A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Archive for May, 2006

How Bad Is Iraq?

Posted by ssbg on May 31, 2006


The conventional wisdom is that Iraq is a quagmire at best and a disaster at worst. The claim that we have already lost the war is commonly made these days, and I think it's safe to say that most Democrats, and many other Americans, believe that we should get out of Iraq as soon as possible because our effort there has been a failure. Polls show that most Americans now believe that the Iraq war was not worth the cost, largely, no doubt, because of news reports suggesting that both we and the Iraqis are incurring extraordinarily high numbers of casualties.

Gateway Pundit has pulled together data from a number of sources that suggest that the conventional view is far too pessimistic–indeed, that most Americans' view of Iraq is so distorted as to be unrecognizable. Among other things, Jim notes that the violent death rate in Iraq is lower than that in a number of American cities, including Washington, D.C. And, while the terrorists have killed far too many innocent Iraqis, civilian deaths in Iraq from 2003 to the present are only one-sixth the civilian deaths in Iraq during the period from 1988 to 1991. (So much for being "better off under Saddam.")

I would add a few more facts. I think that Americans' weariness with Iraq is driven primarily by near-daily news reports of American soldiers and Marines being killed and wounded there. Of course, we mourn every death of an American serviceman or woman. But those losses need to be put in some kind of context; otherwise, since fighting any war inevitably involves casualties, military action of any kind is impossible.

A total of 2,471 servicemembers have died in Iraq from 2003 to the present, a period of a little over three years. That total is almost exactly one third of the number of military personnel who died on active duty from 1980 to 1982, a comparable time period when no wars were being fought. Until very recently, our armed forces lost servicemen at a greater rate than we have experienced in Iraq, due solely to accidental death.

Do you recall that during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s there was any suggestion, from anyone, that our military policies were somehow disastrous due to fatalities among our servicemen–fatalities that nearly always exceeded those we are now experiencing in Iraq? No, neither do I.

So, is Iraq a disaster? There is little or no objective evidence to support that claim, but any claim, made often enough, will gain acceptance if the basic data that contradict it are never mentioned.


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Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) accepted free ringside tickets

Posted by ssbg on May 30, 2006

Democrats who have busied themselves painting corruption as an exclusively Republican affair have hit a number of obstacles to that message — Reps. William Jefferson and Alan Mollohan prominent among them. Now the Democrats have to add their own leadershipagain — as the Senate Minority Leader has been exposed as taking favors from a notoriously corrupt industry while he intervened on their behalf:

Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing.Reid took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada's agency feared might usurp its authority.

He defended the gifts, saying that they would never influence his position on the bill and he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. "Anyone from Nevada would say I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's number one businesses," he said. "I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished," added the senator, a former boxer and boxing judge.

Senate ethics rules generally allow lawmakers to accept gifts from federal, state or local governments, but specifically warn against taking such gifts — particularly on multiple occasions — when they might be connected to efforts to influence official actions. …

Several ethics experts said Reid should have paid for the tickets, which were close to the ring and worth between several hundred and several thousand dollars each, to avoid the appearance he was being influenced by gifts.

In a further blow to efforts to paint corruption as Republican, two GOP Senators also attended fights with Harry Reid. John McCain insisted on paying for his tickets at the retail value ($1400) while Reid's fellow Nevadan, John Ensign, recused himself from participating in Reid's pending legislation.

This follows on Reid's four interventions on behalf of clients of Jack Abramoff, actions which closely coincided with large donations from the tribes Abramoff represented. Reid, some will recall, also accepted campaign assistance from a former aide, Edward Ayoob, after Abramoff hired Ayoob to work as a lobbyist. These revelations get little play from the media (the AP mentions both in this story) and none from Democratic partisans who headline almost everything they can about Jack Abramoff, even though they have been known for a year. They excuse this and a number of other Abramoff recipients by rationalizing that Abramoff donated more money personally to Republicans, even though he directed his clients to donate tens of thousands of dollars to Senators Reid and Tom Daschle, Reps. Patrick Kennedy and Dick Gephardt, and at least in the case of Reid in conjunction with specific interventions on their behalf.

