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In Which I Add to My Intellectual Vanity… June 13, 2006, 8:58 pm

Posted by quintapalus in People Smarter Than Me, Terrorism.
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It's always nice to know that you pick up on the same things as other great minded people, and even beat them to the punch. Yesterday, I wrote about the Canadian terror suspects playing the terrorist playbook step by step and today, Charles Johnson of Littlegreenfootballs.com had the same sentiment in a post called Canadian Jihadis Play by the Book.

Update: Lee over at Right Thinking from the West Coast chimes in as well

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Steyn’s Sunday Column… January 29, 2006, 10:46 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Israeli / Palestinian, Op-Ed Columns, People Smarter Than Me, Uncategorized.
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Great column as always, containing this absolute gem:

For example, Mariam Farahat, a mother of three, was elected in Gaza. She used to be a mother of six but three of her sons self-detonated on suicide missions against Israel. She’s a household name to Palestinians, known as Um Nidal — Mother of the Struggle — and, at the rate she’s getting through her kids, the Struggle’s all she’ll be Mother of.

Man, that’s some funny stuff. So do yourself a favor and read it all.

I Said It Before, I’ll Say It Again… January 22, 2006, 8:45 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Iran, Op-Ed Columns, People Smarter Than Me.
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The “S” in Sunday stands for Steyn:

So let me see. On the one hand, we have a regime that is pressing full steam ahead with its nuclear program and whose president has threatened to wipe another sovereign state off the face of the map.

And, on the other side of the negotiations, we have Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A member of the “EU3” — the Franco-German-British team Washington has let take the lead in negotiations with Iran — Jack Straw has been at pains to emphasize that no military action against Tehran is being contemplated by him or anybody else. But in a sign that he’s losing patience with the mullahs, Straw’s officials have indicated that they’re prepared to consider the possibility of possibly considering the consideration of a possible motion on considering sanctions for the U.N. Security Council to consider the possibility of considering.

But don’t worry, they’re not escalating this thing any more than necessary. Initially, Britain is considering “narrowly targeted sanctions such as a travel ban on Iranian leaders.”

That’ll show ’em: Iranian missiles may be able to leave Iranian airspace, but the deputy trade minister won’t. No more trips to Paris for the spring collections or skiing in Gstaad for the A-list ayatollahs.

Yep. Help me help you…and read it all.  PS – it gets even better!

Can We Give Everyone a VDH Brain Chip? January 21, 2006, 11:45 pm

Posted by quintapalus in People Smarter Than Me.
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Because every week we get a dose of common sense from this guy that makes everything so clear, with such great perspective. Then again, it’s not as hard as it sounds when you actually know human nature well enough and are a student of history:

After September 11, many of our experts assured us that it was “not a question of if, but when? we were to be hit again — with the qualifier that the next strike would be far worse, entailing a dirty bomb, or biological or chemical agents. Yet when we are still free from an assault 52 months later, censors assure that our safety has nothing to do with the Patriot Act, nothing to do with wiretaps, nothing to do with killing thousands of terrorists abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nothing to do with creating democratic Afghan and Iraqi security forces who daily hunt down jihdadists far from America’s shores. And yet, strangely, there is no serious legislation to revoke the Patriot Act, to outlaw listening to calls from potential terrorists, or to cut off funds for operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Summarize what the media, the Europeans, the Middle East, and the opposition at home say about Iraq, and the usual narrative is that an initial mistake was made far worse by ideologues, leading to a hopeless situation that only makes the U.S. appear foolish and impotent, while ruining the military, creating a police state at home, and emptying the treasury. Yet these same critics surely don’t want Saddam Hussein back. They concede that after three successful elections, Iraq just might be the first truly democratic society in the history of the Middle East. And they privately acknowledge that the reputations of Osama bin Laden and Al Zarqawi are on the wane. How was that possible when almost everyone fouled up?

What can I say, but ouch!! Oh, yeah, and read the whole thing.
As much as Victor Hansen is a great intellectual and historian, he also reminds me of that simple, practical “lived through the depression era” type grandfather. You know, the kind who would tell you to stop your whining and just do it.

Krauthammer’s Thoughts on “Munich” January 15, 2006, 5:43 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Movie Reviews, People Smarter Than Me.
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I have posted my own thoughts previously on being torn about seeing Munich (which I still have not seen) and here, Charles Krauthammer posts his own thoughts after his viewing:

If Steven Spielberg had made a fictional movie about the psychological disintegration of a revenge assassin, that would have been fine. Instead, he decided to call this fiction “Munich” and root it in a historical event: the 1972 massacre by Palestinian terrorists of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. Once you’ve done that — evoked the killing of innocents who, but for Palestinian murderers, would today be not much older than Spielberg himself — you have an obligation to get the story right and not to use the victims as props for any political agenda, let alone for the political agenda of those who killed them.

Munich, the massacre, had only modest success in launching the Palestinian cause with the blood of 11 Jews. “Munich,” the movie, has now made that success complete 33 years later. No longer is it crude, grainy TV propaganda. “Munich” now enjoys high cinematic production values and the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg, no less, carrying the original terrorists’ intended message to every theater in the world.

