Mayhem of the early “conversion by the sword” in 700 AD to about 1200 AD. No worse and not significantly different from the various other folks who’ve caused problems throughout history. Including MY ancestors from time to time. British Empire anyone? Not exactly peaceful all the time; and often in the “conversion by the sword” model. Vikings visiting with long boats, long bows, and long swords? Not exactly your pot luck luncheon… This is not an ethnic nor a racial nor even much of a cultural issue. It’s just an issue of a culture that needs to learn to be peaceful and to ‘play well with others’. We’ve all been there before. It’s just their turn now. Oh, and lay off the Jews for a while. They’ve had more than their share of grief over the centuries… )

    So I find myself remembering that maddening phrase:

    “Can’t we all just get along?”

    And thinking “Maybe not…” But I’m still going to try.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @ Ed Forbes:

    FWIW, I like to distinguish them as “Daddy Bush” and “Baby Bush” ;-)

    Drives some folks nuts…

    Yeah, my Libertarian Leanings caused me to pull support for Republicans at that time. I suspect most of the folks in the Tea Party are of that ilk. “A pox on both their houses”…

    I’m fond of saying that I’m a “California Conservative” and that makes me radically liberal compared to a “Texas Democrat”. But it’s true.

    I’m simply NOT a Republican nor particularly conservative (in the current Right Wing Republican sense).

    I think abortion is entirely an issue between a woman and her doctor and God. Perhaps with a consultation with her spouse, but perhaps not. Government has NO role. Don’t think so? Google “abortifacient plant” then tell me that the reality is not entirely in the hands of the pregnant one.

    I think that marijuana ought to be legal to buy at the drug store (along with cough syrup containing codeine as it was when I was a kid. Worked well.) FWIW, one of my Mom’s friends was an “herbalist” in England pre W.W.II. Among the herbs she legally sold was M.J. that was used for “melancholy and poor appetite”. Worked well ‘for purpose’ too ;-) And I’d be happy with a Coke that contained Cocaine being available from the pharmacist too, just like in the old days.

    ALL the war on drugs ought to be abolished. It’s a medical issue, not a criminal one. Oh, and let us go back to buying things like lye at the grocery store, please. It can be used to make soap and open drains in addition to making drugs…

    I think the USA ought to pull 100% of “Foreign Aid” from all countries. It’s just legalized graft, bribery, and corruption.

    And while we’re at it, bring ALL military forces home and close the overseas bases. Concentrate on making rapid deployment forces and long range weapons. Bases? We don’t need no steeenking bases! :-)

    A hypersonic suborbital bomber can hit anywhere on the planet in less than 90 minutes. Aircraft carrier groups are mobile bases. Don’t drop One Dime in the EU or Asia or the Middle East for bases. We don’t need them. If they want to kill each other, that’s their problem.

    Simply leave Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible. If Al Qada sticks their head up, blow it off with a predator missile. If the Afghans want liberty, they can figure out how to get it. Or not. Not my problem.

    Prostitution? Pauleeze… You think there is a significant difference between a truck driver at Mustang Ranch and a billionaire with a Trophy Wife? The only difference is the size of the pay check and the duration of the contract.

    Polygamy? Heck, that’s nothing. As far as I’m concerned, if folks what to indulge in a Line Marriage, that’s up to them. Two GROUPS getting married with various numbers of partners on each side. (Shown in fiction in Paint Your Wagon and other places. Reputed to have been practiced in the ‘informal’ old west some times).

    Gays in the Military? No, I don’t think they ought to serve side by side with everyone else. I think we ought to have a Gay Brigade complete with self designed uniforms (they WILL be better than any other branch) and a unit flag with a pink patch on it. And ADVERTIZE that being killed is the least of your worries if these guys (and gals…) are assaulting your position… Like the Black Airmen of W.W.II, and the Nisei Soldier units of W.W.II, they would be legendary in no time. It would end the “issue” right quick.

    The list goes on. Am I a liberal? Don’t know. Don’t care.

    I just think folks ought to be left alone to get through life as best they can and enjoy the process as they see fit. Government ought to stop folks from killing, hurting, or robbing each other; but beyond that has limited validity.

    If there was a “Just leave us all the Hell Alone! party”, I’d be a member. Or even just a “Tell the busy bodies to shut the hell up and go home” party.

    So I’m a “conservative” because I think the government ought to be put on a diet down to about the 10% or less of GDP level. Because I think that the legalized THEFT that is taxation ought to be used to the absolute minimal level possible while keeping the peace. Because I think folks can handle their own money and fund their own charities better than any government agency ever could (and I’m old enough to remember when we did that…)

    But I’m a “liberal” because I think what you do with your body parts is up to you.

    Thus my membership in no party.

    And while I like some of what Baby Bush did (we’ve not had a 911 reprise), many of the things done to get there were horrid destructions of liberty and not worth it.

    So now I’ve probably managed to offend the 90% of the folks who are both on the conservative and the liberal sides of the “issues’…

    When did we lose the ability to have our neighbors think and act differently from ourselves and be OK with that?

  14. P.G. Sharrow says:

    And I thought I was the last conservative Democrat left in California. The best government is the least government nessesary to keep the peace. The smaller the better, the least obtrusive and the more local the better. The best bureaucracies that I have seen are ones that are starved to the edge of impotence. Freedom ends where the next guys nose begins. Freedom is not license, it requires responsiblity for the freedoms of your neighbor, even if you don’t particularly like them. pg

  15. LarryOldtimer says:

    I would only like individual freedom, and be free of having far to much of my earnings being taken away, essentially at gunpoint, to go to extremely foolish purposes.

    I am as tolerant of others as I can afford to be, and always have been. Doesn’t do all that much for you when others are not in the least tolerant of you, and they get power.

    Only 17% of Germans voted for Nazi Party candidates in the democratically conducted polls in 1932. Still, Hitler became dictator in 1934.

    It really doesn’t take all that many “extremists”.

  16. David says:

    Thanks for all your posts E.M. BTW, how many words to you type per minute?; they appear to just fly from a fast processor.

    I have read from one Iman in particular who is moderate and gives a truly rational and reasonable view of the Koran. Ahmed Mansour, a moderate “Quran only” Muslim scholar http://www.freemuslims.org/about/mansour.php educated in Cairo and persecuted and imprisoned there for his reformist teaching was sued in America for voicing concerns about the ISB’s construction of a large mosque in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury.
    http://www.ahlalquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=6600

    The majority of Muslims feel that Islam has three sacred texts: Koran, Sira and Hadith, the Islamic Trilogy. The Sira is presented by most as Mohammed’s biography. The Hadith are considered his traditions—what he did and said. Sira and Hadith form the Sunna, the perfect pattern of all Islamic behavior. These two texts preach an intense and violent version of Jihad and are the basis of Sharia. Ahmed Mansour, an Iman formaly educated in Egypt, teaches that the Hadith, A’al Al Bait and other Sirah were written about 200 years after the Quran by an already hijacked faith and used to justify barbaric ways and conquests typical of the middle ages. He is, in my view, the most articulate interpreter of a moderate Koran and he appropriately rejects the Hadith and Sira.
    http://www.ahlalquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=6674
    If one wishes to truly understand what went wrong with Islam and why it is stuck in the dark ages he is a great read.

  17. David says:

    Sorry the links are messed up, I will try to fix, for now anyone intrested just google his name.

  18. David says:

    http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=4145

    second try, link on lwft side to “Islam, religion of peace” article.

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @David

    Don’t know how many, haven’t measured it in a while. It’s entirely subconscious at this point. (First typing class was in high school in about 1969… homework done on a manual machine in college. Professional work included hospital admissions clerk doing 7 part carbon paper copies on a Selectric and you really did not want to fix a typo on 7 part paper…) I’m slower than my spouse (who can jam most mechanical and electric typewriters and overrun many computers… she’s past 70 wpm when slowed…) I was 25 wpm when I finished my first class. Those are the bounds. I’d guess that now I’m about 40 to 50 wpm unless I have to stop to think about the spelling…

    Looks like you left a dash out of the first link. This ought to be it:

    http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=6674

    I’ll give it a read.

    Sounds familiar. A couple of hundred years after something catches on, new folks try to take it over and bend it. Just like the Council of Nicea decided to leave out the things in the Bible that were Gnostic… or recognized Mary Magdalene as being (nearly?) a spouse of Jesus and the prime apostle.

