Saturday, November 16, 2002

I Didn't Know Anything about Hu, as I displayed in this post. Here's a UPI article that has one take on the new ruler of China. However, apparently we can't forget about Jiang.

That's probably true. In the history of these Marxist-Leninist States (including China), the head guy apparently "retires" from positions but in reality keeps control.

Friday, November 15, 2002


You're Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations.

The United Nations Security Council has just passed a tough new Resolution telling Iraq to give up its weapons of mass destruction and cooperate fully with inspections or face serious consequences. Iraq's government sent you a letter saying they'll comply, but filled with reservations and abuse. Your job is to.
    A) Warn Iraq that they need to cooperate this time without playing games, and stop violating past resolutions, as the new one warns.
    B) Tell the U.S. to not to be mean to poor little Iraq and start laying the table for defining Iraq's violations as unimportant and not worth bothering about in the hopes of lulling the world back to 90s-era somolience on the matter and rescuing Saddam so the deals your European pals have cut with him will remain valuable.
Obviously, the entire point of the UN and "multilateralism" in general is B.
The patrols enforcing no-fly zones have never been authorised by the Security Council.
Because effectively enforcing the resolutions has never been a goal of the UN.
So, Al Gore is going to run on a platform of "I waz robbed" and the kind of health care program that got all of a quarter of the vote in (fairly Liberal) Oregon.

Good luck with that, Al. But I wasn't joking, man. It's obvious.
HFP, in Serious Mode on the "Where's Osama, the War's a failure if we haven't gotten Osama" cries.

I maintain: that dude is dead. It also isn't a big deal one way or another. Personalizing the whole thing to "we're after Osama" has been one of the obsessions of the war's critics, anyhow. Not of Bush or the "hawks". I think he's a gonner, I don't think the impact one way or another on the war is all that great (though of course its nice to have him dead), because it's not about one guy.

Some terrorist members of the Weather Underground weren't caught for twenty years. That doesn't mean they had any greater impact on things, once the movement they were part of was rendered impotent (on the level of violence, at least. More's to be done in the "War on Bad Philosophy" front where that stuff came from, but the members of the Weather Underground who were at large have had no effect one way or another on things for the last twenty years, in spite of the fact that some were in hidding until quite recently).

Then there's James Lileks's views on why Osama isn't appearing on video tapes anymore. In any case, if he isn't dead (that dude is dead), he may as well be dead for all the relevance he has to the outcome of the war.
Speaking of Alliances Made in bizzaro-world.
Terrorist Groups are apparently attempting to recruit Black Americans. CORE is on the case
The meeting between Mr. Innis and Justice Department officials marked the first time since September 11 that federal law enforcement agents have publicly confronted concerns about domestic black Muslims as a national security issue.
"There has been a fear because of racial and religious reasons," Mr. Innis said. "But [many federal officials] have been in denial but this has become a very real danger. And there are signs all over the place.
"If we want to ignore this danger then we are not doing a good job to keep this country safe," said Mr. Innis, who added that yesterday's meeting was "informal" and said he hoped it was a prelude to a conference with Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Mr. Innis said that Justice Department officials at the meeting expressed concerned about the "balance of civil liberties and a national security crisis.
Too bad CAIR's reaction isn't like CORE's when it comes to concern over recruitment efforts by terrorist groups. The Onion's satire drives the point home.
Blair Hits the Airwaves against Saddam, in an address aimed at Iraq's people. Always a good idea. Things like this helped dissident movements in Eastern Europe.

Speaking of which, some are recommending a Reaganite strategy in the War on Terror
Casper Weinberger, chairman of Forbes, Inc. and Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, said that Reagan's moral strength in opposing communism provides a model of how the Bush administration should develop policy to pursue terrorists.
Yah. Similar people as think that "Axis of Evil" rhetoric is counterproductive thought "Evil Empire" rhetoric was bad, too. In fact, in some cases it's the same identical people, having learned nothing from history and forgotten nothing, either. Plus la change
He said that despite the prevailing belief at the time in détente, and even despite strong opposition from within his own administration, family and inner circle, Reagan steadfastly held onto his belief that an arms buildup was an effective strategy to show the Soviets that they could not compete with the United States. . .

According to Steven F. Hayward, an AEI fellow and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco, the lessons of Reagan's determination can shed light on the present day debate over how to defeat al Qaida and Islamic terrorist threats.

"Reagan proved that the simplicity of Ockham's Razor is best applied to foreign policy," said Hayward. Ockham's Razor, a basic principle of scientific research, is translated from the Latin as "The simplest explanation that fits the facts."

He added that Reagan's political and intellectual courage to stick to his guns in the face of overwhelming opposition is comparable to President George W. Bush's strong stance on Iraq and the war on terror in the face of European opposition and domestic criticism of his foreign policy.

"It is a straight line between 'evil empire' and 'axis of evil' and the reaction of our allies has been remarkably similar," Hayward said.
Yah. What he said. But here:
"For politically correct reasons we refuse to analyze our opponents," he said.

For example, Gingrich said that 14 of the 15 people involved in the Sept. 11 terror plot were from Saudi Arabia, but that the United States government has done nothing to address the issue with Saudi Arabia, and that Americans refuse to, "think about what this may mean."
Newt is wrong. Americans have thought and are thinking about what that means. It's the usual suspects - State Department, Academics, media commentators, and many politicians on both sides of the isle - who refuse to think about what this may mean. Or at least they act like they've buried their head in the sands on this one (I think that those called "Hawks" have thought about what this means, and have designed their strategy in such a way as to knock down Iraq so as to be able to make the House of Saud superfluous - killing two nemeses with one blow. That is why the House of Saud, with no love for the House of Hussein, is so adamantly opposed to "regime change").

But the American people? We have thought about what this means, and attitudes towards Saud Arabia have taken a major shift as a result. What is true is there has been a concerted effort to get us to stop thinking about it (usually under the banner of "we shouldn't alienate our allies, why would we want to make more enemies" and rot like that; most Americans have concluded that we're not "making" an enemy where none exists - just recognizing a reality that some would prefer we not recognize; just as so many had an interest during the detente era in trying to head off a recognition of what the Soviet Union was like).
One in Seven Kenyan voters are dead. I'm waiting for the DNC Press Release asserting that this is a Republican plot to suppress the Black vote.
The "Golden Age" of Islam is a myth, writes Robert Locke.

