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with all due respect to john paul's geo-political expertise...

he ought to get his own house in order before he goes criticizing the way we run ours.

Pope John Paul II is "deeply worried" as tensions increase over a possible war in Iraq, a top Vatican official said, adding that no country can act alone to police the world.

"The pope lives the drama of the moment, he feels involved personally," [archbishop renato] Martino said.

Martino argued that "unilateralism is not acceptable."

"We cannot think that there is a universal policeman to take a stick to those who behave badly," he said.

first of all, the concept of someone with as much responsibility as JPII supposedly has "living in the drama of the moment" scares the hell out of me. the pope absolutely has to be above emotional concerns. this isn't to say that he shouldn't feel things very deeply, but his judgment must not be compromised. he must live in full awareness of the moment, but living within its "drama" is a recipe for disaster.

secondly, why, exactly, is "unilateralism" not acceptable? and who, exactly, is acting unilaterally? bush has already got the brits and several lesser players on board. they don't count? besides that, what business is it of the pope's how the united states handles its own affairs? apparently the vatican doesn't recognize the principle of national sovereignty. nor do they apparently recognize the concept of a just war, because if there ever was a case where war was justified, brother, this is it. i'd sooner see us take care of north korea, but that doesn't mean that i'm opposed to the general idea of whacking iraq. besides, no one is really opposed to unilateralism, and i doubt they could be. when all is said and done, the objections come only when a person either doesn't like the particular unilateralist in question, or doesn't agree with their aims. if there was no problem on either of those fronts, and if there was no one else who could feasibly handle the job, then would anyone stop a "unilateral" nation from acting simply because it would be acting alone? is it immoral to eighty-six the hussein regime? can or would anyone else do it? (and let's face it, even if we had one hundred nations behind us, america would still be doing all the real work so multilateral behavior in this case is academic at best.) what, i ask you, is left?

"oh be realistic, locdog. you can't seriously expect his holiness not to take notice when the most powerful nation on earth goes to war."

the papacy certainly didn't trouble itself too much when hitler was steamrolling nation after nation and slaughtering jews by the bushelful. ah, but this is john paul the second: the Great Apologizer. this is the pope with a social conscience. the pope who can't seem to teach his priests to keep their hands to themselves, probably because his hands are too busy in everyone else's business.

Asked about the idea that some in the United States want the country to act alone, [martino] said: "It's because American society is very close-knit and it feels sure of itself. Then there's the aggression it suffered on Sept. 11. The fact that they hadn't ever suffered aggression on their own territory played a role in the reaction, which can be understood.

"Yet it's clear that - being part of the international assembly - the United States must also realize the needs of others."

so the arrogant, whiny americans are throwing a tantrum are they? we're so "sure of ourselves" and we've never, ever "suffered aggression" on our turf before so now we're out there beating up on the little guy to make ourselves feel better, eh? the first time the vatican pulled this nonsense i was incensed, but thought that perhaps it was a mere lapse in judgment. well, this makes a pattern. it's a pattern of cashing in on anti-american sentiment, of saying the euro-sheik thing rather than risk looking like a pawn of the americans--even if Biblical justice demands that saddam's day of judgment come, and that right quick.

The pope's Christmas message called on the world to "extinguish the ominous smoldering of a conflict," although the pontiff did not mention Iraq by name.

there's no value judgment here. no concept of "good" or "bad" conflicts. no trace of a just war or of the possibility of one. it's simply that plain-old plain old pacifism which gets conveniently adopted when america goes on the war-path, and conveniently dropped when the anti-american crowd asks us to consider the suffering and grief that must have caused the september 11th attackers to act out in the first place.

locdog doesn't quite understand why God gave governments the sword if they aren't allowed to draw it


and you thought baltimore "ravens" was obscure

seen on a traffic alert sign on the parkway coming into pittsburgh in anticipation of the upcoming steelers vs. browns playoff game:

brownie fans
welcome to mordor

locdog comes from a football town with a brain



north korean reality check

there is no diplomatic solution in north korea.

so why does everyone think there is? the south koreans are calling for appeasement:

"If North Korea makes its position clear on its uranium-based nuclear weapons program and announces its willingness to scrap it, that can set the stage for dialogue with the United States,” [shim yoon-joe, head of the north american affairs department in the south korean foreign ministry] said.

so in other words all north korea has to do is put its nuclear program on the table and we start the negotiations. isn't that what north korea wants? isn't that why they are doing all of this in the first place?

