Monthly Archives: April 2008

When is Tag Not Tag? Updated

When it is a game called “Jailbreak.”

“This is not the old-fashioned tag, where you could use two fingers and you would be it and move on to someone else,” Hooker said. The game, she said, has become much more aggressive. “I call it the nouveau tag.”

This tag involves grabbing people who do not necessarily know they are playing and possibly bumping them to the ground. “Then the kids do ‘pyramiding’ or ‘towering.’ They pile on each other. [Sometimes] they call it ‘jailhouse’ or ‘jailbreak,’ ” because the child has to break out, she said.[Michael Alison Chandler at the WaPo]

This doesn’t sound like tag at all. It sounds like assault and battery on the playground.

Michelle Malkin responded a few days ago to an abbreviated version of this story, her emphasis being on the wussification of the American child. While I agree that American children are being wussified by feminism and legalism, in this case the issue is the barbarity of some American children.

The principal of the school banned these violent variations of tag during recess and convinced the PE teacher(s) to teach the kids how to play basic touch tag without adding assault and battery into the mix. And yet this article presents it as if the principal was in the wrong, and out of his her mind for banning an innocent child’s game such as tag.

More references at Sphere.

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4GW/xGW: Identifying Tibet Protest Narratives

Clearly, the Tibet protests in America and the rest of the world are unusual. They are not led by professional, ideologically Marxist protesters from International ANSWER, the Revolutionary Communist Party, World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, or any of the other communist front-groups that usually play such a significant role in the so-called peace movement. They are actually being led and filled out by people who care for the inhabitants of Tibet.

These protests are led by amateurs! And they are not popular with China or Cuba. This is not a coincidence.

This fact shows that protesters can be convinced to protest against Communist and other anti-American tyrannies if they are presented with a congruent narrative that appeals to them.

The conspiracy-minded hunter-seeker posted a link to a narrative about Tibet that reveals some of the structural and linguistic keys to creating a meme that will prove compelling to leftists. The very interesting “alternative journalist” Larry Chin, who shares the name of a spy who infiltrated the CIA, sold secrets to China, made a million in real estate using money he earned from espionage, and (supposedly) killed himself in prison by suffocating himself with a plastic grocery bag, attempts to shepherd leftists and protesters away from protests against China and back to the protests of which he approves (anything opposed to the US, UK or Israel).

Anti-Imperialism

For Applebaum the events in Tibet represent one manifestation of a wider reaction of “captive nations”, Uighurs, Mongols, Tibetans, rising up against the tyrannical rule of an old imperial and foreign power that has long oppressed smaller countries and societies surrounding it. Applebaum includes even such independent nations as North Korea and Burma in this category, hence, quite accurately, relegating Kim Jong Il and the Burmese military junta to the role of Beijing’s surrogate dictators. [link]

Every morality tale needs a good guy and a bad guy. What bad guy is worse, and by worse I mean better for the purpose of the narrative, than a tool of the evil empire? Nobody cheers for Darth Vader.

Echoes of Revolution

Then under the direction of the Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche, the exile cabinet and parliament created a special “Solidarity Committee” to take over the various independent campaigns and activities taking place around the world. It appears that members of the Committee approached the leaders and representative of these campaigns and organizations, and instructed them to terminate their independent activities and operate under the direction of the Committee. [link]

The word “Solidarity” reminds the listener of a revolution. Yes it was the Polish revolution against the USSR occupation, meaning that it will never find favor among ideological communists. But the Solidarity revolution won, and that cannot be discounted. The vocabulary of the revolution is of utmost importance, for the correct vocabulary will allow the narrative to be accepted by protesters.

The Movement Betrayed

Circulars have been sent from Dharamshala to NGO’s and support groups instructing them to stop using the term “FREE TIBET”. Earlier, only the term independence or Rangzen was regarded as taboo, but now even such a broad and inoffensive term as “freedom” is seen as too provocative. Instructions have also apparently been issued to the Tibetan public not to tear, burn or step on the Chinese Communist Flag. A week ago, Tenzin Choeden, a member of the Solidarity Committee spoke before Chinese UN mission in New York where Tibetans have been keeping up a vigorous demonstration since March 10th. The Solidarity Committee representative gave a lengthy and roundabout speech where he called on Tibetans not to shout slogans demanding Independence for Tibet, and a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Much to the annoyance of the crowd he also told protesters not to display a large banner they were carrying which read “China Out of Tibet”. [link]

The official leadership of the Tibetan Solidarity movement have been suborned by the imperialist power. The leadership is working against its own people in an attempt to crush the revolution from both sides, hoping that increasing the pressure does not create an uncontrollably violent reaction.