There's certainly something to that. All the genuflection towards Islam is done at the expense of accurate history. Far from treating non-Moslems well in a tolerant society, Islam reduced them to the status of second-class citizens at best (Dhiminitude), as sanctioned by the Koran. This was the period not of peaceful co-existence, but of continually "bloody borders" on all fronts - in Iberia, Africa, Anatolia (Asia Minor), the Caucasus, the Indus valley; this period was one of unending raids and invasions. Enslavement of those who were not "people of the book" was commonplace. These are just the things sanctioned by the Koran. As with all religions, there were those who claimed to march in the banner of Islam but betrayed its tenets.

For example, one of the pieces of conventional wisdom that forms the basis of this argument is "the Crusades", and how Moslems (portrayed in the theatre of multicultural history as the victims of unprovoked aggression) acted in comparison to how the Crusaders acted. Selah ed-Din's benign behavior is contrasted with that of the Crusader capture of Jerusalem and with Richard the Lion-Hearted's execution of prisoners at Acre. But this ignores the devastation Islamic warriors wrought in Anatolia in the period following the battle of Manzikurt, which resulted in the brutal and bloody sack of many cities. It also ignores, for example, the massacre of Armenian refugees outside Edessa, conducted by the soldiers of Islam. It likewise ignores the complex nature of Selah ed-Din's own character - his hands are not as clean, and he was not as pure, as often presented, as a study of the actual history of the period shows.

But all this can be pushed a bit far the other way, too. It's true that Islam was not the noble, tolerant society that many try to portray it as having been, so as to co-opt it for modern-day political causes. But it's also true that by the standards of the period Islam was relatively enlightened, and there is a reason why the Christian chroniclers of the Crusading period romanticize Saladin as much as modern MultiCultists do - there was much to admire in him, and in Islamic society of the period, relative to that of Western Europe (but, on the other hand, Islam was not more advanced and humane than the civilization of Constantinople).

The thing is, Islamic civilization didn't progress much from these days, while Western Europe did (and Byzantium was destroyed, by a combination of Western European and Islamic assaults); so we look at Moslems enslaving Christians and Animists in Sudan, for example, and see them as relatively backward, but really things haven't changed on that frontier for at least fifteen hundred years. Yes, there are periods of peaceful cohabitation, but alternating with periods of aggression and exploitation. There are within Islam's frontiers some relatively benign governments (Jordan, maybe. Though benign in a tough-minded kind of way) and some not-so-keen ones. This is not a change or regression from some golden period. It has ever been thus. The only difference is that the rest of the world has moved beyond that.

Is this a harsh evaluation? Even unfair in some respects (probably a bit - it's a short synopsis, not a book length treatment). But the ruthless sack of the city of Amorium in the early 9th century by the Caliph, the execution of many of its inhabitants and enslavement of the rest, is as much a part of the middle ages "golden age" of Islam as the scholarship sponsored in the Caliph's Court.
Europe Apparently Believes the UN Resolution is a win for Saddam and a loss for Bush:

Matters become more complicated when we see that there are many, including some leading figures in Europe, who would rather trust Saddam than Bush. There are many more who, in this age of political correctness, insist on the moral equivalence of the Ba'athist regime in Baghdad with the American "Imperialism."
Since Europe pushed for the Resolution, and Europe (France) thinks its a victory for them, then what does that say about who they're ally in this is and who they are treating as an enemy to be defeated?

Amir Tahiri writes:
What if Saddam's cooperation is only 50 percent? Would the resolution become redundant, opening the path for military action? Certainly not. You can imagine the chorus of the French, Russian, Chinese and others in the council insisting that Saddam be given one more "last chance." In fact, at least 18 of the previous resolutions dealing with Iraq include clear "last chance" clauses. Saddam has been living with a series of last chances since 1991.
I fully expect that this is exactly what will happen.

Here we are, constantly told how "hurt" Europe feels in our growing attitude (recognition of) towards their behavior, as if they aren't our allies. They insist, loudly, that the man they sign commercial deals with is no more liked in Europe than America - they just want it to be handled multilaterally. They view the use of the UN as a victory for them. . .but also a victory for Saddam and a defeat for Bush. Something they wanted, badly. Then they wonder why we ask ourselves "are these guys allies? Or enemies?"

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Yah, CNN, the New York Times, Bob Scheer's LA Times, the Washington Post, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Katie Kuric, Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, MSNBC (especially Donahue and Chris Matthews) even TV shows like The West Wing are all part of a Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy to screw over the Democrats. Money from wealthy foundations go to fund PBS to keep guys like Moyers on the air to help foster the Right-Wing media bias. Ed Driscoll is so wrong. Even the major Universities are all in bed with the Republicans, helping them spread their Right-Wing views (they do it, as Vidal might say, because they get research grant money from wealthy interests in exchange for their co-optation into the Crypto-Fascist Opinion Network).

How do they manage that? Well, by being agent-provocateurs. Double agents. Look at what Howell Raines has done to the New York Times! All those columnists and all those front-page "news analysis" pieces that present a version of Liberal and Democratic opinion that is so laughable that it discredits the cause it purports to serve. The sloppy inaccuracies supposedly aimed to skew things to "help" the Liberal cause but get punctured when the truth comes out. It's all part of the Conspiracy to keep the Democrats down, man.

But it goes farther than that. Look at elected "Democrat" officials, who are really molls for the Republicans. Rich guys like Ted Kennedy (remember, back as far as the '50s, when Kennedy's were friendly with Nixon. Yes, that Nixon. Tricky Dick. and with Herbert Hoover) who discredit arguments against vouchers by sending their own kids to private schools. Guys like Al Gore and Jesse Jackson who do likewise. All playing their part in the Conspiracy, discrediting Democrats.

There's a reason, man, why the Democrats keep a guy like Terry McAulliffe in charge of the DNC, in spite of the fact that his corrupt business history completely undercut Democrat's efforts to strike a blow against Capitalism. Likewise with Al Gore's prominence - and his family's history with Occidental Oil and the riches they derived from their dealings with Armand Hammer (Soviet spy), which made it hard for his charges of Bush's oil connections to hit home. And why do you think the House Democrats elected Nancy Pelosi as Minority Whip when everyone knows that it's only going to make it harder for the Democrats to shake the Republican's propaganda of the Democratic Party being too Liberal for America and Harold Ford would have been better at reaching out to independent voters?

