Friday, October 04, 2002

Russia's Vote: Well, it's official. Russia's vote on a new Security Council Resolution on Iraq is tied to oil deals.

My position on the whole UN thing is that it is and remains a corrupting process; people are led to believe, by those who are ready to pretend, that the UN support or oppose things on the merits, but that's a pleasant delusion. It's also a harmful delusion.

Now, I'm a realist. I have no major problem with Russia wanting to insure that the contracts they have with Iraq's government, and the interests they have in Iraq will be secured in the post-Saddam era. As long as they play ball, I'm happy to play ball with them (since I have no desire to do ill to Russia's economy, indeed quite the opposite, by screwing with the things they need). But let's cut the bovine fecal matter about the UN being some sacred institution who's approval America (and America alone) must get before we do anything. If we give Russia assurances, we give Russia assurances, but that has nothing to do with the UN, nor is it somehow ennobling to then have them (or France, or whoever) support a resolution, nor does passing these things through the UN somehow transmogrify the arrangements into something sacred and pure.

Russia wants to protect its interests. America needs to protect America's.
Get This Man a Weblog: I wonder if anyone's suggested to Christopher Hitchens that he start an Andrew Sullivan-style Weblog, now that he's no longer with The Nation?

I'd read it. I'm sure I'd fume at as much of what he posted as I'd like (if not fume at more), but it would certainly catch people's attention.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Duel at Sundown: Scott Ott has the scoop on this unfolding story.
Mark Steyn has the Democrat's number on the war debate:
But, taken as a whole, the Democrats' current positions on Iraq form the all-time record multiple-contortionist pretzel display. A week ago they showed signs of finally remembering the First Rule of Holes: when you're in one, stop digging. Instead of talking about why they don't want to talk about Iraq, they correctly figured that the easiest thing would be to give Bush some qualified, perfunctory support and hastily change the subject to something more favourable, such as the allegedly collapsing economy.

But then Al Gore rose from the dead to demonstrate that his political antennae are still as reliable as a 1948 TV with busted rabbit ears. Senate Democrats emerged from their hole to find their 2004 Presidential front-runner had dug them a brand new one. Remember Al? The first Android-American to run for President? The first candidate to win the popular vote without being popular? Al spent his riveting Gore '00 Presidential campaign in a fruitless pursuit for "the real Al Gore," launching a brand new "real Al Gore" every couple of weeks. But, in fairness to the Democratic Party's very own weapon of mass self-destruction, throughout all his multiple personalities Gore has been consistently tough on Saddam, ever since he was one of the few Democratic Senators to vote for the first Gulf War 12 years ago.

Not anymore, though. Last week, Al decided he's against a war with Iraq.
I could keep snipping bits, but it's best to just have you all go read it. Oh, I can't help myself. One more:
The sight of the Democratic Party "wrestling" (as Al put it) with its conscience over Iraq is like some old-time carney freakshow: It's strangely compelling, but you can't help feeling it's cruel to put these misfits on public display.
New Jersey Precident and CFR is the subject of this Internet Party appraisal:
If a party is wary of special interests savaging its candidate, they can just send up a decoy. When the 60-day window closes, they'll be free to plug in the real candidate. He or she will then be protected by the advertising ban. Far-fetched? Just look at the maneuvering going on in Trenton today.

McCain-Feingold is undemocratic and unconstitutional. Mr. Torricelli's hanging Chang problem may actually serve a useful purpose if it exposes another flaw in McCain-Feingold.
The Law of Unintended (or is it intended?) Consiquences with regard to the ramifications of the NJSC's ruling are going to be widespread.
Howard Kurtz writes that
it's surely fair to point out that Tom Daschle and other Democratic leaders were happy to embrace the damaged Torricelli when it looked like he was winning the race, only to treat him as the skunk at the electoral garden party when the polls headed south.
The Carleson race that Kurtz invokes in the column did not, I believe, involve trashcanning Minnesota's existing election laws in order to make the switch.
Andrew Sullivan writes (he doesn't have permalinks for individual posts anymore so there's no point trying to link to the post):
there's a write-in possibility that could be used by the Democrats>
Yes, that's true. Recall that in the Washington, DC Mayoral race, the incumbent and certain winner had to run as a write-in candidate because of some technical problems with the signatures collected to qualify him for the ballot. But no special exemption was made to add his name to the ballot anyhow, even though he's the "major candidate" of the "major party" in DC. Why? Control of the Senate isn't at stake and, dispite the embarassement, he's the shoe-in-of-the-week anyhow. DC's a one-party enclave already, so no need to further rig the system.
Farcical Inspections Regime Hokey-Pokey is no way to deal with Iraq:
Since George W Bush addressed the UN on September 12 about its responsibilities over Iraq, no country has been more heavily engaged in diplomacy on the issue than America. It has rightly concluded that to send the inspectors back under existing resolutions, which carry no deadline for compliance, no threat of military action and make special provision for eight presidential palaces, would simply invite the prevarication at which Saddam excelled in the 1990s. From that follows its decision to make it politically impossible for UNMOVIC inspectors to return to Iraq under the old dispensation.
And Another One Gone, and another one gone, and another one bites the dust.

