November 2005


You used to be so amused
At napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

- Bob Dylan

In her post Ramsey Clark rides again, Neo-neocon asks how former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, supporter of civil rights, can defend mass murdering dictators? How can he display such indifference to the oppressed victims of authoritarian regimes?

Why am I interested in all this? It’s what so often grabs me, intrapersonal political change. So my question about Clark is: how did what originally seems to have been a relatively mainstream guy end up esposing views that put him in the running with Noam Chomsky? Did something happen to change him? Or was he always like that, despite having served in the Johnson administration?..

..Ramsey Clark’s appointment paved the way for Marshall’s elevation, as planned, and gave Johnson an Attorney General deeply committed to the civil rights agenda. Ramsey Clark was a prime mover of that cause during the 60s, and it was undoubtedly his finest hour.

It is hard to reconcile Clark’s support of civil rights in America with his current support of mass murderers, but it does reflect on the course that the rest of the ‘radical’ left has taken. Although civil rights activism was an unquestionably positive thing, it may have produced some side-effects.

From civil rights activism, the Left learned that influencing the government through activism was an effective way of forcing Americans to change their behavior. Since then, whenever the Left wanted to force the American people to change their ways, they didn’t try to positively influence the general population – they focused on using activism to change the laws of the land. Winning American hearts and minds became irrelevant – shouting and ordering them around was lot easier, and more fun.

Already leaning towards stasism, the Left saw the general population as a herd that could be pushed in one direction or another by activism and state control. They lost all interest in gaining the support of “Joe Sixpack”. In fact, they felt free to hate his guts and to laugh at him at every opportunity. The opinion of the average ‘redneck’ American meant as much to the Left as the opinion of a cow.

The extreme Left freely expressed their hate and eventually, America started to hate them back. Over the years, they lost their hope that Socialism would cure all ills. Then, they lost their belief that the UN would do the same. They lost their influence over the American public. When they lost the house, the senate and the presidency, they lost everything. All that remains of the old guard are a few ageing professors, Hugo Chavez and random media figures.

People who believe that they have no ability to win power through the Democratic process will turn towards authoritarianism. Neo-nazis like David Duke and have been aware of their political powerlessness for years. People like Ramsey Clark are just discovering their own. The American people flushed extreme Leftist ideology down the toilet. The formerly powerful, like Clark, are finding themselves swimming in the same tank that David Duke and Pat Buchanan have been in for years and they can’t stand it.

Clark, Duke and their ilk are doing their best to push their ideologies in any way they can. Clark and Duke say they’re doing it for the love: Duke says he’s moved by his compassion for the white race, Clark says he’s moved by the humanity of dictators and murderers. Both are stasists who believe that the state should force others to live according to their personal beliefs, and both are probably doing it all for the money and whatever power they can grab.

David Duke has made several friendly overtures to the Left, most recently with his support of Cindy Sheehan’s crusade. With his own anti-GOP crusade, Pat Buchanan has won some favorable reviews.

Will Clark and his friends accept these overtures? It’s an offer they may not be able to refuse.

Judith finds that Austin is still keeping it weird

Richard Landes has finished a very comprehensive evaluation of Pajamas Media (formerly Open Source Media) and his trip to New York for the gathering.

In US News and World report, David E. Kaplan writes about “How jihadist groups are using organized-crime tactics–and profits–to finance attacks on targets around the globe”.

It’s pretty comprehensive, except for one small point. Kaplan says:

Bin Laden continues to come up with funds raised from sympathetic mosques and other supporters, but the money no longer flows so easily. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have banned unregulated fundraising at mosques, and western spy agencies now watch closely how the money flows from big Islamic charities.

It would be nice if this were true, because we’re a lot more competent at dealing with crime than terrorism. Unfortunately, it’s not true at all. We know that Pakinstan’s military intelligence agency, and their “remote tribal areas” are a haven for terrorists.

Western “spy agencies” are watching the money flow, but they can’t stop it. Stuart Levey, Under Secretary Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Dept. of the Treasury recently said:

The US government has suggested wealthy Saudi individuals remain ‘a significant source’ of funds for Islamic terrorists around the world, despite widely-publicized efforts by the desert kingdom to shut down these channels.

The statement by Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, contrasts with earlier upbeat assessments by US officials that Saudi Arabia was making good progress in stemming the flow of private money to terrorist groups.

Levey said challenges posed by terrorist financing from within Saudi Arabia are ‘among the most daunting’ his agency has had to face, as it tries to persuade Islamic nations to strengthen controls over their banks and charitable organizations.

The genocidal Saudi charity al Haramain has been active in the “Jihadi corridor” of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. Thai buddhists are currently suffering attacks from Islamist ‘insurgents’ that are second in violence only to Iraq. This violence is an attempt to destabilize the government and bring Sharia law to the south.

Al Haramain is also active in Bosnia, where they’ve whited out their old name and reopened under the name “Vazir”. The new organization was registered as an “association for sport, culture and education.”

Account 98 is the bank account used by the Saudi government to collect donations for the support of terrorism. They’ve been telling the US that this account no longer exists. They lied.

This was a fund that collected $15,822,977,301 Saudi Riyals for the “Popular Committee for Assisting the Mujahideen”

I don’t think dealing hash and reselling bootleg t-shirts generates this kind of cash. Saudis tell us that these offices have been closed. They lie and we pretend to believe them. We’ve been doing this for decades. We’ll probably keep doing it until they run out of oil.

* Link thanks to Dan D. at Winds of Change

Solar powered floor tiles..

* link thanks to Instapundit

bigapple

Is being hosted by A Guy in New York (an online magazine / blog about good (and affordable) places to eat, living in NYC, and fun things to see and do in Manhattan)

Go visit!

Wired has been offering some of the best alternate energy news around. Their latest, Why $5 Gas Is Good for America:

At the climax of his book Twilight in the Desert, Houston investment banker and energy guru Matthew Simmons describes a visit to the world’s most powerful oil company, Saudi Aramco, in Dhahran. Simmons listens in horror as a senior manager reveals the kingdom’s darkest secret. The old ways no longer suffice. To keep their aging wells productive, the Saudis now rely upon one information age prop after another: advanced analysis of rock cores, 3-D seismic imagery, software for diagnosing underground oil flows – all integrated using something called fuzzy logic. Fuzzy logic? The Aramco man tries to explain the science of complex systems and partial information, but Simmons hears only tidings of a bleak future. Obviously, the end of energy as we know it is nigh…

[actually, Simmons is probably right about the possibility that easy-to-produce oil is peaking – but he may be wrong about the consequences. It looks like high prices may finally be waking up the previously sluggish alternative fuels market.]

…We’ve never had more options for keeping those wheels turning. Aramco’s fuzzy logic is just one of a multitude of new tools and fuels – some proven, some in the works, and some wildly speculative. The main thing standing between those possibilities and your gas tank is cheap crude oil that costs Aramco barely $3 a barrel to bring to the surface.

So rising oil prices are more than just an irritant or even an ominous nick out of the GDP. They’re an invitation to corn and coal and hydrogen. For anyone with a fresh idea, expensive oil is as good as a subsidy – with no political strings attached. Indeed, every extra penny you pay at the pump is an incentive for some aspiring energy mogul to find another fuel…

In related news, even the CIA is going green.

At Gigglechick’s place!

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