They're part of the conspiracy, too. See, it all fits together, man! It's a vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Or maybe it's that the people have a conservative bias that somehow gets through all the static of Liberal leaning media bias? No, can't be that. . . .
One of the More exasperatingly untenable but tenacious arguments put forward by the so-called "anti-war" movement is that al-Queda and Saddam could not possibly be in league because his regime is secular while they are religiously motivated. Set aside the fact that this ignores the "strange bedfellows" alliances of convenience that are all too common in history, as well as Saddam's deliberate embrace of Islamic radicalism over the last decade (coincidental to the rise of al-Queda over the same period). These people often argue that al-Queda would love to see Saddam toppled, but set aside the fact that they are never able to point to any evidence of that. Sure, we have evidence a plenty of al-Queda's hostility to the House of Saud, in the statements they've made, and other Arab governments (especially those that participated in the first Gulf War coalition). But they never point to any statements calling for Saddam's regime to be toppled, the way they call for other Arab regimes (the ones that cooperate with America and the West) to be toppled. Likewise set aside the fact that both Saddam and al-Queda discovered that invoking the plight of the Palestinians would be useful to them rather late and nearly simultaneously. Set aside the fact that even though Saddam complains of a shortage of critical medical supplies, Baghdad seems to be the destination of choice for al-Queda leaders seeking medical care.

But set all that aside and look just at the demands made by al-Queda and how they have invariably been consistent with the goals of Saddam, and Saddam's interests (U.S. out of Arabia, toppling of the governments in the region, end of sanctions on Iraq and other assaults on Iraq's "dignity", etc).

The latest tape, whether it came from bin Ladin or not, it is definately from al-Queda. This tape continues this pattern of al-Queda making demands that are strangely similar to Saddam's:
the new tape -- on which bin Laden praises the recent terror attacks and threatens more if the United States goes to war against Iraq
If al-Queda hates Saddam as much as they hate the House of Saud, say, then how come al-Queda's demands and threats are consistently aligned with Saddam, if they are supposed to be hostile to him?
Allies Give Nod to discontinuing oil gifts to North Korea.

Whew. That means we won't have to pay for it anymore. I'm glad they allowed us to stop. It was quite gracious of them.
Now that Pelosi is Minority Leader, the Democrats have a major advantage on at least one level.

The party of equality is always very ready to cry foul when someone engages in the usual hardball political battling against one of theirs - "beating up on a woman". Remember what happened in the New York Senate race. They'll play that card quickly, in cases where no one would raise any objection at the tactics used against a Gephardt (D) or Armey (R).

Underhanded and dirty? Well, its a tactic and if it works, it works. Politics is often about going for the other side's balls (which is why this tactic will be used against Republicans) if it gives one a political advantage. There's certainly no rule against it. Republicans will just have to learn how to deal with it. And the electorate will have to learn to roll their eyes and say "puh-leeze" when they pull the "beating up on a woman" card, like we do with so many of the other spurious tactics used by both sides to gain a non-substantive debating edge.
Hiding My Failures by posting mia culpas for them late in the day. I've been saying that I think Harold Ford would end up getting the Whip job. Seems that I was wrong (scroll way, way down; it says Steny Hoyer is going to become Minority Whip).

Now, Hoyer is a ok guy. But. . .

I guess I said I thought Ford would become Whip because I knew he wouldn't win the Minority Leader post, but he's a good dude who, IMO, represents a positive future for the Democrats and they would have done better by themselves to put him in a significant leadership post - such as Whip. Hoyer is a fine enough guy. But I'm not sure anyone can look at him and say he represents a positive future for the Democrats. He's a good old school dealer.

Now, yes, I was wrong. Ford won't become Minority Whip. But at least I didn't pull a major boner, like claiming he'll use the failure of the Democrats to elect him Minority Leader and their choice of someone he (rightly) sees as representing a wrong direction for the Party as an excuse to switch. That ain't gonna happen - if only because Ford doesn't envy the idea of being called a "Tom" and having oreo cookies handed out at his appearances. But there's more to it than that. Ford's a Democrat, a moderate Democrat, and a very good Representative. One thing he's not is a nacient Republican.
How UN Approval is Won
Sure, it would be nice if the nations of the world, as represented on the Security Council, had concluded that Saddam is a repugnant and vile dictator who must be kept from further brutalizing his subjects and his neighbors. But that's not what happened. We bought the votes of most of the Security Council members, and they were for sale precisely because these countries are incapable of looking beyond their own narrow self-interests — not because they transcended them. Cameroon cares far more about trade concessions from the U.S. than it does about who sits on the throne in Baghdad. Does any U.N.-loving liberal really believe that Cameroon went along because our cause is just — because the glorious spirit of human cooperation and global harmony filled the air at the U.N.? Well, then, read a frickin' newspaper.

And I don't mean to pick on Cameroon. By pleading for U.N. approval, the no-blood-for-oil crowd increased the international trade in both blood and oil. In order to get the votes of Russia and China we had to give those countries a free pass at killing their Muslim Chechen and Uighur populations, respectively. We also had to promise the continuity of France's oil contracts, and of Russia's too. Whether these countries think we're right about toppling or containing Saddam is something of a mystery; what we do know is that they don't think our case is compelling enough to trump their own narrow self-interests. If it were, we wouldn't have had to spend the last couple of months haggling over what happens to Iraq's debt to Russia or France's oil contracts. Right? I mean, if the U.N. were half the thing it ought to be, our U.N. partners would have dropped those concerns the way Cincinnatus laid down his plow. And if the United States is as wrong and selfish as the anti-war crowd says, then the rest of the Security Council are just a bunch of whores willing to do the wrong thing if we pay them enough.
-Jonah Goldberg. He's also spot on about why the UN's champions don't seem to let the fact that dictatorships and kleptocracies are among those we're defering to:
Maybe this is because there are almost no white and certainly no first-world dictators anymore, and black, Asian, and Arab tyrants simply don't count in the eyes of the multicultural Left. In fact, I would bet that if you polled the average fair-trading, organically grown, earth-friendly, living-wage-paying coffeehouse in Seattle, or the typical opened-toed-shoe-wearing protester at an anti-globalization march, asking "Who comes to your mind when you hear the word 'dictator'?" you'd get more George Bushes than Mugabes, Assads, and Jong-Ils combined.
Which, on the basis of available evidence, is certainly a fair point. Also, since in a previous exchange I had, a comparison was made (not by me, mind) with how elected officials accountable to the citizens act and how the UN acts, this point should be stressed, too:
People from all across the political spectrum often make the argument that members of our own Congress are inclined to make back-room deals that serve the narrow interests of their parties and themselves. The Naderites consistently harp on how citizens are locked out of the process. "Republicrats," according to this view, split the spoils and leave the rest of us holding the bag. Obviously, these arguments aren't completely worthless, but they are usually overblown, since our politicians have to deal with fair elections and an aggressive free press. . .