slate's fred kaplan is calling for appeasement to put an end to NK's squabbling. we can't fight the war on terror, the war against saddam, and the north koreans, can we? besides, this is all bush's fault:

[the '94 clinton/carter] arrangement, administered by a jerry-rigged but highly competent entity called the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, or KEDO (headed by a U.S. diplomat and staffed by Americans, Japanese, and South Koreans), worked well for a while and even helped relax regional tensions generally. It hit a big obstacle when a North Korean submarine wound up in South Korean waters. It started to unwind when President Bush, upon entering office, made clear he had no interest in continuing this entente. It fell apart altogether when Bush, in his post-9/11 address on terrorism, accused North Korea, Iran, and Iraq of forming an "axis of evil." It crumbled to bits last October when, after much probing and interrogation, American diplomats got North Korean officials to admit that they had restarted their nuclear program.

Who's ultimately responsible for this breakdown is, in some ways, an academic question. Neither side can claim to be purely an innocent bystander or victim. But would it be so terrible—would it really be "appeasement," as many conservative commentators have thundered—to offer a resumption of KEDO, simultaneous with a resumption of North Korea's responsibilities under the Non-Proliferation Treaty? If Bush wants to take control of the negotiations, as opposed to letting Kim define the terms and then manipulate them, he could go further and offer a whole package of economic investments, tied not just to denuclearization but to a gradual opening of North Korean society—which, in the long run, would be in our interests.

let's be clear on something. the north koreans never honored their end of the '94 bargain. they had secretly maintained a nuclear weapons program (what a shock) throughout the nineties and right up until today, the only difference today being that they've dispensed with the hypocrisy (ours, not theirs) of secrecy--a hypocrisy which was useful only to keep weaklings like carter and clinton from being exposed before the american people. that's what those two buffoons bought with reactors and nuclear fuel and oil back in '94: gravitas.

notwithstanding that, our side can claim to be "innocent" (we kept our deals), and the only thing we are a "victim" of is our own stupidity, and we may fall victim to it yet again.

President Bush, in remarks to reporters at his Texas ranch January 2, said he believes "the situation with North Korea will be resolved's a diplomatic issue, not a military issue."

thank God someone still has his head on straight, but then, who listens to paul krugman?

The Bush administration says you're evil. It won't offer you aid, even if you cancel your nuclear program, because that would be rewarding evil. It won't even promise not to attack you, because it believes it has a mission to destroy evil regimes, whether or not they actually pose any threat to the U.S. But for all its belligerence, the Bush administration seems willing to confront only regimes that are militarily weak.

The incentives for North Korea are clear. There's no point in playing nice — it will bring neither aid nor security. It needn't worry about American efforts to isolate it economically — North Korea hardly has any trade except with China, and China isn't cooperating. The best self-preservation strategy for Mr. Kim is to be dangerous. So while America is busy with Iraq, the North Koreans should cook up some plutonium and build themselves some bombs.

good stuff, except that i can't figure out how krugman concluded that the united states won't offer the north koreans aid if they cancel their nuclear program. that seems to be exactly what bush is promising when he speaks of diplomatic solutions, it's just that the north koreans want bush to make the first move and bush wants the north koreans to make the first move. but the bottom line in krugman's analysis is correct: for the moment, the best thing for the north koreans to do is to continue building nuclear weapons.

the delusional clinton and carter believed that we could buy off evil dictators as a long-term solution to a long-term product. the delusional south koreans and sundry journalists (those who aren't too busy howling about the bush administrations hypocritical approach to the north koreans) believe that we should adopt this approach once more. the delusional bush administration seems to agree. but when has appeasement alone ever worked? kaplan points out that the united states had to find a way to allow the soviets to save face before the cuban missile crisis could end, and, indeed, in a largely symbolic gesture, we ended up withdrawing some outdated mid-range nukes positioned in turkey. the analogy is pointless for, as kaplan himself admits, the north koreans are not the soviets. but the main reason--the one that kaplan and every other appease-nik misses--the analogy doesn't hold water is because ultimately it wasn't our concessions to the soviets that won us the cold war, it was our refusal to concede. that's how you deal with communists.