The test to this theory is in Larry Chin’s article, titled “Is the CIA behind the China-bashing Olympics protests?

The legions of pro-Tibet activists also seem largely unaware of the historical fact that the “holy land of compassion” has been a CIA pawn since the end of World War II. The infamous Tolstoi Mission sent CIA operatives into Tibet, with plans to establish it as a US military base, from which the US could control the entire Asian region. This activity flourished under the US-supported, opium-banked Nationalist Kuomintang regime of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Notice Chin playing the same themes we found against the Tibetan Solidarity movement. America the real imperialist power: check. Tibet has been betraying China since WW2: check. Just like the Kuomintang counter-revolution: check.

Use these themes when constructing a narrative for why protesters should get together and protest against Saudi Arabian imperialism of the muslim world (and the west). Choose the name of a successful and popular revolution from the past. Identify a villain who has betrayed the revolutionary movement in order to assist the imperial enemy.

Other uses for the narrative should be obvious.

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Tax Day Tuesday Open Trackbacks

Who wants to pay even more taxes? And who wants someone else to pay more taxes than they already pay? Who makes the choice of who will pay more, who will pay less, and who will pay the same? I think it’s time to scrap the current tax system in favor of something else. My favorite choice is the Fair Tax. Stop by and fill out the petition.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Tibet

China is claiming attacks from inside and outside and is embarrassed beyond belief by the constant interference by protesters against the Olympic torch procession. China is taking a hard line about things, threatening athletes who express opinions the Chinese government doesn’t like with expulsion from the games.

What I’d like to discover is where the radical anti-war groups are in this popular protest against Chinese tyranny in Tibet. This appears to be action by people who are truly concerned with Tibet, as contrasted with the La Raza and Code Pink rallies, which are led by groups like International ANSWER and the Revolutionary Communist Party. Are the usual anti-war groups showing up to protest against China? Or do they only protest against America?

Update
Zombietime and Ginna Allison have excellent photo reports on the fabulous torch relay disappearing act in San Francisco. Even David Copperfield would have had trouble making this protest disappear as well as SF’s thin blue line did the trick.

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Leftism is a Gnostic perversion of Christianity

And that’s not good. At all. So says Gagdad Bob in a brilliant essay, via Dissecting Leftism. Here is a taste.

Being that we all live in “Christendom” — that is, a culture shaped and animated (in the literal sense of “given life”) by Judeo-Christian principles — I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that we share its underlying assumptions about the “brokenness” of man and the world. But where the progressive goes off the rails is in supposing there is some secret political formula that can reverse the fall and restore us to wholeness. Thus, the ubiquitous frenzied moral passion that always animates the left. Leftists are always exaggeratedly pessimistic about the present state of the world, but “optimistic” in a crazed and manic way that steamrules over anyone who would dare delay the immediate implementation of paradise.

From Marx on down, the leftist fallacy follows from turning spiritual Truth on its head (or “inside-out”), so that man’s spiritual crisis is seen as a material one (e.g. “robber barons,” “global warming,” “global cooling,” “nuclear power,” “income disparity,” “corporate greed,” etc.) instead of a psycho-spiritual one. This is the “fundamental assumption” which adherents of all the variant progressive systems within our epoch unconsciously presuppose.

For example, the progressive would say that Palestinians aren’t evil, they’re just poor. Which precisely inverts the truism that they are poor because they are evil (except for the few who are extraordinarily wealthy because they are evil, having been enriched by the largesse of Western progressives who give them money because they think it will stop them from being evil, when it always does the opposite, thus ensuring a constant cash flow from backward progressives).

Read the whole darn thing.

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Good News from Afghanistan

Via Michelle Malkin, Ray Robinson argues that the biased western media is spinning progress in Afghanistan as failure (for instance by spinning the fact that the Taliban have been kicked out of towns and villages and live in the desert as the Taliban having control of vast swathes of [desert] land) and lists some of the metrics of progress in Afghanistan.

  1. The Afghan Army is growing in size, experience, and leadership capabilities.
  2. A recent study found that 90% of the Afghan population trusted the country’s military force.
  3. More than 4,000 km of roads have been built where only 50 km existed in 2001.
  4. The rehabilitation of the North-East power system has advanced and access of the rural households to electricity has been significantly increased.
  5. In 2007 alone, ISAF nations completed 1,080 civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) projects.
  6. 2,000 schools were built or repaired in the last five years and around 6.4 million children (including 1.5 million girls) are now in schools.
  7. Since 2001, both infant and under-five mortality has declined by 26% and 22% respectively.
  8. In 2001, 8% of Afghans had access to some form of healthcare. Now more than 80% of the population has access to medical care.
  9. The non-opium economy has grown at an average of 12% over the past four years; the number of poppy-free provinces has grown from six in 2006 to 13 in 2007.
  10. Afghan public support for international involvement in Afghanistan remains high with around 70% of Afghans supporting the presence of international forces.
  11. The majority of Afghans believe their country is going in the right direction and 84% support their current government (as opposed to 4% who would support the Taliban).
  12. They also maintain a positive view of reconstruction efforts with 63% saying that reconstruction efforts in their area have been effective since 2002.