. . .The representatives of the Arab nations — not one of them a democracy with a free press — do not represent the interests of their people. They represent the interests of the corrupt governments who sent them there. So in this sense, the U.N. is not an arena for democratic debate. . .
All too true, and not something that reasoning people would brush under the carpet and elide over in evaluating whether deference to these "multilateral institutions" is a positive thing or a corrupting thing.
Check Out this this Instapundit post on Iraqi soldiers drilling in preparation for invasion, if you haven't seen it already.
South Korea is in governmental confusion over the U.S. decision to suspend gifts of oil to North Korea.

Well, if, when they make up their mind, they decide that giving oil to the North should continue, then they can pay for it. That sounds like a fair compromise. Now, I know that's not the way things work in the world. The way things are supposed to work, so many people believe at least, is that we consult with our allies, they decide what should be done, we pay for it. The idea that if we think giving oil to North Korea as part of a deal the North Koreans aren't honoring is no longer a good idea, but if Japan and South Korea decide that oil gifts to North Korea should continue, that they should go ahead and pay for it would never cross anyone's mind.

Now, I know they haven't come to that conclusion, yet (they're still "consulting"). But the point remains. If they disagree - and apparently they do but they're not sure how to go about convincing us of their position - then the reasonable thing for them to do would be to say "ok, you don't want to pay to give oil to North Korea anymore. We understand. We think it's in our interests that oil gifts continue, though, so we're going to take over paying for the program."

Like I said, yah, I know, I know. Not how this world works. We pay, they get credit for being the generous countries, and we get the scorn. That's the deal. Learn to love it.
The Wall Street Journal doesn't think Thune should have thrown in the towel in South Dakota:
If nothing else, a recount would have put on the public record the dubious details of how he lost, if that's the word for what happened. Under state law the close margin entitled him to a recount, and these have been common in South Dakota's closely fought elections. Democrats Tom Daschle and George McGovern both used them to secure victories to Congress.
I have noticed that while Republicans such as Thune and Ashcroft try to avoid wrenching recounts and rather graciously conceed, Democrats have not done the same.
Canadian Scientists raise doubts about the merits of the Kyoto Treaty:
A group of leading Canadian scientists joined the clash over the Kyoto Accord Wednesday, urging the federal government to delay its ratification.

The eight researchers say they have identified key flaws in the science supporting the Kyoto protocol and offered new evidence that disputes the Canadian government's position on climate change.

Among the "myths" researchers say are spread by Kyoto proponents: that humanity is the primary cause of global climate change, that computer models reveal catastrophic warming in the future and that climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate.
Well, that won't stop anyone, either.
The "Imperialism!" Argument, as James Holmes writes in the Boston Globe, is weak and hollow:
witness the use of ''imperialism'' to describe everything from whacking Saddam Hussein to opening a fast-food joint in Paris.

Any word that elastic has no real content. . .

What the opponents of war with Iraq really object to is American power and the willingness to use that power abroad - not to imperialism in any meaningful sense.
That won't stop us from hearing a whole bunch of invocations of the concept of "imperialism", no doubt. Truth and accuracy can't stand in the way of a good polemic.

The Message the Democrats Send to Voters George Will writes that:
Actually, the party's message, frequently communicated with ruinous clarity for five decades, is condescension toward the American people.

When a supporter gushed to Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, that all thinking people supported him, Stevenson replied, "Yes, but I need to win a majority." Michael Barone, the most astute student of modern politics, considers it inconceivable that FDR would have thought, let alone said, such a thing.
Yah, I remember from Uni Stevenson was still an icon to the cognocenti, who would quote that line approvingly.

On the other hand, I remember my mother telling me about Paul Soglin's first race for Mayor in Madison (this was back when he was a hippy; he later became Mayor again as a pro-growth Democrat) - his opponent, the sitting Mayor (IIRC a Republican), who's name slips my mind said "all the decent people of Madison will vote for me" (against Soglin). Of course, he lost too.

Will goes on:
After Britain's Labor Party was demolished by Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 general election, an undaunted Laborite vowed, "No compromise with the electorate." That can be the rallying cry of Pelosi Democrats.
Took Labour a long time to recover from that. They eventually did, but it took them awhile to get over it, and it involved making some shifts (some cosmetic, some real) under Tony Blair - shifts that far from all Labour MPs are happy with to this day. But they won two elections after being decisively rejected for so long.
NEA's Impact on Democrats policies comes from cash, but also from "in kind" contributions that go under reported.
All This Talk About Pelosi has overshadowed the (not unexpected) rise of DeLay. DeLay could easily become the next Gingrich in the news media - he would, if it wasn't for the fact that the Republicans are led by Bush, not the House Majority Leader.

DeLay is a big, fat target, even if he has his merits.
Greenspan Supports tax cuts. Naturally, since he knows something about economics and pro-growth policies.
Al-Queda Prisoners finding a home not all that far from me. Same state, at least.
Our French allies. German, too. Given the "hurt feelings" some, like the letter writers Steven Den Beste has been responding to, have been expressing, while apparently seeing no problem in the near continuous and ad hominem criticism of America in their own countries.
The Real Reason why Osama only releases audio, with no visual tape anymore.
Bush Takes On the Falwells of the world.
A Good Platform For Either Party, but the Republicans would be wise to sieze the opportunity they have. If they don't, perhaps (after thirty or fourty years) the Democrats will.

(Via Instapundit).
Iraq Unconditionally Accepts UN Resolution! Same as two months ago! Yay! It's all over! The multilateral anti-war crowd was right! Iraq will cooperate with inspectors!

Or maybe not.

Oh well.
Fisking Blankely: Tony Blankley wrote a column describing what the Democrats should expect now that they're in the minority. It needs a Fisking.
In the early 1990s, when I was Newt Gingrich's press secretary before the Republicans took over the House, I once complained to the chief congressional correspondent of the New York Times that they never covered our legislative proposals. He explained that because our legislation would never get out of committee, let alone get passed on the floor of the House, it wasn't news.
Oh, so that was their excuse, eh?
Our political activity might get coverage, he offered.