    FWIW, as near as I can tell Mohamed was proselytizing Christianity and using a Gnostic Bible (what was found in the region from that era was often Gnostic in nature). That ends up being the basis for a lot of the conflict over the years between Islam and Western Christianity. The explanation I got was that after Nicea the Bible was considered somewhat buggered by the eastern folks, and when the copy of the Bible Mohamed had used was finally worn out and ‘lost’, they felt the replacement was a blaspheme. Thus importing a Bible today is a capital offense in some countries. It would be nice if they could settle that point and study up on the Gnostic texts…

    So I could easily see the guys who did the explaining in the added books also deciding to have a “no surviving Bible is true” ruling. Then nobody goes back later after we’ve found the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hamadi Library, and all the rest… To say “Well, it’s not EXACTLY the one Mohamed used, but it’s still correct.”.

    Ah well.

    Sidebar on Bible History: FWIW, on one occasion the Focus Obsession hit me per the Bible. (Anyone with Aspergers or borderline knows what the Focus Obsession is like… you can’t stop it, it must be fed, until the pattern is complete and understanding is full.) I’ve now got quite a Bible library. About a dozen in print. A dozen or so more in electronic format. Latin (base of the Catholic Bible). Septuagint (Greek, basis of many other texts). Peshita (translated from Aramaic and substantially unchanged from the time of Jesus, who spoke Aramaic). Gnostic in three forms. Nag Hamadi and a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I wanted to know just how much the ‘translation’ changed things. How much “crap” was accumulated over 2000 years of re-translating.

    After about 2 years, I reached a very annoying answer: Almost nothing was wrong.

    (Which means I’d wasted that time…)

    90%+ of all the ‘differences’ come down to silly things like gender marking and number. For example, Greek has a “dual”. When you say “We went”, it can be marked as “We-several went” or “We-two-of-us went”. Similarly, there is male, female, and neutral gender. So sometimes “That-person-neutral” gets translated to “he” and sometimes to “she” (and if a good translation is done, to “they”, but then you turned the singular into an ambiguous plural… So my favorites would use something like “The person” or “the speaker”… but I digress even more…) The remaining 10% of differences are not much more substantial and easily handled in a foot note or two.

    The latest Bible I’ve got is approved for Catholics, Protestants, and I think even acceptable to Eastern Orthodox as long as you consult the footnotes.

    Why This Matters:

    If the Protestants and Catholics who used to kill each other over the “Idols” in Catholic churches and the “laymen reading bibles in English” in the Protestant churches, and even when I was a kid would complain about what was in the Apocrypha … If we can bridge all that. Then perhaps there is hope that Islam can rediscover it’s Christian roots and find a set of books of the Bible that are “close enough” to the one Mohamed carried. At least enough that they can ‘tone down the killing’ a bit and see what they are fighting for…

    (The only place where I saw significant differences were pre Nicea. And even then it was primarily what whole books were in, or out. They still exist in large part. Just in other folks Bibles. But frankly, even then it’s not all that substantial. A couple of the Apocrypha books are just dreadfully dull stories of historical but not much religion content. Maccabees comes to mind. Nice history of that family of kings, but not going to lose sleep if it’s left out.)

    Oh, and I’ve got a Jehovah Witness version that differs almost entirely in that instead of all the circumlocutions some Bibles use to avoid the actual name of God, they put Jehovah in those places. Not exactly the end of the earth… And a few copies of The Book Of Mormon, that tacks on some more books after the ‘regular’ bible. Mormons keep delivering them to me ;-)

    At any rate, this way too long ramble is just to say that: The differences between whatever Mohamed had and what we’ve got now are just not “material”. It would be nice if they figured that out too.

    The strange thing about all this is that I’m basically an Agnostic… but when the compulsion hits, it can not be stopped. Even translated some of the Greek and Latin myself just to assure it was right. Discovered that I was OK at it, but the guys who did it for a living with the Spirit In Them were much more careful and much better… and left footnotes on all the hard bits. Oh Well, it was only a couple of years of my life. And I’ve got a dandy “Little Library” of religion out of it… ;-)

  20. j ferguson says:

    E.M. and all,
    It’s interesting that two recent public firings each involved seemingly politically incorrect statements which were followed by explanations on how such thoughts could have been harbored by the “miscreant.”

    In both cases, the folk who would inform us printed the PI statement without the context and in each case grossly misrepresented the intent of the speaker.

    In one case, the lady at Department of Agriculture was summarily fired and in the other Mr. Williams was sent packing.

    When I read E.M.’s lead, I thought “Oh Boy, he’s gone over the fence on this one.” Then I read the context and checked into the story in more depth and found that a grave injustice had been done.

    E.M. was spot on.

    It will be interesting to see if any of the other reporters/observers at NPR resign.

    I found myself hiring and firing early in my career. I came to understand that the stability of my report group depended on their comfort that both hires and fires were rational – but particularly the firings. Possibly wrongly, I felt that in my business, construction design, a certain amount of turnover was a good thing – people who had gotten bored, people who shouldn’t have been hired in the first place, excessive malcontents, people whose future was blocked at our shop but had greater possibilities than we could support etc.

    But in every case where someone was let go, i thought it essential that to the degree possible, the troops knew why.

    I might add that I quickly sought employment elsewhere if I found myself in a place where people could be fired for reasons I didn’t or couldn’t understand.

    One might expect a minor exodus from NPR and if there isn’t one, I would be less impressed by their people.

  21. boballab says:

    EM

    On most of your list I won’t touch, but the bases one I will since that is something I know about both from history and living it in the military.

    The wanting of a “Rapid Deployment Force” capability is nice, however there is a problem in the concept: As of right now there is no way to move a heavy combat unit ie an Armor Division by cargo plane. That means that units such as the 82nd Airborne division when they deploy overseas can only hold out for an X amount of time against an enemy heavy combat unit before getting overrun. That in turns means that the US military needs a way to get heavy units to hot sots faster, which in turn means forward deploying them closer to areas where hotspots are likely to occur, which means overseas bases. The idea they have right now is things like the USNS ships that have a duplicate set of say the 3rd Armor Divisons Tanks sitting at a US Navy Base in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia. From there they can fly the men from Conus by Cargo plane to meet up with the equipment. However they are finding that they really are not saving that much money since they had to buy 2 tanks instead of one, maintain 2 tanks instead of 1 and so on.

    Now should some overseas bases be closed? Yes but at the same time new ones should open closer to where todays hot spots are. Examples do we need so many Army bases in Germany: No. Would they be in a better position if they were for say in a base worked out with Egypt? Yep.

    Another aspect of the forward bases are the ones that are refueling points between Conus and the mid east like Ramstien in Germany, another is ones like Landshtul Army Hospital also in Germany. With wounded the faster you get them to the proper level of care the better off they are.

    Another area for forward bases is the ones we have for 8th Army in Korea. If they hadn’t been sitting there since the 1950’s North Korea would have invaded South Korea again: Count on it. By being there they prevented the North from getting that stupid again, thus saving US lives.

    Other forward bases such as Comfleacts Sasebo Japan is where they maintain the US Navy’s ships that can carry all the forward deployed Marines on Okinawa to Korea if the NK’s get stupid or any where else if needed in the region. Just do the math: How long from SoCal to North Korea and How long from Okinawa to South Korea, or the Philippines, or Thailand.

    US Navy carriers are a forward base in a way and they do use a Nuclear power plant, but their escorts do not. That means you need replenishment ships to ferry things like Food, Bunker C and AvGAs out to the fleet. The longer your supply chain the more vulnerable it is (something that dates back to Sun Tzu) so you want forward secured logistics bases.

    Another aspect of forward bases is in the covert intelligence game and we are not talking about spies either. Example of this was when I was stationed at Sasebo Japan just a little over 90 miles from S. Korea and where the prevailing winds blow from Korea to. One of my duties was to maintain an air sampling unit that was classified. What that thing was for was to check on both Russian (this was in 87 to 89) Nuclear bomb tests and to see if the Koreans (both North and South ) ended up building one.

    The pulling back to Conus thing and deploying from there sounds nice but when it was put in practice it was a disaster see the end of WWI and the begining of WWII. We pulled back and disengaged from the rest of the world, we went isolationist and look what we got: Pearl Harbor. Also take note that WWII started during bad economic times just like this and during that time the US government was crowing about how they cut military spending. It was so bad soldiers had to use wooden fake guns and go “bang” “bang”, Model T’s were used as fake Tanks and wrapped up balls of flour simulated grenades. We do not need to repeat that past mistake.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Boballab: Well, you make some good points. But I’m going to ignore them ;-)

    The bases argument all hinges on us continuing to be “Cop to the world”. I’d just rather we did a bit of “Let you and him fight”.