Apology

I have spread plenty of bad news about Afghanistan and Pakistan here, and some of these posts have been the most popular posts on my blog for a long time. To some extent this is because of fascination with the evil propagated by some of the Afghans who match bin Laden and Zawahiri for evil, such as Hekmatyar and the Dadullah brothers, Mullah and Mansoor. But that is not an excuse for despairing in the face of the relentless media bias. I’m sorry I despaired and doubly sorry if I led any others to despair.

Do not despair, dear reader. Be strong, be faithful, know thyself and that which dwells in thy heart. Be an active consumer of the news. Don’t simply fall for what is in the news, especially do not do as I did and lend extra credence to local news from Pakistani and Afghan publications simply because the sources are exotic. News product from dictatorships and monocultures does not come from a free media. It is a different kind of product entirely.

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Reading List: Foundations of the American System of Government

Updated

The Internet in general, and WikiSource in particular, is a wonderful thing. This is a mostly chronological reading list on the foundational documents of the American system of government.

The Magna Carta (The Great Charter), 1297
The 1215 version imposed upon John was repealed shortly after being signed. The 1297 version remains in legal force in England and Wales to this day. It records the rights of the nobility and of freemen and restricts the rights of the King and his Government by holding them subject to the Law.
The Law of Nations
The Law of Nations is the science which teaches the rights subsisting between nations or states, and the obligations correspondent to those rights. States (be they city states or later nation states) have attributes that they get as larger parts above normal society. The Law is distilled from the historical actions of states that behaved admirably, tempering justice with mercy and reinforcing faith with reason. The Law of Nations is voluntary. Yet by becoming a state, the nascent state takes on the attributes of a state, like it or not: attributes such as embassies, treaties, truces, declarations, taxes, import duties, armies, militias, a mint, internal laws, etc. The Law informed the American founding documents, which left implicit many of its premises and conclusions.
The Articles of Association, 1774
The Articles of Association were a petition of grievances against Great Britain by the American colonies, and a compact among them to collectively impose economic sanctions to pressure a resolution. The Articles were drafted by the First Continental Congress in 1774 and were an important formative document in the history of the United States that perhaps hastened the American Revolution, though they were intended instead to alter Britain’s policies towards the colonies without severing allegiance. [link]
United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
The first of three Charters of Freedom declared the colonies independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained the reasons why this must be. It was ratified on July 4, 1776. This is why July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day in the USA.
Articles of Confederation, 1777
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, or, more commonly, just the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document of the United States of America. The articles, which combined the 13 colonies of the American Revolutionary War into a loose confederation, were adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate. The articles were ratified three years later on March 1, 1781. [link]
Constitution of the United States of America
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was later ratified by special conventions in each state. It created a federal union of sovereign states, and a federal government to operate that union. It replaced the less defined union that had existed under the Articles of Confederation. It took effect on March 4, 1789 and has served as a model for the constitutions of numerous other nations. The Constitution of the United States of America is the oldest written national constitution in use. [link]
The Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 pseudonymous articles written mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution. They were first published serially in New York City newspapers. A compilation, called The Federalist, was published in 1788. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government. [link]
Antifederalist Papers
The Antifederalist Papers were written pseudonymously by several patriots who believed that the Constitution without any enumeration of individual rights at all would be a prescription for tyranny. It was highly influential in the passage of the Bill of Rights and its attachment to the Constitution. They are arranged in one-to-one correspondence to the Federalist paper against which they argue. See here for more.
United States Bill of Rights, 1789
In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the term for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments explicitly limit the Federal government’s powers, protecting the rights of the people by preventing Congress from abridging freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religious worship, and the right to bear arms, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and self-incrimination, and guaranteeing due process of law and a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. In addition, the Bill of Rights states that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government to the citizenry or States. [link]

Additional amendments to the United States Constitution
These are additional amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America added after the first ten amendments on the United States Bill of Rights (ratified in 1791) have been ratified . There are 17 additional amendments to date, ratified from 1795 to 1992.
Some Unsuccessful attempts to amend the United States Constitution
There have been over ten thousand attempts to amend the United States Constitution. This is a list of a few of the more recent or interesting ones.

Enjoy!

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