Sorry to be flip about it, but this is good news, if it pans out:
It was reported that Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a special operation carried out by unidentified individuals, rather than in fighting.

Zawahiri is believed to be second-in-command of bin Laden's al-Qa'eda network and its main financial backer. The United States believe him to be one of the chief organizers of the September 11 terror attacks and has offered a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

There have been previous reports of his death but German intelligence sources claimed in September that Zawahiri was probably still alive and in hiding, possibly near the Afghan-Pakistani border.
We've gotta take the opportunity to be happy about good news. At least I know I need to. Couldn'tve happened to a more deserving guy unless it was bin Laden himself (and that dude is dead already anyhow). Oh, sure, Saddam, maybe. But I'm not one that thinks one bullet constitutes "regime change" in Iraq. One bullet just means his hereditary succession takes over. That needs to be uprooted root and branch, and, frankly, one bullet that makes everyone think the problem has gone away would be counter-productive.
Foxnews Crushes the Cable News Competition Under Its Booted Heel in this uplifting story.
NATO Transformation Needed is the conclusion one reaches on reading this article:
Part of the problem is the yawning gap in military capabilities between the United States and its European allies: last year Washington spent 85 percent more on defence than the other 18 members of Nato combined.

"Military capability is the crucial underpinning of our safety and security," Robertson said. " the real world, the more military capabilities you have, the less you may need to use them."
Of course, the military capabilities of continental Europe are approaching negligable; some half-trained conscripts and a '70s-era military establishment.

Ok, ok; that's a bit harsh and unfair. There are some good units among the forces of continental Europe. But those are hamstrung by their relative small size and even moreso by underfunding and lack of the logistical infrastructure to support operations where they'll be needed on a scope beyond that of France's Ivory Coast expeditionary force.
No Port in a Storm: Well, this isn't going to help keep the world's economy out of a double-dip recession. Yes, I said world's. Goods transported through the ports affects trade and industry in many countries, not just America's.
A Picture Says a Thousand Words: The anti-war alliance; the Western Left finds a partner in Radical Islam:

Democracy's Total War: If you all haven't read my last post from yesterday, I invite you to check it out.

Armed Liberal thinks both major parties are full of hot air and the idea that this represents the rule of law is a farce, writing:
If the law of the land is that we should have a choice on Election Day, why do the courts tolerate the outrageous gerrymandering that creates essentially one-party seats?

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Democracy's Total War: in the ongoing struggle between the defenders of the rule of law and the democratic process on the one hand and those who are seeking any method to insure favorable results for their party, the New Jersey Supreme Court has issued forth a ruling. (Note that the side defending the rule of law and democratic proceedure in this case included the Socialists, Greens, Libertarians, and various others. Not just the Republican Party. See the list of Defendants in the case). In their ruling, the NJSC writes:
The general intent of the election laws to preserve the two-party system and to submit to the electorate a ballot bearing the names of candidates of both major political parties as well as of all other qualifying parties and groups.
Of course, the NJSC is obviously being inconsistent here. There have been, are, and will be races (among every other state in the country) in New Jersey where candidates from both major parties are not on the ballot.

But, more significantly, the NJSC violates its own reasoning in this case: for in the race for the US Senate seat in New Jersey, there are already names on the ballot from both major political parties. There is Forrester, the Republican, and Torricelli, the Democrat. The New Jersey Supreme Court orders Torricelli's name removed from the ballot, so as to allow the New Jersey Democrat State Committee to select a replacement. This thus renders primaries essentially meaningless, to the extent to which this ruling is considered a precedent, therefore the NJSC also contradicts itself when it asserts that
And the Court remaining of the view that the election statutes should be liberally construed to allow the greatest scope for public participation in the electoral process.
But clearly ordering the removal of the candidate who won the Primary for an office so that candidate can be replaced by someone chosen by a Party Committee (what will it be next? A candidate chosen by the Committee of State Security?) does not increases the scope of public participation in the electoral process. It does the reverse. Indeed, it denies the voters the opportunity to show their displeasure towards the candidate who did win that primary, so that someone selected by Party Bosses can be substituted.

In their ruling, their is a total disconnect between the reasons they give and the relief they order. The Court's reasoning to back up its decision is based on the assertion that names of candidates from both political parties should be on the ballot, but no reason is given for why this then demands that a name be removed from the ballot, much less replaced with another. They assert that the greatest possible scope of public participation in the election process is demanded, but they narrow it by vitiating the Democratic Party Primary and ordering that the NJDP Committee substitute someone else. Their ruling itself is internally inconsistent. Based on that one hardly need go beyond that to say that the NJSC has violated the scope of its authority by usurping the prerogatives of the legislative branch of New Jersey and arbitrarily, selectively, and capriciously negating various election laws enacted by the legislature - without giving any reason for doing so or guidance for how this applies generally.