    There is a certain amount of implied technology substitution that I’d not gone into (as I’m prone to prolix… so try to trim). My basic approach, were I military God, would be to make a bunch of high speed large Catamarans and Surface Effect Ships that could carry tanks (and I’d even be happy to have a larger C5 feet (that can carry a tank each IIRC) so as to get the ‘heavy’ in place fast. Yes, I know it’s not the same, but it ought to be workable.

    (Though in fact, I’d always let “workable” be decided by the folks who get shot at…)

    Basically what I’m advocating is that with a significant effort on new, different, and special purpose ships and planes; you can avoid the need to have a load of folks on the ground. Yes, it would cost a lot to make an aircraft carrier sized hospital ship. But it could also be closer to any ‘hot spot’ fairly quickly. Ditto large fuel tankers with mobile fuel delivery. But in all those cases the money stays in OUR economy.

    FWIW, the biggest “issue” I see is not a technical one. Not even a financial one. It’s a ‘threat’ one. The thing that makes me most nervous about the idea is the potential for catastrophic collapse. One guy figures out a way to make a new kind of anti-ship missile we can’t detect / stop and we lose the whole shebang. That, more than anything else, looks like the ‘deal killer’ for what I’d LIKE to do; but would probably be constrained not to do by “facts on the ground”. (Though pushing for it would surface all the places where it COULD be done…)

    Wife’s Dad was 101st Airborne. So I’ve had some “focus time” on what it means to be airborne. All light weight equipment and not much of anything extra… But now imagine airborne backed up by something like the Marines amphibious assault craft landing tanks and artillery along with a flock of overhead drones with 105 cannon, rockets, etc. I think it’s technically doable.

    But would likely take 20 years to work out the ‘bugs’ (and I’d want them demonstrated as worked out prior to ‘cutting over’ to it…)

    I suppose my mental model is the nuclear submarine fleet. Just lurks around the world and can hit anywhere needed any time. Horridly expensive, but nobody messes with it…

  23. KevinM says:

    Your position on marriage would require modification to policies and law for survivor benefits for spouses. A group marriage could become financially strong by multiple-marrying the very old to the very young according to a revenue maximizing plan. The regulations required to stop nonsense like that- would put those agitating for more open marriage definitions right back at square one.

    Do you honestly think those agitating to eliminate don’t ask don’t tell would be happy with a gay brigade? I think that is a beautiful solution, and some gays might like it if they were asked, but NPR would have Brown-vs-Topeka foam at their mouths.

    Bringing the military home from everywhere is something I would love to see, but! It is the first act in acknowledging we have more army men and army tools than we need. The next acts would be very ugly for the US economy. The burning question for me is what happens to a million youngish high school educated men who made an early life decision that gunfights in the jungle/desert sound better than being a grocery manager, and stuck with it for more than a few years. We (USA) kind of need a place to direct our citizens of that mindset.

    I joined a carpool for 10 months that played NPR as a compromise. Many days I left the car overcome by revulsion. The cookie cutter content and presentation are devoid of thought. I could consistently forecast what would be said 30 seconds ahead, so as to be smugly disheartened when it came around.

  24. KevinM says:

    How cool would it be to see a military take down of North Korea soloed by the gay brigade.

    Big men with M16s and pink feather boas marching through Pyongyang with American flags.

    Irresistable!

  25. pyromancer76 says:

    Great discussion all the way from post through comments. And, E.M. Smith, Juan Williams should be sending you a great big thank you for one of the most astute appreciations of his career and efforts.

    Thank goodness you didn’t get stuck in Australia. At least here you have a chance to continue to fight back against imprisoned minds and behaviors. Don’t blush, but I think you’re a national treasure. Any time you want to put your experiences and ideas in book form, you won’t want for readers. Just don’t take time away from your blog! Your writing for a larger audience is one of the best things to come from WUWT.

    Now, the small topic of policing (or not) the world? That’s a toughie, although it may be a moot point since we “no longer have the bucks.” I very much enjoyed the military discussion. My father, from English-Irish background, volunteered to give his all in WWII to “save the world for democracy”. I feel a responsibility to carry on that tradition. Democracy, of course, was/is in the financial/economic/political/live-safely-with-one’s-family-and-be-happy interests of U.S. citizens. Citizen’s of other countries of the world, aside from the extremists, seem to crave the same whenever given the choice.

    The forces arrayed against us today “(marxist, maoist, islamist, and a somewhat nebulous new-world-order of financial-type elites, e.g., the ones behind AGW and its propaganda descendants), like then, are totalitarian in nature and we know the consequences of their power: millions upon millions die for their whims/power-hunger. (The Chinese seem to get a social Focus Obsession every so many years; either free-market-destruction total behavioral control or all-out market with its similar authoritarian bent.) I don’t want to be one of them, nor do I want that for my children or grandchildren.

    So what to do? I am not sure a libertarian perspective as I understand it is a realistic answer; however, defund, defund, defund seems to be the first step. On the foreign level, the U.N. must go, including all those billions we owe; then all those governments receiving humanitarian-foreign aid that are not answerable to their citizens. Require the EU, Japan, and all others who have lived under U.S. protection to begin to pay their share. Let their citizens grow up knowing something about what it means to be responsible for all the conditions of one’s good and relatively safe life. That’s a considerable savings. Maybe we could still engage in containment-type policing. When we meant it, it proved to be very successful and I think we would be much safer continuing it.

    Then I would turn to the federal government for significant defunding. This move is a big brawl just waiting to happen; we don’t have the money to keep funding. But I am a classical liberal and view libertarians as the often brilliant and successful yet traditionally selfish, miserly Americans. “I made mine, now get your hands off”. (De Tocqueville wrote about them first. They cannot see past themselves and value the working people who helped to make their enterprise profitable [no gratitude] and value all the government-funded necessities that created a society in which their success was possible.) And conservatives I see as stuck with some sort of authoritarianism, whether the crown, aristocracy, or meritocracy in the past or their version of God and “his” behavioral demands in the present. In human societies, we have to work together as human beings, and I will respect your faith, but keep it out of politics. Once it’s in politics, it is no longer faith-based, but power-based and deserves to be treated as such. Much, if not most, of Islam is an excellent example today. Mosques must be treated as centers of power, not worship, until a transformation happens.

    You are very right about decriminalizing drugs. All anyone has to do is learn from the history of the 1920s that prohibiting booze only opened up an amazing capitalist opportunity for the various mafias, and gave them the wealth to move their operations into apparently “respectable” enterprises. (Does Chicago mean anything to anyone?) The same is happening with global drug “gangs” today. I think we should pull the plug. Let the doctors deal with those who have no self control. Many fewer lives would be lost, many countries would become livable again, and fewer thugs would be created.

    I am a little less hands-off the abortion issue than you. Girls’ bodies are involved as well as women’s and I think parents should be concerned. The fetus should be considered, too; no late-term abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger. I have seen too much promotion of “free sex” on the part of the vicious left purposefully to undermine and destroy the “western” family; abortion on demand is part and parcel of that propaganda. I remain very suspicious. Lastly, wife and husband ought at least to have a conversation about a common act that resulted in the creativity of both. Boyfriend-girl friend, maybe not. No vow has been given. I believe there is a “sacred” aspect to conception.

    Thanks for stimulating conversation.

  26. boballab says:

    EM

    To give perspective the last ship I was stationed on was the USS Denver LPD-9:

    http://www.navysite.de/ships/lpd9.htm

    Now if you click that link you see that it is an amphibious assault ship and it is stationed at Sasebo Japan. However when I served aboard her she was stationed in San Diego. Why was she moved from San Diego to Sasebo? Simple, from Sasebo to Okinawa, pick up the Marines and get to Korea is 5 days tops, from San Diego 14 days. So where do you think the guys of the 101 would want that ship and the Marines that board her when they deploy to Korea, San Diego 14 days away or Sasebo 5 days away?

    The position of not wanting to be the worlds cop is a false one. You want Oil from the Mid East? you better be able to project military power there. You want to keep the NK’s from overrunning South Korea or China out of Taiwan or Japan again you have to have a military presence there not in the US.