kim's regime is as evil and brutal as they come. in terms of human rights violations it rates with the worst of 'em, and in terms of arms proliferation it is unparalleled. bush did the right thing in his axis of evil speech, when he announced that no longer would the united states discipline bratty children with cookies. it was time to get out the switch. if we start passing out cookies again, the bush administration will lose whatever credibility it has left in asia, and judging by it's pandering to china and its passive-aggressive handling of this most recent asian crisis thus far, it doesn't have that much to spare. the north koreans have behaved up until this point (and not all that well, really) not because of any inherent decency or civility within the kim regime, but because of bribes. naturally they throw a tantrum when the bribes are removed. offer them once more and see what it gets you--not only from the north koreans, but from every other cruel despotism that could use a bit of propping up as well.

whether you agree with me that bush's "axis of evil" speech was a step in the right direction or not, it's clear that he has no choice now but to finish the job he started. the north koreans cannot be counted on to keep their word, and even if they could, the ramifications of reversing course at this point are dire beyond consideration. time for bush to finish the job he started.

locdog doesn't think it's too late



how many things can you find wrong with this quote:

The latest stage of the abortion struggle begins at an emotional time for both sides: Jan. 22 is the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that recognized a constitutional right to abortion.

funny, i don't remember reading anything about abortion in the united states constitution. i don't even remember reading anything about "privacy". i remember reading something like this

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

but i don't see anything in there about abortion being a "privilege" or about any "immunity" protecting abortion. so whence cometh the constitutional right to abortion? at best, the court ruled the fourteenth amendment provided a right to "privacy"--whatever that means--and that abortion falls within these bounds.


that does not make abortion per se something a woman is constitutionally entitled to. if at anytime it could be proven before the supreme court that their "privacy" interpretation of the fourteenth amendment was wrong, or that it was correct but that abortion doesn't fall under its protection, the supposed "constitutional right to abortion" vanishes like a post-saline injection corpse being sucked out by a hoover. to call abortion a "constitutional right" proper suggests that it is specifically decreed by the constitution as an independent right depending on no other amendments for its existence.

which brings me to the second glaring error: the supreme court "recognized" said constitutional right? as if it was pre-extant but had somehow been misplaced. as if between strap-on parties and bra burnings our founding fathers were hard wiring abortion into the constitution, and the '73 USSC just happened to stumble upon it one sunny day a couple hundred years later. i would say that the supreme court "granted" a constitutional right to abortion in one of the most egregious usurpations of legislative authority in american history. not only did they grant (erroneously) a constitutional right to abortion, they then went on to make up all sorts of laws about it: dividing pregnancy into trimesters, saying what could happen in each one, etc.

"no, no, locdog. you've got it all wrong. the constitution doesn't specifically mention abortion, but it's implied by the right to privacy."

right, and now you've just contradicted the whole premise that abortion is, in and of itself, a "constitutional right" or, even better, a "fundamental constitutional right" as i have seen in print here or there.

locdog is fundamentally tired of misleading, ideologically-driven news stories



thoughts about cloning

i've posted on this before if memory serves, but the issue is hot again and other than the news that daschle is running for president (much hilarity will ensue) the day has been slow.

did clone-aid or whatever they call themselves clone a human being? i think not. but if they did, what then?

1. is a clone human in the same sense as you or i?

of course. if i were a naturalist, a person who denies or ignores the existence of the supernatural, i would say that a clone is nothing more than a copy of someone's genes and that, as such, it is as much a person as whoever is being copied is (or, in the case of ted williams, was.) i would further say that, even though the clone would be an identical match to its parent in a genetic sense, it would still be a unique individual since it would experience different environmental factors. biology, i would say, is the sum total of genetics plus environment. the genetics are the same, the environment never could be. in fact, one particularly enticing facet of cloning is the unparalleled facilities it affords one for the definitive nature vs. nurture experiment, well, unparalleled except perhaps for identical twins: nature's own version of cloning.

for a Christian, things are a bit more complicated. while granting the thoughts of the naturalist, there's another level we must explore. human beings, we believe, were each uniquely created by God. we were "fearfully and wonderfully made" and God "knew [us] while [we were] in our mother's womb[s]." sex is a physical process which creates biological life. it cannot create spiritual life anymore than an apple tree could create an orange. it is God, then, Who creates unique souls. would a clone have a unique soul? if God saw fit to give it one, and it is my opinion that He would, the clone would indeed. it would be uniquely human from a spiritual standpoint as much as you or i, and accountable to his or her Creator just as we all are.