In any case, since the court itself gives no reason for why it orders the removal of Torricelli's name from the ballot and how that relates to its reasoning, then the conclusion one must reach is that they did so for the reason the Democrats wanted Torricelli removed: the candidate who won the Democratic Primary for Senate and therefore was nominated by that party for the General Election was going to lose, and it is unfair for the Democratic candidate for Senate in New Jersey to lose. That is why Torricelli dropped out of the race and requested his party try to replace him with someone else. So intolerable was this prospect that judicial relief was ordered. So another candidate, which they hope will find more favor with the public, will be substituted. Dead Democrats can run for office and win, but disgraced Democratic candidates who are obvious losers must be replaced. This is not a principled legal position; it is a partisan violation of democratic Constitutional procedure. One can tell because it's evident that the NJSC did not attempt to consider the broad ramifications of its ruling in other races, current or future, or even make an attempt to show why the rationales they invoked demanded the relief they ordered (when indeed, as I argue, they are actually violating the reasons they give in their ruling). Their ruling amounts to saying "the law was never intended to keep a Democrat who might lose on the ballot".

See also Eugene Volokh's and Patrick Ruffini's dissections of the ruling.
New Jersey Court to Hear Case of Disgruntled Torricelli Campaign Contributors: Scott Ott is on the scene with a full report.

Hey, don't laugh. Such a case would have at least as much legal merit as the ones the Dems have brought.
If Gore Gave a Speech on the Economy at the Brookings Institution, would anyone care? Seems not. I'd link to the text of the speech (which content consisted of criticisms lacking in substance and proposals lacking in specificity), but asking my readers to read another Gore speech would be like asking them to dig their own graves. So instead I will link to this report of Gore's travels.
More on the Latest Attempt to Rig Elections in Broad Daylight in a lengthy post citing previous legal precedent, the Indepundit debunks one of the arguments making the rounds.

Note, likewise, that this isn't a case where the candidate died or was assassinated. He just decided he couldn't win, and withdrew from the race. The fact that some people are seriously arguing that an incumbent can withdraw from the race, permitting a Governor of his party to appoint a replacement, who will then hold the seat for two years (with the regular, Constitutionally mandated election being cancelled and the Senatorial term for that seat essentially extended beyond the six year duration) is shocking.

By this argument, an incumbent could always choose to withdraw from the race shortly before the election, and the Governor of the state appoint a replacement, canceling the upcoming election. One could easily see, if this precedent is actually adopted and then becomes seen as a viable option whenever a candidate is behind, a rolling series of such antics; there could, under this theory, never be an election again for some offices. The incumbent withdraws from the race, someone else is appointed by the Governor-For-Life, the election is cancelled/postponed for two years. The appointed Senator likewise, when two years has passed, withdraws and a new stoolie is appointed again. Rinse and repeat ad infinatum. Don't anyone write me and say oh, we only intend for this to be a one-time thing, we're not going to do anything like what you describe. Like I trust you scummers. Electing the dead was "a one time thing" too, when Carnahan died. Now it's going on in Hawaii, too.

Avoiding things like what some are planning for New Jersey is the reason we have things like, oh, I don't know, a Constitution that specifies the duration of terms and enabling laws that spell out how elections will be handled. The fact that this kind of idea is floated out there by people as a serious option is disgraceful.

At least there are people like the Indepundit who are able and willing to lay out the rational case for why this is improper. Me, I'm in total fume mode at this point.

I was planning on voting for my State Senator, Jim Isgar, this fall. Isgar happens to be a Democrat. Right now pulling the lever for any Democrat is making me feel like Robert Shaw's character said he felt about putting on another life jacket in Jaws. That mindset will last until the Democratic party is no longer infested by amoral, anti-democratic, unctuous, lawless cretins. At the national level, at least, their attitude towards democracy is beginning to emulate that of the Bolsheviks, and I don't mean that hyperbolically and I say that with an understanding of Bolshevik methods.
Double-Dip Update: according to this FT article, Eurozone industry faces "its second recession in less than a year, as deepening gloom over global growth prospects depresses demand."
Democrats become ethicists only after their man falls behind in the polls as the Wall Street Journal notes:
There's nothing like a polling deficit to turn Senate Democrats into ethicists. Only last week Majority Leader Tom Daschle stumped for his man at a campaign rally in Trenton, telling voters that, "You can't possibly appreciate the job Torricelli does." He was joined by fellow New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, who declared, without noticeable irony, that he had "never been prouder to be on a dais as I have this afternoon with the leadership you've got in the state of New Jersey."
Friggin sleazoids. In case no one can tell, I'm so pissed off I could spit nails. At minimum.
Deal on Iraq Resolution between sounds fine. The thing that would have killed the deal in my mind would have been if the Dems had insisted upon tying it to UN authorization. That doesn't seem, from the AP story, to have happened.