    Go back to Desert Shield and when Desert Storm happened. Why do you think it took 6 months before we kicked Saddam out of Kuwait? I’ll tell you it wasn’t for any diplomatic reason, it was because it took that long to get the equipment and supplies needed for that short little war. Yep thats right it took 6 months to fight a 2 week war because we had nothing already over in that area. That is why it went much faster when Bush II did Iraqi Freedom, the equipment was already there in Pomcus sites in Saudi.

    Another fine example was the Korean War. It only happened because we had pulled US troops out of there in 1949 and because in a speech it wasn’t listed explicitly as an area we would fight over so the Russians and chinese told the NK’s go ahead invade the South. Notice that it happened after a troop pull out back to the US.

    The thing about just let them fight doesn’t work either due to two facts.

    1. There might be something that our economy needs from that area. Example: Do you think we should sit back and let Iran overrun the entire gulf region thus controlling a major portion of the worlds oil supply?

    2. Mutual defense treaties that the US has signed. By US law any Treaty signed by the President and approved by the Senate has the force of being the same as being part of the Constitution. So by law in those cases we have to go fight there. Better to prevent that fight then have to fight it, the cost in lives is much smaller.

  27. bruce says:

    From Juan to bombs.
    From “The Next Hundred Years” he postulates super speedy rockets guided from satellites. Might well be the direction the U.S. is going. As well as war with Japan and destruction from the dark side of the moon.
    The libertarian wall is the one I’d like to lean on but things keep getting in the way.
    What a tangled web we weave when first we …

    I question if California can pull back from where it is headed.

  28. TGSG says:

    E.M., do you think the peoples of the world are advanced enough for us to retreat into “fortress America”? What would happen to the world’s commerce if we weren’t there to help our allies?

  29. LarryOldtimer says:

    I was in an intelligence section for 3+ years, 1954-1958, at SAC HQ. We were intent on making sure that we could nuclear bomb 4,000 targets mostly in the USSR. And if needed, SAC would have done so. Serious business. The USSR was, in reality, our mortal enemy, and we could all rally around combating a mortal enemy..

    Until about 1967, the balance of trade was hugely in our favor. The US mined and manufactured and grew everything we needed, except for platinum, as I recall. Made in USA signified the best technology available. We exported crude oil until 1957, and the reason we began importing foreign oil was because, with the advances in huge shipping technology, imported oil was a bit less costly. Only about 35% of the crude oil in CA oil fields that was extractable was removed.

    Then our great leaders decided to be more “fair”, and gave away our technology secrets, and began serious foreign aid, much more than previously. What we have been doing is no different than paying tribute, to hopefully prevent war, which never has worked in history.

    As of now, the US has given away all the wealth we had, and far more from money we have borrowed. We no longer really manufacture much of anything. The EPA, along with many state agencies, has almost completely destroyed us from an economic standpoint.

    Our government policies have completely failed us, to the point of our at least economic destruction. Historically, the political answer to a failed government has been war of large magnitude.

    The rest of the world became dependent on our buying goods from them with borrowed money, and we mostly have been living on borrowed money, lots of it from foreign investors and China.

    Pity, it is, that there is no mortal enemy in reality to wage war against, or even a convincing mythical one. China is playing hard ball, and our government no longer knows how to play that game.

    Along about 1970, it was decided that we could replace our mining and manufacturing economy with a service economy. I knew at that time who would get “serviced”.

    It will still take a while, or possibly not, only time will tell, but we have undone ourselves.

    Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. As true now, the madness part, as it ever was.

  30. Neil says:

    The comment of Juan Williams that seems to have been missed is “political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don’t address reality.”

  31. Keith Hill says:

    E.M: I see you have obviously been following the tragic story of the Thompsons on WUWT. For those posters here who are interested but not yet familiar with the saga, Google Jo Nova for an excellent coverage.

    Put in a nutshell, and with acknowledgment to Jo for the quote, the nub of the story is this: “Did you know in Australia it’s possible to ruin a business if you don’t like the way it smells? This is a heartbreaking story — that a government could effectively ruin a family by slowly strangling them in red tape, and that they would have apparently no protection from the courts.”

    We once used to have a saying in Australia when odd and seemingly unbelievable events occurred :- It could only happen in America!

    With the current PC Environmental madness infecting Governments world-wide, it could happen anywhere at any time!

  32. j ferguson says:

    E.M.

    The link details the bind Mr. Williams had gotten himself into with his superiors.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/22/AR2010102206469.html

    His boss, Vivian Schiller, the woman who runs NPR and who fired him, claimed that the Muslims not in mufti in the plane incident was just the latest in a long line of transgressions of NPR policy.

    The transgressed policy (I paraphrase) was that people who deliver news and commentary on NPR must appear to be non-partison – they must not do anything which would suggest that NPR itself leans to the right or leans to the left.

    That Ms Schiller could possibly imagine that any but the most liberal could not recognize the preponderance of liberal POV conveyed in the programs in which POV is possible is incredible – anosognosia, once again.

    I took blindness as another bizarre example of the vexing trait of a significant part of our liberal establishment – they think they are in the middle. And in so thinking, they push us moderate conservative-liberals into the lunatic fringe along with the die-hards.

    Do notice if you read the link that it contains Williams last “felony” as an NPR employee regarding the confession of his discomfort with some people he might find on a flight, yet NOTHING of the context in which the statement was made.

    It was part of a discussion we need more of.

    Finally, it will be nice if FOX softens its too frequently doctrinaire views with a bit of liberal leavening. That they would hire Mr. Williams speaks very well of them.

  33. j ferguson says:

    Boballab

    I ponder the mix of war commitments we’re getting into. The counterinsurgencies and Taliban suppression seem to fit into the unwinnable but necessary activities contemplated in the excellent Small Wars Manual published by the Marines and available in pdf on their website.

    Petreus’ book improves on it with more thought and modern methods and capabilities.

    But that is for our anti-terrorist activities – small wars that they be.

    We also have to face the prospect of more pervasive larger wars.

    I suspect we would no longer have the luxury of getting our act together after the war starts as we did in 1942. We have to be ready now and have to be able to see it coming.

    But all that’s obvious. Amazingly, exactly the same question faced The English in the 1690s as to whether to continue to fund a standing army for William to use should the French again get out of control.

    And Louis XIV proved beyond much doubt that guys with big wigs could make real trouble.

    I worry about zapping miscreants from drones or space. The capability to wage war on the cheap seems very dangerous since it seems to me to increase the attractiveness of armed conflict as a substitute for some other method. What if zapping a few bad guys is less expensive than setting up an embassy on their turf?

    Would you invade Russia in 1941 if you thought it would take more than a few months? How many other wars have commenced with a thought that one could prevail in a few months?

    George Bush I seems to be one of the few to have done it.

    So I guess my apprehension is that no matter how pure our intentions might be, if it gets really risk-free to zap the enemy du jour, we’re likely to do it a whole lot more often and eventually incite someone capable to do something about us.

    Does any of the above make any sense to you.

  34. j ferguson says:

    E.M.

    sorry, but I’m waiting for SWMBO and have enough time to think about what you’ve written some more.

    Why would you suppose that the different editions or versions of the bible available to you might not already be reconciled and that in their ancient forms might have diverged more. Since this is obvious, I’m sure you’ve protected for this possibility, but….??

  35. oMan says:

    E.M. – Wonderful stuff, and it has inspired some equally wonderful comments (thoughtful, diverse, chock full of lessons from real life and new facts). I can’t improve on your defense of Juan Williams and I share your delight that Fox has snagged him for their line-up. It reinforces my sense that bigotry is a losing game, because you deny yourself access to the best talent out there. And NPR is nothing if not bigoted. As was noted above (J Ferguson) it is important to have good reasons for what you do, otherwise people stop believing and trusting you. NPR has made several big mistakes here. First, getting their doctrinal pants in a wad over whether Juan (and others) can play in the neighbors’ yard. At that level their policy does not stand up. Now that it’s been tested, it falls right over: because in practice it means that nobody who works for NPR can ever dare to voice an opinion or make a personal admission at odds with the Party Line. So, as others have predicted, I think Mara Liasson is next on the list of those needing to be purged. Second, NPR’s tactical work on Juan’s exit was Epic Fail. Two parts to that: (a) The snark from NPR President Schiller was beneath contempt, of course, but not only because it was cheap and hateful; also because it showed a fundamental lack of professionalism. Professionalism means taking your feelings out of it. Schiller couldn’t and didn’t. It was self-indulgent and played to her clique, and must have felt just great –for about 2 minutes, until the feedback kicked in. I can’t imagine what NPR’s HR lawyers did when they heard it: “You said WHAT?” If she can’t handle a simple task like finding and holding the right message line on what should be a “simple” contract action like saying good-bye to Juan, she is so not ready to run the business. If they don’t can her within some short interval, it will be further proof –as if any were needed– that the rot is fatal. As a related part of Epic Fail, (b) the House Memo “explaining” why Juan was now seeking fields and pastures new, and how the NPR policy works –allowing all sorts of diversity and freedom so long as it is OK with the bosses– was a mess. It was sloppy (“principle” spelled as “principal” –a detail, but a telling one). It was cold. It was defensive. It failed its purpose, which was to explain. As a result, I would think the paranoia and confusion over at NPR must be at critical levels. More good people will be edging, or running, toward the exits.