I didn't like that definition of news then, and I still don't. If the major media wouldn't cover the opposition's legislative proposals between elections, how could the public make a rational choice at the elections?
Watch the New York Times guy you talked to agree with you. . .now that it's the Democrats who are in the minority.
But there is a hard wisdom in his tough advice. The House Democrats should keep that in mind this week as they plan for the next two years.
What universe have you been living in the last three decades that makes you assume that the news media will be consistent and treat the House Democrats the same way they treated you? Are you crazy?

Skipping ahead a bit
Thus, while the majority party gets fairly detailed coverage of its legislation, the media tends to portray to the public only a cartoon version of the minority's bills and leaders. Due to the media's liberal bias, this principle of news coverage plays harder against a Republican minority party. But it still applies broadly to a Democratic minority party.
Here's how it's going to go: they'll give detailed coverage of bills when they think it helps the Democrats, and the cartoon version they'll publish, when they go that route, will leave out aspects that the public wouldn't like. This will be quite the reverse of what they did to the Republicans - the cartoon version harping on negative aspects (and creating them when they weren't there).
With this in mind, I think it is likely to be a long and regrettable two years for the House Democrats under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi.
Yah. I can feel the concern you have for the Democrats all the way out here in flyover country.
the overwhelming media characterization of Nancy Pelosi has been: liberal. Both she and her party are already highly defensive of this title.

Mrs. Pelosi's feeble response has been: "When people describe me as a liberal I always say, "Well, I guess you could describe an Italian-American grandmother that way." She could hardly duck the liberal appellation.
I wonder what Armed Liberal thinks of folks on "his side" who try to hide what they are. Lots of people think "whatever it takes to get ahead", but I donno. . .
Perhaps the most bizarre effort to deflect her extreme liberalism can be heard from her liberal supporters. Last Friday afternoon, within hours of each other, Congressman John Conyers (the left-wing black caucus veteran) and Eleanor Clift (my liberal colleague on "The McLaughlin Group") both said Mrs. Pelosi wasn't a liberal because she was on the Intelligence Committee.
Pelosi holds the Ron "Red" Dellums Chair on the Intelligence Committe. Of course, he wasn't a Liberal, either. He was a hard-line Leftist. Perhaps when Clift and Conyers say she's not a Liberal, they mean she's not a Liberal in the same sense Dellums wasn't Liberal and Bonior & McDermott aren't Liberal. Of course they're not.

But it's interesting. I wonder if a Republican Congressman (say, Henry Hyde) and a Conservative commentator (say, Ann Coulter) both on the same day said something that just presumed that no Liberal could possibly serve on the Intelligence committee ("X is on the Intelligence Committee, and thus X cannot be Liberal") what the reaction would be. I guess this is Amonic Politics at work.
That seemed like a non sequitur to me, but apparently, true liberals think that a true liberal couldn't possibly be interested in Intelligence and the national defense (or perhaps they think a true liberal couldn't be trusted with state secrets).
Are Conyers and Clift questioning the patriotism of Liberals? *Porphy dons his best Tom Daschle impersonization* That's Outrageous. Outrageous!
If that is what liberals think of themselves, they shouldn't be surprised if about 70 percent of the public share those suspicions.
They need to start listening to AL and stop feeding the dark side of what Liberalism has become since the New Left transformed the Democratic Party. They need to recapture the spirit of Truman and Kennedy (not Ted, John. And not the distorted, propaganda-image of Kennedy created by the likes of Oliver Stone, but the tough-on-defense and pro-tax-cut JFK of reality, who was also strong on Civil Rights without being PC. No one back then would assert that because one was on an Intelligence Committee one could not, by definition, be a Liberal).

    Those were the days.
    And you knew where you were then.
    Watching shows like 'Gentle Ben'.
    Mr., we could use a man like Sherrif Lobo again.

    Disco Duck and Fleetwood Mac
    coming out of my Eight Track.
    Michael Jackson still was black.
    Those were the days. . .
Chechen Freedom Fighters kidnap two red cross workers. Everything is justified by The Cause.
Fairly Good economic data.
King of the EUnuchs: just in case readers happened to miss this post, which I made "after hours" last night. I also posted this in Ranting Screeds After Hours.
Making Sport of Foreign Names is a bit unseemly, I know. But Hu's on first in China. Who?

That's what I said. Hu's on first in China. That's what I'm trying to find out. Who is the guy leading China?

Hu. That's who.

All I want to know is who is the new ruler of China.


Yes what?

Yes. Hu is the new ruler of China.

(I don't know anything about this guy, either).
Student Unrest in Sudan, in opposition to the regime, seems to mirror what is going on in Iran (different precipitating causes, but similar basis).

You know, so many of the usual suspects told us that the "War on Terror" would strengthen these regimes, causing the people to unite behind them in opposition to "U.S. bullying". That hasn't happened. If any thing, these regimes continue to get weaker.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Oh, Bastion of Justice and Human Rights, constantly condecending on the American justice system. We have this from the political arm of the Guardian (that is, the Labour Party). I commented briefly on the goings on yesterday. But the Torygraph hits home:
There can surely never have been such a comprehensive attack on the liberties and safeguards of the British legal system as that outlined yesterday.

The curtailment of trial by jury, the admission of hearsay evidence, the abolition of the protection against double jeopardy, the proposal that previous convictions might be revealed to juries before they consider their verdict; the combined effect of these measures must be radically to rebalance the scales of justice in favour of the state and against the defendant. . .

The irony is that all this is being proposed by a government that constantly trumpets its commitment to human rights.
No doubt we'll continue to read more lectures in the pages of the Guardian on the one hand while on the other they push Labour's radical agenda for England's judicial system on the other.
Ordered eh? Well who does 'e think 'e is? 'eh?

I am your king!

Well, I didn't vote for you!

You don't vote for kings.

Well, 'ow did you become king, then?

The Lady of Brussels, her arm clad in the thickest red tape, held aloft the Euro, from a pool of regulations, signifying by bureaucratic fiat that I, Pedro Solbes, was to carry the Euro. That is why I am your king!

Listen, strange bureaucrats lolling around Brussels distributing appointments is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from farcical bureaucratic appointment!