Now Reid has been caught taking favors on behalf of an industry with an embarrassing past and a not-much-improved present. I enjoy boxing, but no one who has watched the sport believes that its alphabet soup of associations play straight, nor does the judging always raise its credibility above the level of professional wrestling. Reid's instinct to regulate the sport has a rational basis, even if it would be unlikely to improve anything more than boxer safety. Accepting several thousands of dollars worth of tickets while actively pursuing legislation that would impact this industry is such an obvious ethical violation that Reid's protestations of overreaction are insulting to the intelligence of the voters.

I wrote last year that Democrats would regret their attempts to turn corruption into a partisan campaign issue. That problem relates to power, not party, and corruption affects enough of both parties to require a bipartisan effort to truly contain and end it. Neither party seems willing to commit to such reform, and as long as Democrats continue to screech at corrupt Republicans while excusing the likes of Reid, Kennedy, Jefferson, and Mollohan, then nothing will ever change.


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MSM Repetition of Myths

Posted by ssbg on May 29, 2006


Check out:

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Court Papers: Last Two FDA Directors Stopped Morning After Pill Sales

Posted by ssbg on May 29, 2006



by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 25, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Court papers from depositions given to a pro-abortion law firm that has sued the FDA over its delay in approving over the counter status for the morning after pill show the last two commissioners both intervened to halt or delay that status.The Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based pro-abortion law firm, has been deposing current and former FDA staff members in its quest to get the morning after pill approved for sale without a prescription.

Barr Laboratories, which makes the Plan B pill that can sometimes cause an abortion, originally asked the FDA to approve its request to sell the morning after pill to all women without a doctor's visit.

Although an FDA committee voted strongly in favor of granting the request, the papers show former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan stepped in and determined that the OTC status was inappropriate because the company didn't provide enough information about its effects on teenagers.

McClellan noted that Barr did not include many teenagers in its studies and worried that promoting the Plan B drugs to teens would encourage them in engaging in risky sexual behavior since the drug does not prevent STDs.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's deputy commissioner for operations, testified in her deposition that this seemed like a reasonable concern.

"We did not have much data in the younger adolescent age group," she testified, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

"I discussed [with FDA staff] our inability as basically middle-aged health professionals … to really get into the minds of young teenagers and their behaviors," she told the pro-abortion law firm. "[We] have very proudly approved many drugs in the past that have become cult drugs in certain populations."

After the FDA rejected the request, it told Barr to resubmit its application and ask that women above the age of 16 be allowed to purchase the drug over the counter. Barr sent in a new application and the FDA delayed in rendering a decision on it.

Eventually, former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford indefinitely postponed a decision on the revised request.

The depositions show FDA staff members upset at the way in which Crawford unilaterally decided to postpone any decision on the application.

Dr. Steven Galson, head of the FDA division that reviews drugs, testified in his deposition that Crawford took the decision away from him, according to the Times report.

"Dr. Crawford … told me that he was concerned about where we were heading because he knew that I was heading toward this recommendation, and he told me that he was going to make the decision on what to do with the application," Galson said.

Galson testified that it was the first time he had such a decision taken out of his hands.

Woodcock also testified on Crawford's involvement and said he gave her just a one day notice that he was going to have the agency put off the decision.

According to the Times, Crawford "was … going to take this decision himself, and that's what he told me," she testified.

Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, told the Times that Crawford's decision made sense and that the agency kept saying it needed more time to review how to enforce a policy allowing most women to purchase the drug from prohibiting some women from doing so.

Crawford and McClellan "brought some basic common sense to the decision-making," Wright said.

She told the Los Angeles newspaper that the issue is not why the FDA has postponed selling the drug over the counter, but why abortion advocates are using the drug as a public relations ploy.

"What this is really all about is the abortion lobby has been losing on the issue of abortion, and they are now diverting attention to something they can win on — the 'morning-after' pill," Wright said.

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Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you

Posted by ssbg on May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006


Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G.I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
Thank them both today.



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