Sure, the Dems wanted and got a resolution far weaker than they gave Clinton four years ago, showing once again their partisan spite (I really don't give a flying fu- er, fig, about having a resolution guys like Leahy are willing to vote for, myself. I'm only interested in a good resolution). But the resolution is one that can be lived with.
The Post Wherein This Blog's Title Is Evidenced

There are times when I regret being a registered Republican. But this is not one of them. I'm so glad I'm no longer a Democrat, what with the spectacle Gore is making of himself, and Daschle's regular dissembling on the subject of - well, everything. But mostly their election-related antics are something anyone who cares about democratic procedure, the rule of law, and the future of the republic as such should find appalling. The fact that many if not most Democrats, including, apparently, rank and file Democrats, who in other situations like these - even (if not especially) when they take place far from our shores - would find attempts to violate democratic procedure deplorable, are sanguine if not happy with the efforts by their party to do so today, in New Jersey (among other places in the recent past).

With few exceptions most seem to be taking this rather calmly, which may be reasonable. But the more I think about the various scheming over the New Jersey race, the more incensed and outraged I get. I refrained from posting anything about it until now, and this is about as temperate a post as I can manage on the subject, because my vexation factor is rising.

Let me know where I go wrong in the following:

1) Torricelli, if one reads his speech and consider the reasons that Dem party politicos got him to withdraw from the race was because he was going to lose. Not because of anything else (he didn't drop out as a result of his behavior, and neither did they get him to drop out when they knew - as they did - the details that came out over the last week). He fell far behind and couldn't
win, so he withdrew from the race. Likewise, those involved all had a remedy earlier in the year that they could have used, in time enough to comply with both New Jersey law and the Federal Constitution. They could have taken the
facts that were known by the Senate, and expelled Torricelli. Instead they tried to keep those facts secret from the voters until after the election (if not longer) and ride it out. They have only found religion when those facts became known to the electorate in spite of their efforts to keep the information secret until after the votes had been cast.

2) They did this so that they could then substitute a candidate that had a better chance of winning (meanwhile, in Missouri two years ago and in Hawaii this year, they're running dead candidates because they think those did and do a better chance of winning. It's at least more plausible that a candidate who has died could be replaced on the ballot than one who dropped out because he
was losing. Democrats used to be satisfied with counting the votes of dead people but now they want people to vote for the dead).

In Hawaii the Republican candidate has
asserted that he asked Democrats to replace Mink on the ballot after she was admitted to the hospital – something that could have been done under state law up until Sept. 26. Instead, he said, Democrats misled the public by stating that Mink was soon to return to her duties.
So what is going on in New Jersey isn't localized, New Jersey politics. It's a nation-wide pattern by Democrats.

3) They are smearing those who believe election law should be followed and that this behavior on their part represents a distortion and manipulation of democracy.

4) They have ventured forth all sorts of wild theories, including not only those by the likes of Hesiod but some - ventured by Democrats far more prominent than Hesiod (elected high officers) - have proposed that the Governor should just attempt to void the election for the office of Federal Senate in New Jersey, after having Torricelli officially resign from the seat, then fill it with someone
of his choice and declare a "special election" (on the same day as the currently scheduled election, perhaps).

5) These theories are supported by a broad swath of major media, which are themselves putting forth these options and doing so in a more-or-less favorable light.

6) The selective invocation of the "right to a competitive election", a newly invented right, which we can see will be invoked only when the Democrat candidate is far behind in the polls and they believe that they will stand a better chance if they replace that candidate at the last minute with someone that the electorate may find more acceptable.

That "right" is clearly selectively invoked, because many Senate races this year have been and continue to be "uncompetitive", and the vast majority of House races are extremely "uncompetitive". Indeed, in many cases candidates are running unopposed. But this "right" is not invoked in those instances.

7) Conclusion: what is going on here is an attempt to subvert the democratic process by a party that controls a branch of government (the Senate) and is afraid to lose it. We normally associate this kind of behavior with third-world

We know that if the shoe were on the other foot, and the Republicans were the party engaging in this kind of activity, contrary to law, it would be treated as the national outrage it is. Indeed, it would become nation-wide with the press harping on the outrage, andd voters would be expected to deal with all of them harshly. Instead, we have calm indifference (even bemusement) from what are supposed to be the safeguards of the Constitutional process of electing representatives.

8) What we see here is a major American party and a wide swath of its supporters evidencing utter disregard for the mechanisms of democracy, mechanisms they, in other contexts, declare pious reverence for, and attempting to put a wrench into the gears when it is clear that the outcome will not favor their side, and rig the results to achieve an outcome more to their liking. This is, indeed, not an isolated event, but part of an increasing and disturbing pattern. This indeed is far worse on the face of it than Torricelli's original infractions. As terrible as those were, the democratic process could survive them. But this is a threat to those very processes, and on a Mughabe-like scale. With the invention of this specious newfound "right" being used as a
rationale, one cannot console oneself with the misguided belief that this will be a one-time deal.

But it's being discussed by many, too many people, as an almost reasonable option (it may have flaws, but it's not the outrage of the week, it seems, much less the year or decade or century, and others find much merit in this because of it's goal-oriented affect: to keep their people in power). The proper reaction to this, I assert, is first, apoplexy followed by discredit upon those who are considering these possibilities and impeachment of any office holder who attempts to carry out any of these plans that are obvious attempts to subvert the process, for violations of their oath of office.