Be quiet!

Well, you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some bureaucrat threw the Euro at you!

Shut up!

I mean, if I went around saying I was High Commissioner for Speech Regulation just because some bureaucratic cabal handed me a Big Book of Forbidden Speech, they'd put me away!

Shut up! Will you shut up!

Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!

Shut up!

Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help! I'm being repressed!

Bloody peasant!

Oh, what a give-away. Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about. Did you see him repressing me? You saw it, didn't you?
More on the Modest Proposal front. Martial has one. Oh, what a brave new world we live in, to produce such opportunities as these!
Oh, and By the Way, I don't play golf, either. But my interest in liberty extends beyond that which directly affects me in any obvious way, because I recognize that if they get Hootie, however objectionable people might find Augusta National's practices, it will eventually come back and bite me, too. Even if I never play golf and even though I don't aspire to join Augusta.
I Have a Personal stake in not seeing everyone at a Packer's game get ticketed. Not that I get to go to any games, but still. Fan solidarity!
EU Encourages African Governments to spurn Genegeneered food or lose Europe as an export market, while Africa starves. And the EU is a moral paragon to look up to, leading the world in principle.
Europeans: Wrong, according to US Diplomat, who has quite a list. He also adds what I likewise add, "Whenever I use the word Europeans, I don't mean the Brits.". The list of European prognosticatory failure is impressive:
"They told us they could fix the Bosnian mess all on their own. Wrong."

"They told us the Russians would never accept NATO enlargement. Wrong."

"They told us that the Russians would never accept National Missile Defense. Wrong."

"They told us that if we withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 the whole structure of international arms control agreements would come crashing down. Wrong."

"They told us that the Kyoto Protocol was a good and worthwhile treaty, more than just cosmetics. Wrong."

"They told us that the European Union's new common security and defense policy would improve the military abilities of the NATO allies in Europe. Wrong."

"These were also the people who were wrong about Ronald Reagan and the Evil Empire, the same 'friends' who helped vote us off the United Nations Human Rights Commission. These are the people who whine about our Farm Bill when they are the world's prime protectionists. They are not just repeatedly wrong; they are also a bunch of hypocrites. So why should we pay attention to a single thing they say?"
Finally, a State Department Official saying something sensible.
Iraq has accepted the UN Resolution, as I predicted. The only thing is I thought they'd drag it out until the Friday deadline. They're still claiming they have no WMD programs, so they're hosed.

Anyhow, lest the usual suspects start claiming credit where credit isn't due, as Jay Nordlinger wrote the other day:
Remember, too, that the only reason the U.N. and the “doves” have come this far is that Bush has forced it: with his hard line. Liberals always forget this, or choose not to learn.
Too true.
Iraq's Objections to the UN Resolution are widely scoffed at. Well, that's good news, at least. If we start hearing noises about how we need to listen to Iraq and accomodate their sensitivities, I'll get much vexed.
Cal Thomas says Pelosi's selection as House Minority Leader will be a win for the GOP. Harold Ford will make a good Whip (he'll end up with the Whip job, as I said last week), though, and my guess is that he'll be on-air at least as much as Pelosi will. So don't get cocky.
Anti-Semitism on parade.
That Dude is dead. Lets see video tape.
Reparations: John Ray has one solution.

I've always thought the so-called "Reparations" movement made a mistake in concentrating on reparations for slavery. Probably a deliberate mistake (they know that cannot really be satisfied and is bound to inflame racial grevances and antagonisms without reaching a solution). But what if they had instead concentrated on recovering damages for living victims of Jim Crow? Many people who lived under Jim Crow segregation are still alive - as are a number of the people who implemented it (Fritz Hollings, a Governor during the waning years of Jim Crow, is in the Senate, to name one example) thus satisfying one of the objections people like myself have to reparations-for-slavery (no one who owned a slave is still alive, no one who was a slave is still alive).

Whatever else one thinks of reparations in general, the reparations that went to the Americans of Japanese decent who were interned during WWII went directly to the individuals affected. People denied their Civil Rights (properly understood) received compensation for damages.

A real reparations movement, aimed at truly addressing something that can be remedied, would concentrate on this, not on reparations for slavery. But, again, their is a reason why this obvious tactic was not the one taken - why they are instead concentrating on claims that cannot be satisfied and serve only to perpetuate racial divisions.
TV as a Human Right according to these wackjobs. Sounds like someone needs to read the Bill of No Rights.
Meanwhile, Putin Had some some excellent advice for one of his French friends.
Britain Would Be mad to join the Euro:
What political courage is Europe showing? It has two recently re-elected leaders, which would normally be counted an immense advantage. I feel sorry for Gerhard Schröder: Germany's 2002 election, like Britain's in 1992, was definitely one to lose. Like John Major then, Mr Schröder is a tactician and a trimmer. He faces heartache and, I fear, bitter failure.

In France, Jacques Chirac has been doing his best to sabotage the country's successful disinflationary economic policy. Now we are supposed to praise him for projecting France's glory in the world. I admire the French president's pork-barrel brilliance in keeping the Common Agricultural Policy going, but I hope that Tony Blair is longing for revenge.
But set asside the politics of it and all look at what the Euro doing for Germany, France, and Italy economically, amid fears of a double-dip recession in Germany. Britain, outside the Euro, has much better prospects for an economic recovery.

If the Euro is such a great deal, absolutely needed if the EU is going to prosper, then why are countries doing better outside it than inside it?
Blair's Labour Party, which (rightly) comes in for a lot of praise over here for their stalwartness in the War on Terror and steadfastness on Iraq, has a domestic programe that is not so praiseworthy. Among their goals is begining to undo the prohibition against Double Jeopardy:
It will, for "very serious cases", allow for a reversal of the double jeopardy rule. which prevents anyone being tried twice for the same crime. This is expected to apply in murder, rape and armed robbery cases.
I can imagine what Labourite organs, such as the Guardian, would say if Bush and Ashcroft were to make such a proposal. Meanwhile, Winter of Discontent II looks like farce so far.
Martha Burk is making a play for prominence, in her assault on Freedom of Association (targeting, this time Augusta golf course. if successful, she will probably emulate the tactics of Jessie Jackson and shake down other organizations using similar methods. Augusta is a fairly easy target - that's why it got picked first).

