Anti-Socialist Tendencies

Monday, September 29, 2003

Now that the story of the blown cover of Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, has been getting major airplay in the mainstream media (examples here and here) a widespread blogospheric eruption on the topic has broken out, in contrast to its formerly limited coverage by a few bloggers such as CalPundit. InstaPundit offers the best roundup of big blog coverage of the issue.

This topic is of particular interest to me because Wilson came to my campus twice to give Iraq-related speeches earlier this year, of which I wrote general summaries here and here. Although much of what I heard from Wilson does bolster his credibility, I do not consider it to be as impeccable as Donald Sensing appears to. Several aspects of his first presentation were suggestive of strong partisan tendencies:

  • Wilson demonstrated obvious anti-Republican sentiments (i.e. of a partisan variety) at several points and indulged in some sneering cheap shots from time to time.

  • He made at least one negative comment related to Karl Rove, showing an obvious animosity toward him.

  • He accepts a version of the neoconservative conspiracy idea.

  • There was mention of his having worked with the Democratic National Committee in the past.

It's significant to note that the majority of this came out during the following day's much more informal question-and-answer session, where Wilson dropped the public speaking persona of the previous night and was much more open, giving what I would consider to be a much clearer glimpse of the "real Wilson". Moreover, on his second visit to campus (a few months later) the spirit of his speech was much closer to that of the Q-and-A session than to that of the first speech, losing much of the judicious and evenhanded tone that tended to characterize the earlier one.

My purpose here is not to paint Wilson as some sort of extremist ideologue bent on a vendetta -- he clearly is not. However, I am suggesting that skepticism is warranted regarding the complete purity of his motives. He had an obvious bias against the Bush Administration before this event, and while that animosity is clearly not the sole motive here, it inevitably colors his reaction and should be kept in mind as the story unfolds in the days ahead.


Inspired by Madonna's new self-appointed task of inculcating good values into our nation's children through literature, such moral luminaries as the Marquis de Sade, Hannibal Lector, and Jack Kevorkian have penned their own children's books!

Friday, September 26, 2003

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.

We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand at post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

--- Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men


Winds of Change offers some links and thoughts on the barely-acknowledged evil of present-day slavery.


The nightmarish spawn of an evil agro-corp trounces some hapless hippies!


Front Page has an article exploring the similarities between anti-Bush conspiracy theories and those involving Franklin Roosevelt:

The similarities between today’s conspiracy theories and the conspiracy theories of World War II are nearly identical. In the 1940’s Roosevelt was accused of leading the U.S. into World War II because Jews influenced Roosevelt’s foreign policies. This is the direct antecedent of the Neocon, Zionist conspiracy theory of today. Then, FDR’s alleged Jewish Svengalis included Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau, and Felix Frankfurter. Now, Bush’s supposed Jewish cabal consists of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and William Kristol. Then, Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith were among the chief advocates of the Jewish cabal theory; now, Pat Buchanan, Georgie Anne Geyer, and Ted Kennedy are its principle proponents....

The Zionist Neocon conspiracy theory is not the only one borrowed from WWII. Another present day conspiracy theory recycled from World War II is that the real purpose of the Iraq war is to enrich the American plutocracy or provide an economic benefit. Groups like the Workers World Party (WWP) say the war is a conspiracy by American oil companies to annex Iraqi oil. FDR’s critics said that Hitler’s economic revolution endangered the world economic hegemony of London and New York – and that is why Hitler needed to be destroyed. For those who found that too convoluted, there was a more convenient explanation. They were told that FDR needed WWII to end the Depression.

There's nothing new under the conspiratorial sun.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The American Enterprise has an interesting article on Scandinavia's Surprising Turn From Socialism.


Some new forays into the Blogosphere: Genesis X by some really old guy named Adam, and InstaProphet by Jonah son of Amittai.

(The Curt Jester has been on quite a creative roll lately!)


Returning from my vacation on a flight from Boston to Denver, whom should I run into but Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 presidential candidate, and his wife Kitty! And man oh man, is Kitty ever pissed! Why? Well, the stewardess did a little seat rearranging, and it turns out that Varenius and his friend are now occupying the Dukakis' former seats. While things are being straightened out, Kitty stands fuming, clearly thinking, "How dare they do this! Don't they know who we are??" Meanwhile, Michael stands by her side, patting her shoulder in a "There, there, honey, things will be all right" gesture.

