Friday, October 18, 2002

SULLIVAN ON SELF-ESTEEM: Andrew Sullivan has a fantastic article on how too much self-esteem might be a bad thing!

Self-esteem can also be an educational boomerang. Friends of mine who teach today's college students are constantly complaining about the high self-esteem of their students. When the kids have been told from Day One that they can do no wrong, when every grade in high school is assessed so as to make the kid feel good, rather than to give an accurate measure of his work, the student can develop self-worth dangerously unrelated to the objective truth. He can then get deeply offended when he's told he's got a C-grade in college, and become demoralized or extremely angry. Weak professors give in to the pressure - hence grade inflation. Tough professors merely get exhausted trying to bring their students into vague touch with reality.

Of course, in these therapized days, reality can be a touchy subject. It's hard to accept that we may not be the best at something or that we genuinely screwed up or that low self-esteem can sometimes be fully justified. But maintaining a robust self-image while being able to absorb difficult criticism is surely worth the effort. It could lead to all sorts of strange occurrences: kids working harder, adults exercizing self-control, thieves experiencing - yes - guilt, even politicians taking full and painful responsibility for their actions and words.

Sullivan couldn't be more right here. It seems these days if something goes wrong, people try to place the blame on someone else, even when they're the ones directly responsible for it.
ASSHOLE ALERT: Here's a disgusting display of the lack of sympathy for the victims by terrorists and those who support them.

When questioned about the victims in the recent Bali bombing, Abu Bakar Bashir, a Muslim cleric, responded,

"My message to the families is please convert to Islam as soon as possible."

Mr Bashir offered no sympathy for those who died; just his belief that by converting to Islam, the survivors could ensure they would avoid the fate of those non-Muslims who died and went to hell.

He also referred to the nightclubs as "sinful". So apparently, dancing and having fun are now sinful. And once again, who was to blame for the bombings? Why, it was those infidel Jews and Americans of course:

"I think the bomb was done by foreign intelligence, especially US intelligence. The indications are Americans and Jews did it to justify the claims that have been made so far that Indonesia is a terrorist haven. What they mean by terrorists is Muslims. "So to prove their theory they created the incident in Bali."

Pressed on who from the US might actually have done the bombing, he said: "I don't know who planted the bomb.

"It's possible Americans hired Indonesians. My understanding is Americans hired Indonesians."

Thursday, October 17, 2002

MORE ONION: And here's another hilarious page from the Onion on how the airline industry is dealing with terrorism in the skies.

Note: The Onion is a parody site. Don't take this stuff too seriously.
STATE OF THE ECONOMY: The Onion has a hilarious take on how Bush is handling the economy.

See? I'm not a conservative. I'm a libertarian. I still like taking my shots at Bush too. And this article is probably closer to the truth than most Americans would like to believe.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

BLAIR ON FIRE: Tim Blair, an Austrailian columnist who's like butter 'cause he's on a roll lately (props to Stuart Scott of ESPN for that one), posits a fascinating conclusion: Killing terrorists wipes out terror.

Seems obvious enough to me, but there are apparently some out there who believe it makes more sense to appease terrorists. Blair shoots this down:

HEARD anything from Italy's Red Brigades lately? What about Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang? Where has Japan's Red Army been hiding? Whatever happened to the Weather Underground?

All of these terrorist organisations have more or less vanished. According to the anti-war lobby, which holds that a violent reaction to terrorism only breeds more terrorism, they should be thriving. Andreas Baader's suicide in Stammheim Prison in 1977 should have inspired an army of followers.

Instead, they're gone. Killing and jailing terrorists wipes out terror. The only major European terrorist group from that era to survive in any significant way is the IRA, which tells us something: attacking terrorists doesn't breed terror. Negotiating with them does.

I think some liberals living in a make believe utopia don't seem to get another simple point: terrorists don't like you, even if you feel sorry for them. They want to kill you. Referring to Bob Ellis, a man seemingly sympathetic to Al Qaeda's cause, Blair goes on:

And it was caused not by Howard but by a bloodthirsty global movement that would as happily kill Ellis as it would any other Western individual. Islamic terrorists don't care if you're a Howard voter or an ALP speechwriter. Ellis meets their only qualification: he's not a Muslim.

Finally, Blair wraps up his article with the following:

Australians who worry about offending murderous lunatics and urge silence on issues like terrorism are acting as though we've already been defeated, as though terrorists are rational people, who pay close attention to reasonable arguments and make considered judgments.

They don't.

Nobody who thinks it a valid political gesture to crash jets into skyscrapers or blow up nightclubs will be swayed by a cautious debate in the Senate or an arm's-length policy towards the US. Germany is against the war. One German died in Bali and 12 are missing.

Terrorists don't want liberty. They want death. They want to see the young girl walking around Sydney airport all Tuesday with a photograph in her hand, asking survivors returning from Bali if any of them had seen her big brother. She loved him. Did anyone know what had happened to him? Can you help me find him? Please?

It's impossible, but try to imagine what kind of monster would cause that, and would rejoice in it. Those are the sorts of people we're dealing with. Hobart's Brendan Blomely, whose friend Clinton Thompson was killed, told an AAP reporter that he feared for Australia if the attack weakened our resolve: "If we allow them to run roughshod over us then more Australians are going to go the way Clinton unfortunately did. If we take any more time, more people like Clint will perish."

History proves Blomely right. You stop terrorism by stopping terrorists.

I practically cited the whole article. That's how right on Blair is about this. It's time for people who try to find a moral equivalence between people who commit terror and people who defend themselves from it to wake up. There is no equivalence. And the only way to stop is not to appease it, but to fight it.

Monday, October 14, 2002

SADDAM'S "ELECTIONS": Note the following is a parody and may cause extreme laughter. Proceed with caution.
FISKING FISK: How fitting that Robert Fisk, for whom the term was created, gets a royal Fisking at the hands of Tim Blair.
While it's not mentioned by Blair, it's odd that Fisk claims the bombings were an attack against Austrailians even though the attack took place in Indonesia. While Austrailian tourists were among the casualties, Austrailians are less represented than Muslims in Indonesia! In other words, Al Qaeda was more likely to hit a Muslim than an Austrailian!

Blair even questions whether Fisk is working for Al Qaeda.

Is Fisk actually working for Al Qaeda? Here he's supplying them with a hit list: "Don't forget Belgium! Ireland are on the side of the infidel, too! And they're smaller, and more vulnerable!"

I'm starting to wonder myself...

Sunday, October 13, 2002

TERRORISM IN INDONESIA: Several bombs went off at hot spots on the island of Bali, with Al Qaeda being the likely perpetraitor. Casualties were in the triple digits with many more likely to come. The Indonesian government claimed it will now take responsibility for rounding up terrorists inside its borders.

However, according to a local "cleric", who was responsible for the act? Why none other than the United States, who are apparently involved in some grand conspiracy to commit terrorist acts while denouncing terror.

"It would be impossible for Indonesians to do it," he said. "Indonesians don't have such powerful explosives. I think maybe the U.S. are behind the bombings because they always say Indonesia is part of a terrorist network."

Well that sounds like a good enough explanation for me!

Nice try asshole.