People somehow think that a coup only happens when the head guy is replaced. What does one call this?

Am I just out of my mind and have joined the Black Helicopter crowd? Why isn't this a total outrage to more people? The very idea of it and the fact that it can be pondered and seriously considered by the leaders and members of a major party in a long-established democratic republic? Does the phrase "contempt for democracy" only apply to those who are trying to defend the rule of law against these machinations? They want to ignore the law, ignore precedent, and ignore case law because they stand in the way of getting what they want - as the direction the election campaign itself was taking stood in their way (those darn voters). This, as those who really studied Florida will realize, is nothing new either. It's part of a pattern that is growing with time, not lessening. God Save the Republic should these people ever regain majority control in both houses and in the White House again. They, having experienced minority status for the first time in almost half a century, have found they do not like it. They are as determined as those third-world despots to never let that happen again. That much is very clear. They will let no law, not scruple, stand in their way. And their supporters will back them on this.

Oh, and don't raise the previous behavior of the Republican legislature of New Jersey passing a law affecting the Republican primary in an effort to manipulate things. That was a legislative act, the legislature is entitled to change the law. . .and voters are entitled to punish them for it. Which they did. This is considerably different. It is an effort to ignore the law in order to subvert democratic processes. But I do hope that voters across the country punish those involved.

It would have been legal, and even honest, if Torricelli had simply announced, as alluded to by Instapundit, that if elected he would resign immediately following. Instead he and the Dems have resorted to this other method, which cannot be characterized as anything other than disreputable.

Oh, and one more thing: if these various attempts and proposals for how to subvert the process fail (for whatever reason. They're looking for friendly judges who are, as the Judges the Democrats have come to favor are, willing to ignore the law to achieve liberal goals, but perhaps the thing gets thrown out on the merits at some point anyhow), watch for the Torch to "change his mind" about withdrawing from the race and doing just that: saying that if elected he will resign so that [fill in the blank] can be appointed in his stead. Then [fill in the blank] will essentially run as the real candidate.

Essentially that will be taking the Carnahan extra-ordinary situation and making it a standard practice when it suits and favors them (the candidate need not even die. He or she just need be discredited in the eyes of the electorate close to the election, or fall far enough behind); this wouldn't really, in many ways, be better for democracy but at least it would be legal. In this case it would be despicable even so, because they will do it only if the other schemes they resort to fail.

If we want this kind of politics, we may as well let the Islamofacists win and take us over.

Of course, the fact that I'm no longer a Democrat means I have no method of punishing them by, for example, stopping being a Democrat. That's in the hands of those who are Dems or inclined to vote for Democrats. However, with a few noteworthy exceptions, they seem unfazed by and even like this kind of behavior - when done by their guys (obviously they'd feel far different if the same things were being done by the other side). Which is all the more disturbing and appalling. But aparently many people don't think that the attempt to turn our democratic proceedures into an electorial version of Calvinball is that big a deal.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

In an Article Titled "Iraq drops limits on inspections" The Financial Times concedes:
But the agreement on practical arrangements did not cover inspectors' access to Saddam Hussein's eight presidential compounds
So that means that we're supposed to pretend that Iraq has agreed to everything and the only problem is the U.S.:
it is unlikely to satisfy the US.
Ok. The article's strange mirror-world view continues in this vein:
The deal in Vienna should, in theory, pave the way for a return of UN weapons inspectors to Baghdad after a four-year break.
Break, eh? Kind of like when you're at work and you go to the lounge to rest, only this was more like an extended sabbatical. The inspectors were just taking a little time off to see the wife and kids, that's all. Iraq didn't obstruct them and throw them out or anything. They just needed a break.

Folks who consider this something those annoying Americans and their crass President has provoked but that they'd just wish would all go away are ready to declare victory:
All sites, he said, were now subject to "immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access".
But essentially we're back to the bad old days:
But [Blix's] talks did not seek new arrangements on access to the controversial presidential sites.
Which, of course, are among the more likely areas where research facilities will have been stashed.
Blair's Speech today before the Labour Party Conference has some noteworthy points:
For all the resentment of America, remember one thing.

The basic values of America are our values too, British and European and they are good values. Democracy, freedom, tolerance, justice.

It's easy to be anti-American.

There's a lot of it about but remember when and where this alliance was forged: here in Europe, in World War II when Britain and America and every decent citizen in Europe joined forces to liberate Europe from the Nazi evil.

My vision of Britain is not as the 51st state of anywhere, but I believe in this alliance and I will fight long and hard to maintain it.

I'm not saying we always apply our values correctly.

But I've lost count of the number of supposedly intelligent people who've said to me.

You don't understand the Serbs. They're very attached to Milosevic. No they weren't.

The Afghans are different. They like religious extremism. No they didn't.