    Bottom line, despotic cultures are not immune to change. They just face it differently. For long periods while reality changes around them, they hold the line. The contradictions and corruption piles up “unseen” behind the ramparts of solidarity and propaganda. Finally the stress is overwhelming and some minor error or assertion blows out the whole thing, like a little fissure in a dam. Simple physics.

    Again, thanks for the excellent blog.

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    @KevinM: My position on marriage is simply that it is no business of the Federal Government. (I’d be inclined to add “or the States too” but history does not support that assertion has historically some states have had their own State Religion and divergent marriage laws). So any “legal issues” would only be at the state level, and per state.

    Per “survivor benefits”, I think it’s easy to deal with. Any “contract” (be it marriage or insurance or..) must have a specific enumeration of “survivors” to which both parties agree. Anyone else is not granted benefits. So things like Social Security survivor benefits could have the Government simply say “pick ONE”.

    But in reality, I’m also for dumping most of the “survivor benefits” that are not part of an insurance contract or direct inheritance. Think of it as a ‘reading of the will’ where anyone might get anything, or nothing, depending on the dead one. Same thing. You get a job at GE and you can pick ONE spouse to get medical coverage on your plan. Though I could easily see something like having “$200,000 death benefit” to be split between {explicit list}.

    In essence, I’d be willing to assert that it’s that hard to handle inside existing forms as we already do something like that with wills. Only need to add that the grantor of a benefit can limit the size as part of the contract. (So no full sized SSI Survivor Benefit check to 30 ‘spouses’ but just to the ONE person listed or perhaps a 1/30 check to each of 30 listed. (Though really, I don’t see why the Feds are handing out what amounts to a death insurance annuity in the first place…)

    No, I don’t expect anyone on the Looney Left to embrace a Gay Brigade. They don’t like things that work. They like posturing that can be used to garner votes and power.

    I see military size as disjoint from where there are housed. I just don’t see why we need 30,000 guys in barracks in Korea when they could be in barracks in Hawaii or Guam with a very high speed fleet of delivery vehicles. Per the notion that having them on the border matters: Maybe in 1950. Today I suspect that 1000 predator drones “walking the line” with some “5 minutes to impact” missiles off shore on a floating missile base along with a carrier or two of “Warthog class” tank busters ought to give enough time to deploy a load of troops. And it removed a large ‘target of opportunity’ for any nuke N.Korea might cook up.

    While it could not be done with our present mix of hardware, I think it could be done.

    We presently think of the Aircraft Carrier as a platform for launching fighter / bombers. Imagine a set of new “Aircraft Carriers” where some are drone bases, some are hospital ships, some are logistics supply depots, some are tank carriers with specialized Tank Heavy Lift craft. Don’t need to land with a tank, just launch… so some BF Engines and wings along with a rocket assist on launch ought to be doable. Add a few that can lanuch LCAC with tanks for beach approaches….

    Don’t know how big a tank we could get off the deck or how big a deck, but it would be worth a look. Doesn’t have to be a mach 2 craft, after all … (If it turns out that a purpose built tank hauler won’t work then we’re back at things like Heavy Lift and C5 from places like Guam. I could even see keeping Diego Garcia as it’s basically a shared US / UK site)

    The support ships, IMHO, ought to be nuclear as well. We’ve shown it works at most all scales with everything from attack subs to Russian Ice Breakers.

    THe two ‘soft bits’ I see in the idea are the previously mentioned ‘catastrophic risk’ and the open question of ‘can a heavy lift carrier with tank carrying aircraft launch be built?’ And finally, the extreme cost of a carrier class ship as compared to a patch of dirt rented form 3rd world government. But on the plus side, all the money stays in the US economy.

    FWIW, the ‘worst case’ would that that Airborne would need secure some open dirt and make a runway “right quick’ for the C-whatever from Hawaii or Miami to start dropping off a tank every 10 minutes…

    (Oh, and I know that it will never happen…)

  37. Mooloo says:

    I see military size as disjoint from where there are housed. I just don’t see why we need 30,000 guys in barracks in Korea when they could be in barracks in Hawaii or Guam with a very high speed fleet of delivery vehicles.

    Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.

    The US can ship 30,000 guys and their fighting vehicles from Hawaii to anywhere in the Asian sector in a matter of weeks. That would leave 30,000 men with no guns but ability to fight.

    The quantities of POL and ammunition used by modern forces are staggering. And it’s not just a matter of shipping it, but a matter of having it all organised and a distribution network (and vehicles) ready to go.

    It is the physical infrastructure of a base that is vital in extending reach. You cannot just ship it in.

    The US military do know their business, oddly enough. And they know that bases, once conceded, cannot be easily regained.

  38. Mooloo says:

    Apologies, that should read:

    That would leave 30,000 men with guns but no ability to fight.

  39. E.M.Smith says:

    @J Ferguson: I’ve done hire/fire too. Your right. If it’s seen as just and the right decision, everyone is fine with it. Screw up or do it for ‘petty reasons’ and you get the exodus. (While I never had an exodus, I saw it in other groups that were less well handled…)

    @Boballab: OK, I’ve got a bit more time now (drove to near L.A. and back…)

    I’m not talking about being isolationist. I’m talking about using a variety of technical (some low tech..) solutions to the need for ‘bases’. Now to some extent I would like us to be more ‘selective’ in our actions (and that could look like isolationist) but that’s a bit orthogonal to the rest. So, for example, I would not abandon S. Korea, but I’d ‘encourage’ them to put more of their kids in uniform staffing the ‘base’ and concentrate on a load of things like a load of missiles, drones, and aircraft for the initial needs and a rapid deployment force that could be moved as needed. Oh, and Guam is USA. Having a load of folks and logistics on Guam isn’t exactly isolationist…

    Then if N. Korea nukes the ‘base’, their vehicles all get chewed to crap from the air, their troupes can’t mass and their command and control gets cut to shreds with smart bombs et. al. as we do a ‘rapid deploy’ and start landing a tank every 10 minutes…

    The “intel” bit is harder to handle, but air samples from a few miles off shore ought to be OK… ‘on the ground’ is harder, but you can still have folks who ‘wander through’ ;-)

    Also, the W.W.I and W.W.II examples diverge from my ‘vision’ in that I’m talking about more hardware, not less. I’m also not talking about pulling back to CONUS, but to US territories. (I’d actually be willing to make a case for getting the Panama Canal back… but that would cause ‘liberals’ to go ape shit and call me a conservative ;-)

    The idea is not ‘Fortress America’ so much as “long distance with vehicles that are way cool’ America. And MORE spending on tools and toys, not less. Just a boat load less spent on graft and payoffs of foreign countries and such.

    @KevinM: The visuals can be compelling… ;-)

    @Pyromancer76: Thanks for the moral support!

    If you can’t fix it, break it. So defund and deconstruct as a first step. Stop the ‘indirect leverage’ they have of using OPM (Other Peoples Money) to advance an evil agenda. From the UN down to US ‘Stimulus’ to local boards and agenda driven political committees.

    On the international front: If two groups want to fight each other and a single cop gets between them, he can get clobbered by both sides. One strategy is to ‘let them fight to exhaustion’ then step in (fresh and fully armed…) to ‘settle it’.

    While I do feel a desire to preserve the peace (that MY ancestors hard wrought…) it is my opinion that the present crop of folks elsewhere in the world would gain a bit of discipline and ‘focus’ from being left to work out their own problems for a while… Europe, especially. (WHY are we funding ANYTHING in the way of defense for those folks best able to provide for their own?)