2. is it ethical to clone a human being?

no. first of all, the process is imperfect. the considerations in question one preceded as though a clone was really a clone, but we know that errors creep up and the copies are always flawed. no matter how good your copy machine is, there will always be dissimilarities between the document you've scanned and its facsimiles. when we are discussing a human being, these dissimilarities could manifest themselves in premature aging or degenerative disorders or God knows what. progress in the field will be limited by our willingness to sacrifice the health of certain individuals, those we call "clones" rather than "people", for potential rewards perhaps down the road a ways. it isn't coincidental that this clone-aid organization is in fact a religious cult. it would take either a monstrously calloused individual, or one who believed a Higher Intelligence were guiding his path, to sentence a human being to a life of certain physical calamity. i know that some of you are thinking that normal parents who learn of deformities in utero face such choices all the time, but let's be clear: there is a world of difference between coming upon a dog that has been mangled by a car crash and then deciding whether to take it to the vet or end its suffering outright, and mangling a dog in the name of science.

secondly, i, personally, like being a unique individual. i feel an abstract twinge of resentment at the very concept of cloning. cloning a liver or a kidney is one thing, but what if i were an exact duplicate of someone else, produced because their love of self and desire for immortality (the two being the same) demanded that i be another? i would still be unique, whether from the Christian or naturalist perspective, but part of my uniqueness would have been denied me. i don't like that. i deserve a trip to the cosmic body shop, a chance to let the Master Builder have a go at me. if He sees fit to make me a twin, then so be it: at least i had my chance. we've all heard sob stories about mothers and fathers who desperately want a child but have had the door slammed shut with drugs, in vitro, etc. the desire is so great that to fulfill it they'll consign a person to an existence as a blurry photo of a masterpiece. there is a twisted logic that says that since these parents were willing to go through so much to have a child, they would be very good parents indeed. this, to me, is a bit like saying that since a serial rapist goes to so much trouble to stalk and subdue his victims, he would make an excellent spouse. cloning, you see, is a type of rape. it forces a person to exist as an extension of another person's self without ever giving them the least bit of say in the matter. such all-consuming lusts and desires, those willing to risk anything (but always for the child who is to be or the victim walking down the darkened alley, never for the person making the choice) are not meant to be fulfilled.

3. what does God think about cloning?

clearly these are my opinions, and though i'll try to offer them from a Biblically-based world view, i'm not God's spokesperson--at least, no more so than any other Christian is. the Bible is decidedly silent on the issue of cloning, but it is an issue which is rooted in philosophical concepts that are indeed addressed in the Bible, and from those we can--always cautiously and under the banner of opinion--advance.

i don't think He likes it.

first of all, i don't think geppetto would have appreciated it had pinocchio taken the chisel and block from the dollmaker's hands and set out to produce more copies of himself. pinocchio knew better and is, for all his flaws, a noble creature because of it: he sought to be more like his maker.

and then there's Evil. the funny thing about Evil is that it doesn't want evil things per se, it wants good things. sometimes these are very meager goods, like physical pleasures. sometimes they are very great goods, like world peace or an end to hunger. the trick to Evil then is getting good things in bad ways. a cookie, in so far as it goes, is a good thing. it gives us pleasure and, if taken in moderation, causes no harm. Evil doesn't make a child want a cookie, it makes him take a cookie when he's been told that dinner will be served in half an hour and he mustn't eat anything until then. sex too is a wonderful thing. it was God's gift to a perfect creation, but after creation fell guidelines were set up for how it was to be safely enjoyed. Evil doesn't like sex any more than it likes cookies--any pleasurable experience is good to a certain extent--but Evil loves getting people to take sex in ways they aren't supposed to. serial killers, inflamed lovers, and mob bosses all kill for different reasons, be it excitement, justice, or power, and all of these are good in their way. even bin ladens and hitlers and stalins wanted something like justice and a moral civilization, at least at first. after a while, though, a person's heart becomes corrupt and evil is pursued not for objectives which, in themselves, would be very high-minded things, but simply because the evil-doer enjoys it, like the serial killer, or because after a time it is the only way a person knows to escape the new evils his first ones have brought upon his head.