The Iraqis don't have the same tradition of political freedom. No they don't but I bet they'd like to.

Our values aren't western values.

They're human values, and anywhere, anytime people are given the chance, they embrace them.
Then there is this, for those who make a fetish out of the UN (which does not include me):
If at this moment having found the collective will to recognise the danger, we lose our collective will to deal with it, then we will destroy not the authority of America or Britain but of the United Nations itself.

Sometimes and in particular dealing with a dictator, the only chance of peace is a readiness for war. . .

And yes what is happening in the Middle East now is ugly and wrong.

The Palestinians living in increasingly abject conditions, humiliated and hopeless; Israeli civilians brutally murdered.

I agree UN resolutions should apply here as much as to Iraq.

But they don't just apply to Israel. They apply to all parties.

And there is only one answer.

By this year's end, we must have revived final status negotiations and they must have explicitly as their aims:

an Israeli state free from terror, recognised by the Arab world and a viable Palestinian state based on the boundaries of 1967.

For Britain to help shape this new world, Britain needs to be part of it.

Our friendship with America is a strength.
There's some other stuff in there that I don't agree with (such as the embrace of the Euro as Britain's future), but he hit made some good points on Iraq, especially for the audience he was speaking to.
Oil Again discussed in this Washington Post article:
The Russian oil executives attending the Houston summit, including some holding contracts with Hussein's government, have been watching U.S. policy toward Iraq with a wary eye. They are concerned that the post-Hussein oil sweepstakes will be rigged against them. They have used a variety of surrogates to let it be known that when Iraq's future leaders award new oil contracts, Russian oilmen want a seat at the table.
Fine, but then they'll have to be helpful, not obstructionist.
John Leo says of West Wing what many of us have known for years. I used to watch West Wing. I don't think I missed an episode - until mid-season last year when it grew too tiresome to stand and I decided I could do better things with an hour each Wednesday.
What Have I Been Saying about today's anti-war protest crowd? That they're the same people mouthing the same things as in the '80s when they opposed Western free-market Democracies? Well, even The Guardian is calling the whole thing another throwback to the heyday of CND. Of course, the difference is that The Guardian means that in a good way.

This is the face of modern "progressivism" - the same thing, over and over again, with no alteration due to changed circumstances.
Of the European Nations, only Britain is truly committed to making contributions to the alliance beyond demands for consultation, complaints, and kvetching. That is again demonstrated by their future plans.

It'll take awhile for the new carriers to enter service (that's an understatement), but it shows their commitment not just to the immediate moment, but for the foreseeable future.
Nelson Mandela Calls Saddam a Racist White Supremacist in according to this AP story, saying:
"I have also said when the secretary-generals were white, we never had the question of any country ignoring the United Nations," he said.

"But now that we have got the black secretary-generals like Boutros Boutros Ghali and now Kofi Annan, certain countries that believe in white supremacy, are ignoring the United Nations," he said. "We have to combat that without reservation."
Now, I don't find myself defending Saddam Hussein that much, but I think this charge is baseless. Saddam ignored the UN even before Boutros Boutros Ghali was in charge. I seem to remember that happening a lot, and not just with Iraq. Indeed, except for Iraq, many countries have been paying more attention to the UN than they did in the past. This is especially true in Europe. But I don't think it's fair for Mandela to single out Iraq for failing to pay more attention to the UN, since not every country has kept up with the growing European sentiment towards that body. It is also most unfair to call it racism. When India, in its conflict with Pakistan last spring, didn't submit the dispute to the UN for resolution and paid more attention to U.S. and European envoys than to Kofi Annan, did Mandela call them aryan supremacists? No. So why is he singling out Iraq for such abuse? Respected world leaders like Mandela should be less careless in hurling around accusations of racism. One would think a man of his experience and background would know better. Yes, Iraq has ignored multiple UN resolutions for years and there is every reason to believe that their offer to let inspectors back in is insincere. And yes, Iraq's assertion that they will not accept any new UNSC resolution on the issue shows their contempt for the UN. But I don't think that makes them "white supremacists".

What's that? He wasn't accusing Iraq of ignoring the UN? He was referring to some other country? Oh, I guess that makes it ok then. Nevermind.
Meanwhile Ed Crane, of the Cato Institute, slams the Republican Party in the pages of the Financial Times.

He makes some good points . . .however. Look, power is important to any party. People who claim their party is "above" such disreputable considerations as holding power and winning elections are either A) self-deluded fools and/or liars or B) Libertarians. If you don't win elections, you can't get anything done. That's a fact.

Now, Ed Crane is closer to a Libertarian. So he has that excuse. But, like I said, he does make some good points. There are essentially two ways to try and win elections. One way is to try and deny the other side issues by doing their things, only on a smaller scale. Compromising in their direction. Along with bringing home the swag in the form of pork and "district projects", this save seats and allow one to hold onto power. But the only reason to pursue power in the first place is in order to accomplish worthy goals. Advancing issues that you don't believe are good and spending cash out of the fisc in order to get people to vote for you doesn't accomplish that. Here, the goal is to convince people you agree with them and will give them the most special benefits.