Varenius, quite naturally, sits back snickering over this display of self-important elitism by supposed liberals.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Back after mid-month.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Ian Hunter takes a look at the increasingly forgotten anti-Communist hero Alexander Solzhenitsyn.


Speaking of propaganda, here's a great site outlining the falsehoods and distortions in Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine.


Cella's Review has an extended essay on the question of whether modern education makes one more susceptible to propaganda. An excerpt:

Resistance to propaganda consists in that sophistication of the intellect which allows one to develop in one’s mind a mental picture which inoculates by providing an alternative.... The antidote to untruth is not skeptical disbelief, a purely negative impulse, but the affirmation of truth, an act of positive vigor.

Modern education provides only the negative impulse, the impulse to distrust, an unfledged cynicism full of bluster but empty of real substance. This impulse is as treacherous as it sounds, and cunning propaganda will readily conquer it; for the skepticism inculcated by modern education will rarely include a distrust of one’s own emotions, the doctrine of original sin having been discarded....

...[I]magination, or the cultivation of the rightly-ordered intellect, not skepticism, is the only effective treatment against propaganda. Modern education teaches an ersatz method of treatment, by encouraging students to distrust, not merely the chaff of propaganda, but everything of the wheat, including the grain.


Judge Diarmiud F. O'Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gives his thoughts on reinterpreting the Constitution via judicial fiat.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003
"Bush and Bin Laden Have a Joint Bank Account"

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I am currently blessed with a conspiracy theorist for a roommate. He's a nice guy--I certainly can't say otherwise--but he ascribes to some of the screwiest crackpot ideas I've ever encountered. Even though I have no illusions about the likelihood of my changing his mind, I have been doing some limited research here and there into his claims, if for no other reason than to confirm that my bullshit sensor is calibrated correctly. I will be occasionally posting my findings here for your amusement and information. Here's the first one:

Claim: President George Bush and Osama bin Laden have a joint bank account, created some time before 9/11.

Answer: The source of this was a little difficult to track down. I suspect the claim's been altered and simplified as it's been passed around. The closest match I was able to find was in an article originally appearing in The Economist and now archived on various websites such as this one. The article is is a review of a book on the Carlyle Group, a sometimes-questionable international investment firm. While the reviewer seems to take a somewhat skeptical view of conspiratorial claims about the Group, he explores the factors that could lead to such claims. The following paragraph is what tipped me off to the likely connection to WRCT #1:

On the day Osama bin Laden's men attacked America, Shafiq bin Laden, described as an estranged brother of the terrorist, was at an investment conference in Washington, DC, along with two people who are close to President George Bush: his father, the first President Bush, and James Baker, the former secretary of state who masterminded the legal campaign that secured Dubya's move to the White House. The conference was hosted by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that manages billions of dollars, including, at the time, some bin Laden family wealth. It also employs Messrs Bush and Baker.

Not exactly what WRCT #1 claims, but it does include some basic building blocks that could lead to it: a Bush and a bin Laden connected in a financial structure. Pass that around through some credulous and intellectually careless hands and you can easily get WRCT #1.

Spirited Back to Saudi?

I was a little dismayed to find this article portraying as fact the following bogus claim that has been helping to fuel some of these conspiracy theories:

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, when no one was being allowed in or out of the United States, many members of the bin Laden family in America were spirited home to Saudi Arabia.

This is a false rumor, originally put out by none other than His Enormity Michael Moore! You can get the true story behind it here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Sandra Miesel, a comments box regular over at Mark Shea's blog, has put together a thorough refutation of the claims in the esoteric conspiracy novel The Da Vinci Code. (It's the typical "true feminine-worshipping Gnostic teachings of Jesus suppressed by evil Vatican but kept alive by Templars/Masons/etc." type of thing.) The notions she discusses are all too familiar to me since my current roommate is just wild about all this sort of nonsense, be it religious or political... It certainly keeps things interesting around my apartment!


Continuing a theme here at Anti-Socialist Tendencies from last Spring, the peerless Mark Steyn explains why, in light of the Canal Hotel bombing, the U.N. should not take on a bigger role in Iraq: Leave It to America. Here's an absolutely priceless quote:

The Canal Hotel turned out to be a perfect microcosm of the UN: a group of naive internationalists refusing to take the murkier characters prowling the corridors at face value and concerned only to keep the US at arm’s length.

Not so different from today's Left!