Given her bid for prominence, it would behoove us to know more about the policies she advocates in general. For example, from an article she penned, published in the Nov/Dec 1997 issue of Ms. Magazine:
Let’s stop the abortion debate right now. Both sides can agree that eliminating the need for abortion would solve the problem. If all babies were planned, wanted and could be cared for, women wouldn’t seek abortions. A modest proposal: control men’s fertility.
Now, the obvious response to this is to say "lets reverse that, and see how far a modest proposal to control women's fertility would get. After all, it is female fertility, not male fertility, that determines the number of pregnancies."

But lets instead think about the administrative apparatus that would be required to put such a "modest" proposal into effect. If people think government is intrusive now, oh, boy, you aint seen nothin, yet. She would accomplish this "modest" goal through compulsory contraception starting at puberty, with the rule relaxed only for procreation under the right circumstances (he can afford it and has a willing partner) and for the right reasons (determined by a panel of experts, and with the permission of his designated female partner). This could be easily accomplished with a masculine version of the contraceptive implants some judges are now trying to force on some women by court order.

This is A Handmaid's Tail in reverse, as a serious Feminist policy proposal - and people wonder why the term "Feminazi" got invented. This is, if anything, a proposal for a Eugenicist State. What's the likelihood that such power would be abused and misused? Modest indeed. . .

That is Martha Burk, the Heroine Who Stood Up to Augusta.

Maybe she was aware of the swiftian connotations of making a modest proposal, but it sure doesn't seem like it

Update: Armed Liberal is outraged.

I mentioned Swift at the bottom of my post; but the article didn't seem to have that tone. Certainly didn't seem to be the kind of satire a feminist would normally laugh at if the shoe were on the other foot (a major point in my own post, btw, likewise I put "modest" in quotes).

Point being, I think it's fair to return serve (to use a metaphor involving another game) - Feminists like Burke love to misread what others would do, and make a huge fuss over it (thus we get things like Handmaid's Tale in the first place). But I'm to apologize when it is the obverse.

Yes, I'm usually better than that. But, as with Tom Harkin's remarks a few weeks back, not always.

I'll apologize to Burke when feminists apologize for asserting the Republicans want to institute something along the lines of A Handmaid's Tale. Fair enough?

The kind of distortion Armed Liberal says occurred here happens all too often when it comes to how Liberal sites twist the views of people they dislike. I don't, unfortunately, remember Armed Liberal demanding too many abject apologies on those occasions. Which is unfortunate. Thus, this post, regrettably, illustrated a point. Did I make an error here? I'll let readers be the judge. Am I usually better than that - better, that is, than how 90% of Liberals are when they present the other side of the debate? Yes. Now, Armed Liberal, to his own credit, is not among those 90%. But this illustrates a certain level of inconsistency. I wonder what would happen if a Conservative published something the piece mentioned in this post, and then said "hey, it's just satire" - what would the Feminist reaction be? We know, don't we? We know exactly how the womyn of Ms. Magazine take jokes of that kind. . .

Also, one more thing; this wasn't a deliberate attempt to troll, per se. It was just one of a number of posts I made today. But it had an interesting impact.
Ed Koch "The Democratic Party is Hosed". Ok, he didn't exactly say "hosed". But what he did say meant the same thing:
Now the Democratic Party will choose a new parliamentary leader to replace Dick Gephardt. The frontrunner is Nancy Pelosi, who is in the left wing of the party. She is supported by radical Democrats such as Congressman John Conyers, who recently urged her candidacy over Congressman Harold E. Ford, Jr., a moderate. If she moves the party further to the radical left and undoes everything that President Clinton did to move the party to center left, the Democratic Party will truly be undone.

Pelosi should be asked, among a dozen more questions separating moderates from radicals, “do you believe you were right in voting against the welfare reform bill?” and “do you believe you were right in voting against the joint resolution authorizing military action against Iraq?”

God bless America and God help the Democratic Party to recover its place of leadership in the U.S., providing it deserves that help.
Hmmmn. . .if, say, Tom DeLay said "God help the Republican Party", what do you think Bill Moyers would make of that?

Probably he'd throw another on-air fit.

But me? I just say Ed is onto something - not on the tax cut thing (though the Democrats certainly believe what he stated, and if they believe that they should be as honest about it as Koch was), but on the state of the Democratic Party he's on the money. And he can invoke God all he wants, and I won't throw a hissy over it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

A Correction (of sorts) on this post. As far as I know, the New Black Panthers have never murdered anyone. Which makes the antics of the old gang over this all the more pernicious. As far as I am aware, the New Black Panthers have just spouted off - they haven't dealt drugs, killed cops and their own members, the way the old guys did.

There is, as I said a number of weeks (months?) ago when there was a similar story, a difference between the old guys and new guys (and it isn't just that the new gang has a website), but it's not the sort of difference that is being harped upon. The difference between the old gang and the new gang is akin to the difference between the PLO and Islamic Jihad. The old Black Panthers were ideologically driven Leftists; the new gang are religious (Nation of Islam) based Leftists.
Christopher Hitchens on the "Chickenhawk" argument:
The first thing to notice about this propaganda is how archaic it is. The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians. Thus, while I was traveling last year in Pakistan, on the Afghan border and in Kashmir, and this year in the gulf, my wife was fighting her way across D.C., with the Pentagon in flames, to try and collect our daughter from a suddenly closed school, was attempting to deal with anthrax in our mailbox, was reading up on the pros and cons of smallpox vaccinations, and was coping with the consequences of a Muslim copycat loony who'd tried his hand as a suburban sniper. Should things ever become any hotter, it would be far safer to be in uniform in Doha, Qatar, or Kandahar, Afghanistan, than to be in an open homeland city. It is amazing that this essential element of the crisis should have taken so long to sink into certain skulls.
Yah. My sister's probably in more danger living in New York City than she was when she was serving in the 101st as a helicopter repairman (and, yes, I said "repairman"; she's a woman, but I don't PCize my english).
Shall we inquire into the "armchair" or otherwise sedentary lives of those who sympathized with Milosevic, or who published euphemisms about al-Qaida, or who went on fatuous hospitality trips to Baghdad and ended up echoing Baathist propaganda?
Amazing amount of that going around lately, by the by, and not just from people who physically traveled to Baghdad. Some people just can't inhale enough of the gas totalitarian dictatorships give off.
The Future of NATO, were it to have one, would look something like this:
The Founders of NATO understood the concept of an "Atlantic civilization". It meant for them much the same thing as "Western", or European, civilization, but with a special evolutionary twist.