    Oh, and ‘on oil’: The USA gets almost all the oil we import from non-Middle East sources. Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela. It is Europe who are dramatically dependent on Saudi Arabia and Iran / Iraq / etc. So tell me again why USA Ships ought to be defending the European oil imports?

    Per “social justice” issues: Not a federal duty. If we had power devolved back to the local level somewhat more, there would be less of an issue. (Basically, if Berkeley want’s a ‘living wage’ law, go for it. But live with it. And if Paris, Texas does not, what business is it of the Feds?) Devolve power as close to the people as possible and a lot of things get better. Something the original form of our government understood.

    Per abortion: Nature provides the asymmetry. I just recognize it. (And frankly, it’s to some extent a ‘cop out’ for ease of implementation to not get into the ‘weeds’ of ‘when does life begin’ and ‘fathers rights’ …) Per minors: Parents decide. Right up until the child is emancipated. This business of letting a 15 year old make a life altering decision on their own with no parental knowledge is nuts.

    Well, another ‘social duty’ calls. I’ll work through the rest of the comments a bit later…

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @J. Ferguson: Per old Bible Versions.

    The major sources for most modern translations have historically been The Vulgate (Latin – basis of Catholic Bibles) and the Septuagint (Greek).

    The Vulgate is 5 Century (so 4xx AD, but that is misleading as it was more like 3xx to 405 AD) and is attributed to St. Jerome. (Commissioned in 382 AD by Pope Damascus I.) As a re-translation of the older Latin Bibles. Many of the earlier variations are still known. Details here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vetus_Latina of the older latin.

    The major complaint was that the older latin forms had more or less literal versions of some of the Hebrew and Greek that preceded them (so it’s Latin, but not translated from Greek so much as word substituted…). So the Vulgate was done to basically clean up the grammar and make it real Latin, along with some other minor sprucing up.

    To give an idea of the closeness of the Vulgate to the old latin texts, here is a quote from the Wiki

    Vetus Latina
    Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
    Latin Vulgate
    Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax in hominibus bonæ voluntatis

    The Old Latin text means, “Glory [belongs] to God among the high, and peace [belongs] to men of good will on earth”.

    The Vulgate text means “Glory [belongs] to God among the most high and peace among men of good will on earth”.

    Probably the most well known difference between the Old Latin and the Vulgate is in the Pater Noster, where the phrase from the Vetus Latina, quotidianum panem, “daily bread”, becomes supersubstantialem panem, “supersubstantial bread” in the Vulgate.

    Now this was an example of something so different as to merit a prominent observation… and it’s not much.

    The Septaugint is of several versions, (that strongly agree) and is concerned with the Old Testament. It (they) mostly date from about 3rd to 1st centuries BC (which I think means 299-0 BC but I’ve not done much ‘x century’ of BC translation to absolute dates so might have it wrong… that whole x century thing is just a pain. Give it a number and be done…)

    So what we’re talking about is largely a period of about 600 years, but with most of the ‘issues’ concentrated in about 100 BC to 100 AD. (as a rough approximation).

    http://www.theopedia.com/Septuagint

    The Greek text was written by Greek speaking Hebrews in Egypt, mostly for their own purposes and uses. The rest of the Jews were using ‘other texts’ and we have many of them. The most divergent are some old Torah from Babylon captivity days (and even they don’t vary much).

    So far so good.

    Except for those pesky Jews…

    They had their own copy of the texts, from later years, that their Rabbis had approved. The Masoretic.

    http://www.theopedia.com/Masoretic_text

    It’s 7th – 10th centuries AD. (6xx – 9xx AD). So it’s later than the Septuagint. That makes it suspected of copy errors and changes. But it was created by the Jews and it’s their books… Decisions decisions… Take the word of Hebrew speakers about what THEIR Hebrew texts really said, or work off the older material we had in hand (but not the older material THEY had…)

    Then the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. They date from 3 rd century BC to 1st Century AD. (299 AD to 99 AD). Right smack dab in the middle of the ‘question’ interval.

    They are a bit moth eaten in some places, with lots of gaps. But where we do have text it pretty much matches the other translations / copies.

    The oldest manuscripts containing substantial parts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the ninth century, and the Aleppo Codex (possibly the first ever complete copy of the Masoretic Text in one manuscript) dates from the tenth century, but there are many earlier fragments that appear to belong in the same textual family. For example, among the Dead Sea Scrolls and fragments found at other places in the Judean desert, there are some which differ from the Masoretic Text in only about 1 letter of each 1000 letters. Of course, there are also fragments showing more significant differences.

    Now I just wish I could type 1000 letters and not have some variation in the letters in the words I was spelling…

    So, to answer your question more directly:

    We know that the current Bibles were not made consistent, and in ancient times diverged more, because we have the ancient times copies for many of the books, and they are substantially the same as now. Yes, minor variations, but most of the time simply not material. And we know the provenance of many of them (carbon dated for example) so we know they are from the times in question.

    Then we found the Nag Hamadi Library. It was found in a clay jar in the desert in 1945. It is to the Gnostic Church as the Dead Sea Scrolls are to Judaism and Catholics. (IMHO).

    http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

    It dates from about 390 AD, so about the time that Rome and the Catholics were trying to stamp out the Gnostics. (And it is likely the form of the Bible used by Mohammed had some of the Gnostic variations in it, as it was more common in that time and place…IMHO of course).

    The ‘biggie’ is that it contains some of the ‘early books’ thought to have been tossed out by the Roman Emperor and Catholic Pope. So there are many books in the Nag Hammadi Library (and in the Coptic Bible) that are not in the western bibles. That’s were most of the fighting and fuss is involved.

    Where the books overlap with the Vulgate / Septuagint / Masoretic there is much agreement. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of that material in the Nag Hammadi collection. Though there are others.

    OK, this is getting way too detailed for most folks, but you get the idea. If you look in the foot notes of most recent Bibles you find little annotations for source of Septuagint, Masoretic, or otherwise… and it’s mostly trivial spelling and grammar issues with only occasional bits that have theological meaning changes…

    So read the Apocrypha and does it really change things that much? Nope. One church says it ought to be in, another says out. They are not stories full of importance (so could be left out and not impact much) but at the same time putting them in doesn’t change much either…

    By about 400 AD, everything has pretty well ‘set up’ or ossified into about the present form. The “fuss” is mostly about that early time of trouble when Gnostics and Catholics were fighting it out. And now we have (fragmentary) copies of their books from that time.

    So the ‘watershed’ tends to be over things like The Book of Timothy or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

    http://www.gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm

    Also, you have the Gospel of Thomas

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

    where there are a lot of matches of specific sayings attributed to Jesus in other gospels, but a few ‘new ones’… Again, not exactly earth shaking implications.

    So on the one hand you could say this was earth shaking stuff. Whole books tossed out at Nicea… But on the other, it’s mostly the same parables and stories with minor variation (and a whole lot of spelling and grammar variations…)

    Oh, and the Nag Hammadi Library is written in Coptic, so you get language / translation changes to deal with. The biggest advantage of it is that it lets the Coptic Church say “See, we too have evidence that our books are based on really old original stuff, so genuine.”

    In the end, for non-Gnostics, the present Bible is pretty much an accurate rendition of what was written / said very early on in the life of the Church(s) and faithfully transmitted. But with some low ‘utility’ books left out at Nicea. And for Gnostics they have evidence for their traditions being faithfully transmitted too, even as they are divergent from the start with the Catholics.

  41. E.M.Smith says:

    @Boballab: I’d not put it at San Diego as long as Hawaii and Guam are ours… But in the longer run, I’d look to have a different kind of force. One that does not require such 14 day times. Fast Attack Cats, and giant ‘carriers’ that could deploy amphibious assaults from 1 day away.

    Basically, you are making very valid logistics points based on our force as constructed today; while I’m talking about a desired alternative based on a different force structure…

    So I’d put that ship in Pearl, and at the same time make a nuclear ‘carrier’ that could dump a load of amphibious assault in the water ‘right quick’ while launching a load of drones (with “Puff the Magic Dragon” like facilities aboard and with cannon like on the newer variations…) from the top deck. Add a second ‘super carrier’ class ship with a “heavy lift” ability to drop tanks on land, and those 101 st guys would be happy with the results…

    Per oil: I mentioned earlier that it’s Europe that uses Middle East oil. Let them defend it. Last I looked England and France where nuclear powers with naval fleets…. And IMHO Miami is close enough to Venezuela for anything we’d need to do. (Though the Panama Canal Zone is closer… and never ought to have been let go…)

    I don’t really care if Iran, Iraq, or Saudi controls the worlds oil. They have to sell it if they want it to matter. If they don’t, we would actually do something intelligent like Coal to Oil and tell them to bugger off (Like South Africa did in the ’70s-’80s). Oil? We don’t need no steeenking oil! (though best done non-preciptously… )

    And per the mutual defense treaties: Well, in some cases we ought to ‘unsign them’… but generally: Nothing in the treaty says how FAST we have to fight them… nor that it must be done locally. So again we are simply back to the question of what can be done from far far away.