The other way to pursue power is to advocate your ideas and policies, and put them into practice, in order to convince people to believe your program is the best for the country. This, and only this, is what makes winning worthwhile.

Now, no party that seriously competes with a hope of winning elections is pure in using one of the strategies or another (both Democrats and Republicans try to bury their views on issues that they think people won't like, but both also do make efforts to persuade and pursue their policies with the electorate). It's a matter of degree and emphasis. Right now, unlike Crane, I think neither party is covering itself in glory on this score. Indeed, if it wasn't for the Iraq debate, this election season would likely be dominated by the meaningless and the inconsequential, because neither party is interested in doing anything so controversial as attempting to persuade voters on substantial policy matters (the Dems, for example, want people to think that tax cuts in the face of a weak economy are a bad idea, but that if elected they won't do anything about them. Oh, and harping on Enron, Harkin, and Halburton are not substantial policy matters; they're meaningless and inconsequential, demagogy over substance).

Speaking of meaningless and inconsiquential, I guess it's Jimmy Carter's Birthday today.
Economists Claim that chances of a double-dip recession (such as I expect to happen) are wrong.
The Political Pathology at the Heart of the EU: Colin May says some things I've been harping on myself at every opportunity:
The point is, Europe is now trying to place the blame for a weakening of the international consensus wholly on the US. But Europe is the real source of the problem. And this should not surprise us, because Europe’s political elite, with its left-leaning bias, still regrets the fact that the US finally defeated the Soviet Union. There are many in the ranks of the European Union who were highly sympathetic to the Soviet experiment and are now looking to the EU as a means of extending that experiment in the world. In this regard, the EU is yesterday’s story, throwing around yesterday’s rhetoric against the US. . .

Twice in the last century Europe decided to attempt the overcoming of the nation-state. The results of these experiments were the great tragedies, Nazism and communism. Europe is hell-bent on repeating history. It can only be hoped that this time around it turns out as comedy.
(Link via Instapundit).

Monday, September 30, 2002

More "Routine" military excersises involving Britain and the U.S. are to take place in Jordan next month. Move along. Nothing to see here.
Double Dip Recession news continues to pile up.
The Torch Has Been Passed, as a result of the intervention of corrupt politicos – Clinton and his bagman MacAullife, who made Robert Torricelli an offer he couldn't refuse in order to get the Torch's name on a resignation. AP is reporting he "may" end his Senate bid.

A press conference is scheduled for 4PM EST where he will end his Senate bid, and may even resign. Names being floated to fill his slot on the ballot include previous NJ Dem Senators Bill Bradley and Frank Lautenberg.

Readers will note that neither The Party nor The Torch do this as a matter of principle (the principle that corrupt, bribe-accepting politicians should not be in public office), but simply have resorted to this, finally, in an effort to salvage the Democrat's control over the Senate.

Update: If anyone is confused and believes somehow that I'm wrong in saying this isn't due to principle, ask yourself who gave the Democratic response to Bush's radio address this weekend? Answer: The Torch. Now, these things aren't decided individually. It isn't as it Torricelli got up and took the mic. Nor are these things decided by drawing names out of a hat. They're decided by the party leadership, and in campaign season it's often a gift to people who could use a boost politically. As late as this Saturday, they hoped to help Torch get over the hump.

Note also that the info that came out was known by the Senate leadership as part of the ethics investigation. This whole thing shows that the people who thought that what they were doing is trying to keep this all hushed up until after the election, at which point it would all come out, and then Torricelli would resign (and have the Democrat NJ Governor appoint his replacement) were probably onto something. Once it all came out and Torricelli was seen as politically toxic (this wasn't going to go away), they went with this option. Plan B.

It's also worth viewing this within the context of Harkin's recent troubles, and the efforts there by the Party of Clean Politics to minimize everything and push the matter under the rug.

Update Update: Scott Ott has the on the spot report on Torricelli's replacement.
A Lot of People are all in a tizzy over Bonior & McDermott's appearance on This Week With George "Scoop" Stephanopolous ("Scoop" because he's well positioned to get advance tidbits of info to help out his former employers among Democratic politicoes).

Me, I have to stifle a yawn. Anyone who knows anything about these guys and their antics as far back as the '80s, their boundless affection and PR campaigns on behalf of such lovable scamps as Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega would have expected no different. They were the kind of Democrats that made me cringe and not want to admit I was one back in the day when I considered myself a Democrat.

News is when man bites dog, not when dog bites man.
Then There's This Mark Steyn column which has a long quote of a letter from Eric Tam, with who I have a interesting debate underway.
In the Meantime, readers who want something to check out can take a peek at this article on why "containment" is no longer an option. Folks who haven't read it already can check out Steven Den Beste's recent post on the same subject, which mirrors my own view of the situation (Saddam wants nukes so he will deter us, not the other way around. We aren't likely to defend Kuwait or Amman if doing so would cost us Miami, just as the fact that we had nukes didn't deter the Soviets from going into Kabul. They knew we wouldn't pop one off over that issue).
Posting is going to be light, at least this morning. I've gotta take my car to get a headlight fixed.

