banner photo:

"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Gay, conservative & proud"

Ben Smith at Politico reports on this weekend's Homocon conference in New York, sponsored by the gay Republican organization GOProud. Homocon, to much consternation from the gay left, featured Ann Coulter as a keynote speaker.
GOProud is the tea party of the gay rights movement, with well-tailored dark suits in place of revolutionary war garb. The event, complete with lithe young men in black “Freedom is Fabulous” t-shirts guiding guests to the elevator, marked a new high tide in the shift of the Republican Party away from “social issues” and toward a broader complaint about Democratic management of the economy, national security, and the idea of America. GOProud is an explicitly gay group that isn’t particularly focused on gay rights, and Coulter’s speech – full of conservative red meat, and only the occasional Judy Garland joke – reflected its focus.

The gay right is thriving at a moment that the mainstream gay rights movement faces a profound crisis.


“Gay and lesbian voters are small-business owners, mothers and fathers, taxpayers who deserve representatives who will stand up for them and succeeding generations,” said its deputy executive director, Christian Berle.

Attendees at “Homocon” universally attributed the rise of the gay right to the rising conservative tide generally.

Christopher R. Barron of GOProud writes at the Daily Caller:
What strange bedfellows politics makes; take the curious case of gay conservatives. Both the gay left and the professional anti-gay industry in this country would have you believe that the gay community is homogenous. Both the gay left and the anti-gay-for-pay right want Americans to believe that the gay community is uniformly liberal, slavishly loyal to the Democratic Party, and unquestioning in their allegiance to the “progressive” agenda. Both treat the idea of gay conservatives as a novelty, political unicorns. The reality, of course, is nothing near what this political odd couple would have you believe — indeed 27% of self-identified gay and lesbian voters chose John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. That’s a figure that translates to roughly 1.7 million gay votes for McCain/Palin. If gay conservatives are unicorns, our herd is huge.


Instead of talking to people about our lives, our families, our beliefs, and our values, the gay left has taken the easy way out — preferring to attack, criticize, and demonize those who may disagree with us on issues like marriage. Instead of working to win new friends, the gay left seems hell bent on creating new enemies.

We do not believe that disagreeing with us on same-sex marriage or openly gay service makes someone a homophobe or a bigot. Many of the people who don’t understand our lives don’t know us, or at least don’t think they do. Poll after poll shows that people’s opinions on homosexuality, gay marriage, and openly gay military service are all inextricably linked to whether or not they know someone who is gay or lesbian.

We recognize that simply being in the room is not enough, but you have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. The truth is that we simply cannot win the hearts and minds of serious conservatives — hearts and minds we need to win — without the work of gay conservatives.

"What drives these people to their delusions?"

Prompted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech at the UN, the National Post's Jonathan Kay wonders what motivates conspiracy theorists:
What drives these people to their delusions? There are different psychological factors at play. Some conspiracy theorists are undergoing mid-life crises, or have experienced life-changing medical tragedies. Others are web addicts who've lost the ability to discern legitimate news from internet flotsam.

But by far the biggest category of conspiracy theorist is what I call the "failed historian." He is someone who views human history through a rigid and all-encompassing ideological template. Some are Marxists. Others are Islamists, or Chomskyites, or radical Tea Party conservatives, or white supremacists. Whatever the details of their belief system, they all have a shared need to reconcile everything they know about the world with their totalizing world view. A conspiracy theory is a tool that lets them do that : It allows them to eliminate the painful cognitive dissonance that inevitably arises between fact and theory.

The most obvious example here in Canada is the militant left-wing campus radical, whose ideology requires him to trace every species of evil in the world to Washington or Tel Aviv. For these extremists, 9/11 caused a significant psychic wound -- since it was an act of horrific evil that plainly was the work of America's enemies. Conspiracy theories alleging that America actually perpetrated 9/11 on itself act as a balm for these people: Having told this lie to themselves, they can sleep soundly, knowing that the world is as it should be, with America as the world's monopolist on the creation of all human suffering, including its own.

Many left-wing JFK conspiracy theorists are motivated by similar inclinations. Lee Harvey Oswald was a socialist, and an admirer of the Soviet Union. For fellow travellers, it was far more comforting to imagine that the evil he performed could be laid at the feet of the CIA. Some left-wing conspiracy theorists are similarly drawn to the theory that U.S. astronauts never landed on the moon, since they instinctively reject any historical episode that serves to glorify America.

The same goes, on the other side of the political spectrum, for Holocaust deniers, who typically are admirers of the Nazi power cult and its associated doctrine of Aryan racial purity. By using conspiracy theories to wish away the Holocaust -- the signature evil of the 20th century, and Hitler's greatest crime -- they subconsciously rehabilitate their precious Nazi ideology in their own damaged minds.

Because the engine of conspiracism is the psychic gulf between what is wished for and what is, conspiracy theories are especially prominent in Islamic societies such as Iran. This is because the Koran, the associated doctrines of Shariah, and the entire arc of early Islamic history have created the expectation that Muslims will rule over infidels as conquerors -- and that Muslim societies, having been enlightened by the Seal of the Prophets, always would be more militarily successful and technologically advanced than infidel societies. But the real world that Muslims see in the Middle East and Central Asia is precisely the opposite: Their societies are poor and backward compared to those of the West. (Tiny, successful, infidel Israel epitomizes this reality, which helps explain why so many Muslims refuse to acknowledge its existence.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F.
(part of a series)

[NOTE: Although there are no pages missing from the notebook, Sgt Burnett's journal has a one-month gap between July 31 and September 1, and the entries jump from "21st trip" to "23rd trip"]

Tues Sept 1/42
23rd trip

Took off from base Topcliffe Yorks. in Bal 887 H harry Skipper Jimmy Clark.
Bomb load one 4000 lb bomb.
Target Saarbrucken coal and pig iron centre in Germany.
Partially cloud cover on way in clear over target Half moon to-night
Started huge fires and left whole town ablaze on return half way between coast and target. I was looking around when suddenly I saw an air craft about 100 ft below and 75 yds behind moon was dead astern. A/C passed out of sight under neath us I told the pilot to whip our A/C over he did so and levled out. I was looking around for other A/C unknown as to what it was at the time but later identified it as a ju 88.
All of a sudden tracer started coming at us from our starboard quarter about 200 yds away I told pilot to turn to starboard E/A.C. was lost to my vision due to evasive action. We levelled out again and I was searching for E/A again when I spotted him about level with us on the starboard quarter about 200 yds away I think Jerry and I opend up at the same time. I gave pilot evasive action to starboard, he did and as he saw tracer hitting our port wing he ducked and accidently pushed the stick fore ward. our A/C went into a 350 mph dive from 7000 ft. Jimmy had both feet on the dash board yanking back on the stick, and much to every ones relief she started to pull out. We did at 500 ft. very close indeed and for a bit Jimmy didn't think that he could do it. But thanks to him and good fortune he did we climbed to 5000 ft and weaved like hell all the way home. Every one was pretty well shaken up. We never saw E/AC again thank God.
The W/OP. who was standing in the astro dome was hit by a splinter in the fore head. but only a super fitial wound. We landed at Mildenhall very low on petrol as our Port tank had been pierced by cannon shell also received a machine gun bullet through one prop blade Port wing flaps were in shreds.
Every one was indeed very happy to see good old Terra firma once again
This is my last trip although I volunteered to go as fill in for the regular gunner of this crew who was sick.
[ILLEGIBLE] I wouldn't step into another A/C to save my life

This is the end of Sgt Burnett's Diary