    The best example there, I think, is the B2. Early on flown from the USA to Iraq and back. 40+ hours flight time IIRC. But ti worked. Then deployed more forward as we developed facilities somewhere like Diego Garcia to cut down on flight time, crew wear and tear, etc.

    So if somebody ELSE wants to fund a base in Okinawa, fine with me if we stop in and use it if things get a bit hot.

    And for ‘deterrence’, I’ve already made clear my proposed approach of ‘mechanized air’…

    Basically I’m talking about a paradigm shift from ‘dirt and roads’ to ‘sea / sky and ship / air transport’.

    That it has not been done is no argument that it can not be done…

    Oh, and I say again: Why do I care if N.Korea runs over S. Korea or if China takes Taiwan? Why is it MY problem? We’d be better served thinking how to beat China economically as the present course will end up with them in Taiwan anyway…

    Or perhaps less laden with historical baggage:

    Why is in important to me what government owns Venezuela. They will still sell their oil to the world, and oil is fungible.

    Why is it important to me what government runs Mongolia? Or Papua?

    W.W.II is over. Korea is over. The Cold War is over. WHY are we still spending so much money to defend against the LAST wars? Iran and Iraq were fighting each other for years. They still sold oil to the world. Why does it matter to me if Kuwait sells the oil or Iraq? We didn’t save Sudan, nor have we cleaned up Somalia (where they DO hit our shipping…). We ignore Indonesia eating East Timor and related. We had no problem with Pol Pot killing 3 million. Some hypothetical future threat to our hegemony as a world Superpower? While ignoring the real threat that going down the tubes economically represents?

    So if we really care about someplace:

    1) Let THEM pick up the tab. SELL them police services for a nice fat fee. None of this ‘we pay them to let us die defending them’ stuff.

    2) Let THEM provide the base, for FREE, if they want us there. Utilities included…

    3) If we’re going to be “cop to the world” let the rest of the world send us a tithe for the security we’re providing. Why ought it be that we pay to protect the world so China, India, and Europe can benefit?

    4) Get rid of the reason. Do “Coal to oil” or mine copper from manganese nodules on the sea floor (and tell the UN Treaty folks to stuff their treaty and the taxes…) It would be cheaper and more secure in the long run.

    All it takes is getting out of the old habits for a while, and a lot of new opportunities become visible…

  42. David says:

    EM. I like your “general” thoughts but have a general issue.
    First, our DOE is an utter failure. We can be independent of middle east oil, but we are not. However the main thought is that the world is now interconnected financially more then ever. Of the main world concerns, the financial crisis, terrorism, CAGW, the financial crisis is the biggest threat in my view as this could easily lead to wars. Many times the US presence has actually been a protector/enforcer of peace. Power hungry “blackbeards” abhor a power vacume. In general though it is perhaps foolish to be a hated police man, sometimes it is best to let the chips fall and be reinvited.

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @TGSG: Which commerce would that be?

    The horrific trade deficit with China?

    The oil flow to Europe from The Gulf?

    Not exactly giving me a big reason to fight and die…

    At it’s core the argument is that our “allies” need a Sugar Daddy.

    My argument is that there comes a time for the kids to grow up and pay their own bills.

    We’ll still be around if they get in trouble, but Europe does not need the USA to keep the USSR in check anymore (as the USSR is gone and half of the Soviet Block is already inside the EU…)

    If it’s just so the Middle East doesn’t see the heavy boot of “Old Colonial Powers” in bases but instead sees new shiny Yank boots defending the oil, then frankly, I’m tired of it. Let them see the boot of colonial powers and let Europe and the Middle East come to grips with their own histories. Not My Problem.

    And per the chunk of Middle East oil from Saudi that we do consume: Start building trash to liquids and coal to liquids plants. We don’t need to defend our dependency on Saudi oil, we need to end it.

    @Larryoldtimer: spot on.

    @Neil: I noticed it… but I’m too prolix already so somethings have to be let pass… but he was still right.

    @j ferguson: Golly, an on topic comment ;-)

    Yeah, it cracks me up when the looney left thinks they are in the middle …

    Per zapping cheap: The cheaper the better (in money or lives). Use political control to reduce the quantity used.

    @oMan: you are most welcome. I was always trained to praise in public, criticize in private, and be gracious on camera. Ms. Schiller apparently was not. Petty, vindictive, snitty.

    BTW: I’m not saying bases are of low utility. I am saying we can build systems to eliminate being dependent on them. That air transport of large capacity and superships can make up for a base.

    That IS logistics.

    FWIW, I grew up in a family restaurant doing ‘stocking’. All the right stuff, in the right place, at the right time. And while it’s great to have a large ‘stock room’ on site, it’s just as good to have fast regular deliveries.

    There is now a giant industry of ‘just in time’ logistics in the commercial sector. I’m simply proposing some of the same things can be done in military ops.

    Like the MASH units. Mobile.

    So prepackage the ‘stuff’ needed. Have containers of it ‘ready to go’. Load it on container ships and have them pre-positioned at key places at sea. Need a base? Clear dirt somewhere and start running in the containers… For a real instant ‘base’ have the troops and equipment arrive together (from ships parked together)…

    No, we don’t have that ability right now. (Too little ‘lift’ and not enough pre-packaged and pre-positioned) But we could build it.

    FWIW, one of my ‘hobbies’ has been ‘kits’. Prepackaged units of things needed for emergencies, for example. It takes some work to sort it out in advance, but it can be very effective to simply grab the “Food, camping, and travel” kits and hit the car… In a way I’m simply saying to do this on a grander scale.

    There are now folks making floating residential city sized ships. So all the offices, residences, etc. could be ship based at a minimum.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_The_World

    There are Ultra Large oil tankers presently being used for oil storage. So having fuel depots near the ships is not an issue of size. There are ultra large cargo ships with containers, so packing ‘stores’ is not an issue.

    So be it offices and facilities, storage of fuel and stuff, or even provisions for aircraft landing or LCAC launch, it looks to me like it’s all ‘doable’.

    The places where I see “problems” are fairly few, though significant enough to probably kill things.

    1) Cost. Ships cost a lot more than buildings on land. (Though the money stays in the USA)

    2) Heavy Lift. A C-17 takes about 6000 ft to take off with a load. Don’t know if it’s possible to make a ‘super carrier’ and a modified C-17 like plane for air delivery of stores from a ship. If you have to go to smaller planes, you rapidly end up ‘under delivering’ – especially heavy gear like tanks. You can transport from land bases in the USA, but then a lot of in-air refueling and time go into moving ONE tank from Hawaii to the middle east…

    3) Catastrophic loss: As mentioned before – one guy invents a new stealth missile or torpedo, you lose it all.

    4) Comfort. No doubt about it. The 18 hole golf course at Ramstein is going to beat a Wii in the rec-hall, and a home off base is going to beat a bunk on a ship.

    5) Practice. You don’t get to practice driving your tank around Germany when it’s sitting in an LCAC in a cargo hold.

    But I’m still pretty sure that for a lot of our needs, we could dump bases and go with prepackaged prepositioned units with very rapid deployment. And once the in-theater base area was minimally functional, it would rapidly be built out for the duration of a conflict. Much like in W.W.II when we crossed the Channel. Behind the beaches became a depot / base. It’s just that now we’d ‘rapid deploy’, make a base, and rapid fill it.

    One minor point:

    Many places do not lend themselves to LCAC type landing of heavy equipment, so we’d need an alternative way to get, for example, tanks on shore at places with cliffs like N. California. But unless you already have a base ‘in theater’ when the conflict breaks out, you need to deal with that anyway. So Ramstein does not help you with the ‘land tanks in Afganistan’ problem.

    (And this is probably way more attention that the idea deserves. We’re never going to leave overseas bases. They are just too convenient and too many people make money off of them. So this is all a hypothetical anyway.)