cloning seeks a good thing in a bad way. a child can't understand how anything as sweet and enjoyable as a cookie could ever do him harm. his mother knows that it will give him cavities if he eats too many, that it provides little nourishment, that he shouldn't fill himself up with vanities when sustenance is what's really needed. i think these parents who so recklessly seek children cannot imagine how anything that could be so pleasurable to them, that could fulfill such a great desire (what they perceive to be a need) could ever be wrong. how can it be wrong if it feels so right--the great moral question of our age. but there are ways designed for having children, and if parents can't produce any within the guidelines then they need to either do humanity a real service by adopting, or live childless. perhaps the reason God tells childless couples "no" is because there are so many parentless orphans. who knows. it's not really our place to guess. the point is that there are ways established to get the good thing cloning seeks, and cloning isn't among them. and there are always, always, always adverse consequences whenever we take good things in bad ways. Evil invariably accomplishes the opposite of what it sets out to do.

locdog is glad there's only one locdog, and he's sure you are too



hey canada, you got a problem wit dat?

america the bully. that's how nearly seven in ten canadians believe us. seven in ten canadians believe that we are bullying "the rest of the world."

hey canada, you illiterate, plaid-wearing hose-heads, you know spell the name of your country? c-eh?-n-eh?-d-eh?

hey canada, what did your mommy pack you for lunch today? ooo! beer and moose jerky. that's our favorite. we'll eat your lunch and your momma's note, too.

hey canada, hand over that homework assignment before we light vancouver up like a Christmas tree! it would probably be the first time artificial light was ever shed on your stone-age civilization.

"As Canadians, we take pride in our role as peacemaking and peacekeeping," [canadian strategic counsel analyst michael] Sullivan said.

"I think that that is part of our personality. We take pride in medicare, we take pride in our peacekeeping role. And when we look at the U.S., we don't see those kind of values necessarily reflected."

yeah, your healthcare system is wonderful. it must be great to live in a country with more elk than doctors in it. guess that's why your senior citizens are pouring across the borders for the drugs and treatments they can't get in your crackpot scheme. now excuse us while we sock you in your half-toothless face and ride off with your, now. don't cry. it's so unmanly, eh. just take some viagra and then maybe you could hold on to the next one--oh, wait. that's right. you probably would need to come to buffalo to get it, and you better never show your molson swilling mug in our neck of the woods.

hey, canada, our school kids did a report on your nation. want to hear it?

canada is a big country with a lot of trees and wildlife and mountains and some canadians. it's very pretty. they export many things to the rest of the world, including

1. apathy
2. hockey
3. beer

canada has a rich culture which has produced the mckenzie brothers, alannis morissette, and that monty python sketch where the lumber jack is actually a transvestite. canada has a powerful and advanced military force which rates globally between luxembourg and mothers against drunk driving. they have a bustling tourist industry which is based almost exclusively upon a bunch of water falling over a cliff, but they have to share half of it with us. canada has made many contributions to technology, including computers, nuclear power, electricity, the telephone, the airplane, lunar landings and blue jeans. actually, we made all of that up because we felt bad. in closing, canada is a land for all seasons.

hey, canada. do us all a favor: just worry about the greatest threat to your national security, the stampeding moose and silverback grizzly, and let the big kids worry about dirty bombs and nerve gas and plutonium refineries surrounded by armies bigger than half of your population. it'll be big, bad americans who are taking all the bullets, and it'll be the big bad americans who's women and children will get blown up by some fanatical jihadist if they don't. so please, go back to sleep. if there was anything left on your half of the continent that hadn't been run into the ground, we'd have come up there and taken it--along with your wives and daughters--a long time ago. don't make us reconsider.

as far as locdog is concerned, canada can go--hey! what are you lookin at?



mr. president, i've found some weapons of mass destruction for you

can anyone tell me in what sense north korea is not a greater threat than iraq?

can anyone tell me why it is that we are pouring through a 28 gazillion page pile of steaming crap looking for the faintest shadow of vx or anthrax, when somewhere north of the 38th parallel dr. strangelove brazenly runs amuck?

can anyone tell me how it could be that a nation perhaps a year from nuclear arms is higher on the national priority list than one a few scant months away?

can anyone tell me what sense there is in assuring the north koreans that we seek a diplomatic solution and that we aren't considering military operations against them when the whole reason they are doing this is because they fear our military and want diplomacy?

can anyone tell me why we haven't parked a carrier off the coast of north korea when one carrier alone would probably be sufficient to bomb their nuclear program back to the stone age--to at least have a credible threat during negotiations?

can anyone tell me if by the time we are done dealing with iraq it will be any easier to then deal with a north korea that is in all probability a member of the nuclear club, or how, if they are a member, we will ever get the bomb off of them again?

locdog thinks it's time to forget about iraq and get israeli on the north koreans