In the meantime, no, I didn't get a chance to see The Four Feathers this weekend for the good reason that it still isn't here. Those who read my pre-review know what I think it'll be like. But here is a review that casts doubt on my mutterings. Then we also had Ebert's jabs at the movie (like, you know, it makes the protagonist and his friends too sympathetic! Shouldn't it do more to expose how bad Colonialism is? Why isn't Faversham portrayed as a 18th century Ted Rall/Robert Fisk, questioning what Britain did to make the Mahdi hate them?) that gave me some hope (if Ebert disliked the film for those reasons, then it's bound to be more faithful to the story - which, after all, isn't about politics, but about duty and honor - and not infused with ruinous PC ruminations as I feared).

Sunday, September 29, 2002

More From the Mailbag: Alan writes again:

Your analysis of my last point was extremely cogent. To add a comment: if you saw the German election as essentially a referendum on the Iraq War, the anti-war component of Germany was only 50.01% while 49.9% was pro-war. The pro-war Germans, like approximately 40-60% of the people in other European countries, are totally shocked that Bush has bothered to listen to the European left instead of them. Conservatives in Europe have been losing respect for Bush precisely because he seems to be hesitating and pandering unsuccessfully to the left. Everybody in Europe takes Bush for a simple cowboy but at least half of the public here wants that simple, morally clear cowboy to win the High Noon battle he said he would fight for them.
I think he might be over-estimating the proportion that is pro-cowboy and pro-war, with two "BUTs", first: I'm not in Germany, so it's just a guess. Second, even if it is an over-estimate, and it's closer to 60-40 (60% anti, 40% pro), or somewhere in between, it's an important point for Americans to remember. Opinion in Europe isn't a monolith anymore than opinion in America is. People getting their impression of America from the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, and the major magazines (New Yorker, &tc) would probably come to off-the-mark conclusions if they took what they read there as representative of the viewpoints of most Americans.

As for why Bush listened to the European left, well over in America it is generally the Left that sets the terms of debate (with very view exceptions). So even a guy like Bush is more used to and familiar with that. Internationally, the same seems to be the case; Bush is responding to Left-criticisms from Europe because those were the ones that were being made (there's also the unfortunate effect that one doesn't spend as much attention on those who already support you; you're trying to convince the unconvinced). Since Both major candidates in Germany seemed to play to this same sentiment, I don't find it that surprising that it is this attitude that Bush is responding to.

To be blunt, my impression is that in most European countries what most people think doesn't matter; it is elite opinion that matters. That's certainly how the EU functions. 60% of Germans could have been opposed to exchanging the Mark for the Euro, but they didn't get their way.

Alan goes on:
This morning in Germany's biggest leftist newspaper, the Sueddeutschezeitung is like the New York Times, there was a huge editorial about how the Bush Doctrine was the only concept in the world that offered something for the future: because the leftists have failed to offer any kind of alternative! I was shocked to see such an honest article. The headlines of the newspaper were all about how the new government may have committed election fraud because they are now trying to raise taxes on everything that they previously promised not to raise taxes on. To top it off, the paper now clearly states that the Russians and the French are reluctant to agree to a Security Council Resolution to possibly have war in Iraq because their main oil companies have huge contracts with Saddam and a democracy in Iraq could mean the cancellation of all such contracts.
Where Alan writes "election fraud" I think he means "campaigned deceptively" (in American usage, "election fraud" is a term used to describe things like stuffing ballot boxes, massaging of chads, extending election hours in areas favoring the side one wants to see win, "get out the vote" efforts in graveyards, and multiple voting; what Alan is describing here is not that, it's the practice whereby a politician saying one thing during the election and then breaking the campaign pledge when elected).
Now regarding the delay: This whole thing is why I think there are already nukes hidden in American cities. Its possible that Clinton was just a leftist ninnie in 98 and failed to do what turned out to be our last chance to stop the above from happening. However, I am heartened by Bush's determination to make war happen now. It means that nukes might not yet be present in the USA. It could be that our forces are just waiting for colder weather, so they can wear their chemical suits under their uniforms.
I highly doubt there are nukes hidden in American cities (I think the chance of that is insignificant). I think the reason for the delay is much closer to the later: waiting for good weather. We also will wait until after Ramadan (because we will have some Arab support and they won't want us to go during Ramadan; even though among themselves and when attacking others, the Arabs have few compunctions about fighting during Ramadan themselves, they don't like it when we do, so we'll wait till after Ramadan).

In a later letter, Alan made a point that many Americans would be familiar with (but we're usually told isn't a problem in Europe): few young people have any deep knowledge of history, and it contributes to a naive, airy view of the world. Those who have lack deep knowledge of history as it plays out in these matters apparently includes some of the younger MPs (we have Congressbeings like that, ourselves, so it's not much of a stretch for me to believe that some German MPs may not know too much about the world, either).