  44. Pascvaks says:

    ‘There is nothing new under the Sun!’ Well, nothing but the people; and when you stop and take a close look at them, most of us look, sound, smell, and act just like our parents and grandparents. We really do make it difficult for ourselves sometimes (as did they in their day) when we let our daydreams –or those of someone else–interfere with the realities of life. Alas, on the other hand, it would be rather tidious if we were a might smarter and NPR hadn’t canned old Juan. One thing I think we can all agree on (in addition to everything already discussed) is that the 21st Century is very likely going to be a real zinger. Probably even worse that the 20th.

  45. j ferguson says:

    E.M.
    thanks for the bible notes. very helpful.

  46. They didn’t suspect how big repercussions it was going to have their decission….

  47. TGSG says:

    E.M.
    It was a question to get your thoughts… I agree with the “let them pay for it” mentality. I too see no reason for us to be there on our dime.

  48. E.M.Smith says:

    @ J Ferguson: Glad to help. Hey, I put a couple of years into it… if I can save someone else from the same road trip, I’m glad to do it ;-)

    Besides, it is kind of interesting… If you would like a ‘Bible” topic, I could easily add one. While I tend to think that there is no God and we’ve probably just got a nice history of our prior fantasies, I’m also very open to the possibility that I’ve got it all wrong. My spouse is rather hyper religious and we ‘get along’ ;-)

    My interests tend to run more to the historical / cultural, rather than the religious minutia, but it’s still interesting.

    @Adolfo: I think they are beginning to get the idea….

    @Pascvaks: History goes through cycles. Benign and happy, then catastrophic and horrific.

    I’m hopeful our benign and happy will continue for another 100 years or so, but I’m seeing a lot of patterns that point to an Aw Shit of major proportions in the next 40 years. I’ve never wanted to be wrong so much in my life… The comment (forgot who made it) that the USA is looking rather a lot like the Wiemar Republic is ‘scary right’…

    @TGSG: Figured it was. Hope I provided enough of them ;-)

    I’d be happy being “Cop to the world” if it wasn’t killing us economically and driving us into poverty. And it is…

  49. oMan says:

    E.M. – Regarding the fascinating debate above on where and how to deploy our forces, I don’t have any magic answers but when we went into A-stan I wondered why we had to have such a big footprint. I toyed with the notion that we could simply use heavy-lift choppers to put prepacked containers on ridgelines, and establish overwatch. The containers would not be your average shipping crate. They would have: eyes and ears (360-degree all-spectrum surveillance capability), voice (high-bandwidth communications among their network and with Main Force), brains (pre-set rules of engagement, certainly for handling their self-defense needs: anything with a thermal signature that gets within 500 meters, gets lit up). And they would have “reach” in the form of a variety of tubes pre-loaded with everything from aimed direct fire in various calibers; through indirect fire with grenades, mortars and bomblets; to ballistic missiles with ranges of 10 to 50 km or whatever the situation required. …Never tried to scope one of these, it would probably end up looking like a city block far too heavy and complicated to lift, and of course the more fancy it got, the more enticing a target it would be for the enemy. And all that ordnance in one place would mean one lucky shot would blow it all. So the concept needs a lot of work. But if the weapons could be sufficiently downsized or turned into expendable form (who needs a barrel good for 10,000 rounds if the whole idea is “fire and forget”?), and if the weapons systems could be sufficiently distributed, you might just fly a Hercules over the area of interest and sow it with intelligent munitions that were spatially scattered but mutually supporting, abundant enough to give good odds that, during a given interval before resupply or counterstrike, they would block or destroy a given force (or inflict an adequate sting on it). All without a boot on the ground. Big force multiplier and one that would make the bad guys very nervous, and reduce their upside. When they kill our guys, they get big propaganda points. If they manage to bash a bunch of our sensors and single-use anti-personnel tubes, no big deal.

    Just idle speculation from a complete amateur.

  50. pyromancer76 says:

    Started a longer comment about how your ideas seem to mesh with the apparent ground swell of opposition to the suicidal “socialist” way. I am seeing the response as an unusual Great Awakening that happens occasionally (18th C [religious entrepreneurialism – preparation for “revolution”], pre-mid-century 19th C [anti-slavery society-individualism-pre-Republican Party], Cold War containment-anti-communism 20th C [waking up to global mortal enemy]) and that indicates a sea-change for a large “folk” population of the country. I will have to finish that post later — out of time.

    Suffice it to say, your radical re-organization of thinking about our military mission, tactics, and strategy fits perfectly with a (financially necessary) lesser footprint, yet allows us to continue to nudge the world toward representative democracies — always to our advantage and safety. The wheels have fallen off that cart lately. (And first we must maintain ours.)

    One of your most important statements is not another penny to Europeans; they need to wake up to their responsibilities and costs for their own defense. Only because we have done it for them have they been able to go their stupid socialist (and non-representative EU) way, hoping Uncle Sam will pick up much of the check. Most important, I think, is our continued “control” of the oceans, more difficult these days with growing Chinese navy and weaponry.

    More please; faster please. Also, keep beating the drum of energy “independence” which means re-awakening and freeing American inventive entrepreneurialism. The money must remain inside the U.S. or our goose is cooked, I think.

    I also am grateful for the Bible discussion. I have always been interested in its origins since it is a foundational text of “Western” society. Glad to learn about the “accuracy” over all so many years.

    Re abortion: I am not interested in father’s rights, only in a necessary conversation about the next step of abortion by the married couple. For the most part, it is and should be the women’s choice; it is her body and too often the infant is her responsibility. Again no children’s rights to abortion or late-term abortion. And I think that it is important to address the fact that we are ending a life. — however that is done without laws.

  51. E.M.Smith says:

    @oMan:

    FWIW, I noticed when we went in that we had forces on all sides of Iran as a result. Bases above it, navy below, Iraq and Afgan on each side… Just a thought about why such a big footprint…

    We have a “land mine” that sits on the surface and detects passing vehicles, then launches a mortar at it if it does not have the ‘pass code’. Such things are possible…

    And that’s the basic idea behind my approach. Use a load of mechanized things to slow / halt an attack while you ‘build a base’ on the double quick.

    I don’t say that lightly. Dad was US Army Combat Engineer. Built “stuff” under fire. I’ve heard the stories… it’s not the ideal condition to be building a bridge. Or a base.

    But with things like a wall of automated mortar / mines, a sky full of “puff the magic drones”, A-10 Warthogs and Apache choppers chewing up armor, along with some F-22 air dominance… I do think there is a case to be made for the “instant base in a can” rather than all the ongoing expenditure for a world wide foot print…

    Or maybe I just lust for the chance to design some of the “toys” needed to make it happen…

    ( I really do love large ships and pre-planned logistics packages. There are some “container solutions” being sold around the world now where folks put things like a whole machine shop or a kitchen in a ‘shipping container’ and you just ‘drop one in’. One company (D1 Oil? something liek that) makes a ‘bioDiesel factory in a can’ that is a plant oil to bio-Diesel facility in a shipping container. Drop in any agricultural area that grows plant seeds, get bio-Diesel… No, the aesthetics are not great… but it’s just a ‘way cool’ approach to packaging a facility.)

    @Pyromancer76: Glad you like it. I’ll go as fast as I can… but there are times when I have a “soup moment” and slow down ;-) (re: the Progresso posting…)

    The one thing that still distresses me is that there is an apparent coordinated structured attack on western free republics. (See Soros and all his funded structures as one example, the Muslim Radicals as another) And yet the response is largely left to its own devices. Nobody at the helm steering a course for defense against that socialist tide.

    But perhaps that’s a good thing. It’s much harder to kill a leaderless movement of the folks… you have to turn every single one of them, or it just keeps growing back…

    Per “Fathers Rights” : I think they are very important and ought to have completely proportional merit. So what are we talking here… 2 minutes out of 9 months is what ratio?
    ;-)

  52. DCC says:

    Seems to me that the entire MSM and wannabees missed the real point of the Juan Williams controversy. NPR claimed he was fired for expressing an opinion. And what opinion was that? He stated a fact, namely that he got nervous in certain circumstances on airplanes. That was not an opinion. But he did follow up with an opinion. He said it was wrong to feel that way. That clearly was not a fact, it was his opinion.

    So what NPR cardinal rule did he violate by stating an opinion that NPR encourages all the time?

    However, the media did pick up on the other contradiction, that Nina Totenberg and other NPR/PBS journalists state opinions all the time and they are not punished. Totenberg’s wish that Jesse Helms would get AIDs was particularly egregious.

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