I have read well over 50 articles discussing this movie, and this pretty much ends it for me. I will not see this movie, at least not in the theaters. My concern has always been whether I would be able to overlook the distortion of history and politics in this movie to be able to enjoy it as if it were just a bit of thriller fiction.

I just can’t.

This isn’t playing loose and fast with things that happened so long ago that they don’t matter, like William Wallace impregnating the Princess of Wales in Braveheart. Many of those involved in this horrific event are still alive and they, much less the dead, deserve to have their stories told straight and not used as a prop for Speilberg to show us all how we can solve all the world’s problems if we just listen to him.

Phenomenal Mark Steyn Column January 1, 2006, 1:55 pm

Posted by quintapalus in People Smarter Than Me.
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I know, I know, it goes without saying. Kind of like “rich billionaire.” The lede:

That’s what the war’s about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder?—as can be seen throughout much of “the western world? right now. The progressive agenda —lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism—is collectively the real suicide bomb.

It’s titled “It’s the Demography, Stupid” and you don’t need me to tell you to read it all.

Your Weekly Dose of Common Sense and Wisdom… December 23, 2005, 5:10 pm

Posted by quintapalus in People Smarter Than Me.
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…by the intellectual giant also known as Victor Davis Hansen.

Why still no big-font, front-page headlines screaming, “Millions Vote in Historic Middle East Election!? or “Democracy Comes At Last To Iraq? or “America’s Push for Iraqi Democracy Working?? Besides the politics of gloom — Bush at home and America abroad are always wrong — and the weariness with the violence, there has sadly been too small a constituency for trusting that Arabs should run their own affairs through consensual government.Remember the ingredients of the good old American foreign policy in the Middle East — the one that operated before the bad-new days of neoconservatism?

Don’t be a Scrooge and read it all.

A Question for Charles Krauthammer… December 23, 2005, 5:08 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Op-Ed Columns, People Smarter Than Me.
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Does it hurt to be that smart all the frickin’ time? The lede:

2005 was already the year of the demagogue, having been dominated for months by the endlessly echoed falsehood that the president “lied us into war.” But the year ends with yet another round of demagoguery.

Administration critics, political and media, charge that by ordering surveillance on communications of suspected al Qaeda agents in the United States, the president clearly violated the law. Some even suggest that Bush has thereby so trampled the Constitution that impeachment should now be considered. (Barbara Boxer, Jonathan Alter, John Dean and various luminaries of the left have already begun floating the idea.) The braying herds have already concluded, Tenet-like, that the president’s actions were slam-dunk illegal. It takes a superior mix of partisanship, animus and ignorance to say that.

Be there, don’t be square and read the whole thing.

It’s Steyn-day again… December 18, 2005, 10:26 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Op-Ed Columns, People Smarter Than Me.
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Don’t think it’s possible to bring Broke Back Mountain and the recent Iraqi elections into the same argument? Think again.

Heigh-ho. The Iraq election’s over, the media did their best to ignore it, and, judging from the rippling torsos I saw every time I switched on the TV, the press seem to reckon that that gay cowboy movie was the big geopolitical event of the last week, if not of all time. Yes, yes, I know: They’re not, technically, cowboys, they’re gay shepherds, but even Hollywood isn’t crazy enough to think it can sell gay shepherds to the world. And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you’ve got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi? Yee-haw! And, if that sounds unfair, pick almost any recent statement by a big-time Dem cowboy and tell me how exactly it would differ from the pep talks Zarqawi gives his dwindling band of head-hackers — Dean arguing that America can’t win in Iraq, Barbara Boxer demanding the troops begin withdrawing on Dec. 15, John Kerry accusing American soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, Jack Murtha declaring that the U.S. Army is utterly broken. Pepper ’em with a handful of “Praise be to Allahs” and any one of those statements could have been uttered by Zarqawi.

Do you really need me to tell you to read it all?

Weekly Words of Wisdom… December 16, 2005, 8:53 am

Posted by quintapalus in People Smarter Than Me.
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…and common sense from Victor David Hanson. Here’s a snippet:

For some time, a large number of Americans have lived in an alternate universe where everything is supposedly going to hell. If you get up in the morning to read the New York Times or Washington Post, watch John Murtha or Howard Dean on the morning talk shows, listen to National Public Radio at noon, and go to bed reading Newsweek it surely seems that the administration is incommunicado (cf. “the bubble?), the war is lost (“unwinnable?), the Great Depression is back (“jobless recovery?), and America about as popular as Nazi Germany abroad (“alone and isolated?).

But in the real adult world, the economy is red-hot, not mired in joblessness or relegating millions to poverty. Unemployment is low, so are interest rates. Growth is high, as is consumer spending and confidence. Our Katrina was hardly as lethal as the Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake. Thousands of Arabs are not rioting in Dearborn. American elderly don’t roast and die in the thousands in their apartments as was true in France. Nor do American cities, like some in Chinese, lose their entire water supply to a toxic spill. Americans did not just vote to reject their own Constitution as in some European countries.

Surely you don’t need me to tell you to read it all? No of course not, that would be downright silly.