Western civilization had many elements -- modernized and modernizing; leading, following, and reacting -- even while the West as a whole was playing a leading modernized role in the world at large. "Atlantic civilization" referred to the leading sector of Western civilization, or, more broadly, the portion of Western civilization that accepted Atlantic leadership. . .

The Atlantic civilization evolved intellectually as well as economically. It became the center of the Enlightenment, which gradually radiated outward from the Atlantic to other areas, as if in confirmation of its own theories of a common human nature and a universal natural law.

This fact of civilizational radiance was seized upon by the Founders of NATO; they saw that it made the Atlantic grouping a dynamic one, destined to expand from its initial geographical nucleus. They themselves widened the alliance from its World War I and II nucleus, adding a number of new members. They wrote into NATO a provision for its eventual extension to all "European" countries (Article 10). "Europe" was understood here broadly, like "Atlantic" itself: it included America and Turkey, and potentially Russia, Australia, Japan, and still other countries.
But alas, civilizational confidence - when it's Western Civilization we're talking about - is so outre'. Something for Right-Wing Religions Nut Zealot Fanatics, as a Moyers or Scheer would say.
The Canadians have for a while now taken it upon themselves to be a "moral superpower," not a military superpower. The problem with this — as is so often the case with groups, institutions, and even nations seeking to be the conscience of the world — is that it leads to knee-jerk and cost-free preachiness rather than any attempt at real sacrifices. Canada was once willing to back up its moral ambitions with force of arms; today it's ranked 37th on the list of peacekeepers. Its military, which used to punch well above its weight, is quite literally rusting through, and there are no plans to remedy that. In short, Canada has willfully forgotten that a nation which wants to be a moral superpower doesn't just say nice things, it does right things even at great cost — as when Great Britain put an end to the slave trade by force of arms, not force of words.
Jonah Goldberg on Canuckistan. Reminds me of an old issue of KoDT ("Men Who Hack") "Calgary? But that's on the other side of the iron curtain!"
I Might Have to Re-Think all my criticism of Pelosi. Dick Morris says choosing her is a bad idea, and given Dick's track record on these things, that probably means she'll work out just fine. More's the pity.
Terrell's Campaign against Landrieu seems to be a mess evidencing a desire on the part of the Republicans to lose.
Murderous Racists complain that their group's name was stolen by murderous racists.

The white-washing of the original Panther's past would be humorous if we weren't talking about a blood-stained legacy of hate to begin with.

See here for a correction. Of sorts.
Pelosi Democrats: The LA Times says she's a Liberal leader for a Liberal party. Probably not really a condemnation comming from Bob Scheer's Times (well, asside from the fact that for Leftists like Scheer who reserved their admiration for Ho Chi Minh and Mao, Liberals were an enemy). Speaking of Scheer, he tries to match tantrums with Moyers. A lot of people have made a big deal out of Moyers' tirade. I used to watch Moyers' programs but I long ago stopped expecting better from him.

Meanwhile, Richard Cohen wants to save the Democrats from themselves by longing for the days of Robert Torricelli
Oh, where are the Torricellis of yesteryear?
I guess corruption isn't bad as long as it's engaged in by the right sort of people, eh Richard? E.J. Dionne is no introspection needed for Democrats:
The Democrats don't need to move left or right. They need to adjust to the new environment terrorism has created. They need to be less inward-looking and less intimidated.
This at a time when the public favors the Republicans not only on the war, but on the economy as well. But, then, none of these people have ever been given to much thoughtful introspection.
Russ Smith goes after the Gore's turgid book in a NY Sun Book Review.
Daniel Pipes on Hate America First (last, and always) professors. He begins with quite a rogues' gallery, and then writes:
Of course, professors have every right to express their opinions, however cranky and mistaken. Yet the relentless opposition to their own government raises some questions:

  • Why do American academics so often despise their own country while finding excuses for repressive and dangerous regimes?

  • Why have university specialists proven so inept at understanding the great contemporary issues of war and peace, starting with Vietnam, then the Cold War, the Kuwait war and now the War on Terror?

  • Why do professors of linguistics, chemistry, American history, genetics and business present themselves in public as authorities on the Middle East?

  • What is the long-term effect of an extremist, intolerant and anti-American environment on university students?

    The time has come for adult supervision of the faculty and administrators at many American campuses. Especially as we are at war, the goal must be for universities to resume their civic responsibilities.
  • Terrorists Target U.S. restraunts in Lebanon. No word yet as to whether they were inspired by French terrorists that had attacked McDonalds.
    Things Looking Up in Kabul. Though since the article is a BBC report, it blames the Americans for every hardship the Afgans experienced and gives Americans no credit for the change for the better, it's clear just how much things have improved since we toppled the Taliban.
    Arsenal Cracks Down on its fans.

    Look, I firmly believe that a team can and should control its own merchandizing. But, c'mon, this guy had been doing this for a long while, wasn't hurting the team (as far as I can tell), and bringing a federal case over it seems more likely to hurt the team than help it. Some things one should just let go. Cut a separate deal with the guy, then prevent others from encroaching.
    The Ups and Downs of Superpowerdom Yesterday a warning of a possibility of a double-dip recession (something I've feared we'll have), today we're the country best placed for growth.

    Of course, both things could be true (we could double-dip and be the country that recovers fastest the mostest), because if you look at the rest of the world (the EU countries, Japan), they're much worse off. Take Germany, for example (please take Germany), the country normally expected to lead continental Europe into growth.

    Update: Scroll down to the chart. Note that France ranks between Hungary and Thailand, below Slovenia.
    Ongoing Protests in Iran, sparked by the sentancing of a reformer. Long Live the Counter-Revolution!
    Iraq's Parliament Voted unanimously (what else) against compliance with the UN Resolution. As I wrote yesterday, BFD. I'm unimpressed.

    Monday, November 11, 2002

    All "Joint" and no "Action": Another Interesting piece in the Financial Times. But this line is risible:
    Outside the administration, the noise on US airwaves and comment pages has threatened to blot out reasoned arguments for joint action against common threats.
    What "joint action"? There's never been a prospect of truly "joint action" involving any European state except Britain. The others barely bother to pretend otherwise. Lets look at the "joint action" maintaining the "No Fly Zones" over Iraq the last several years. The U.S. and Britain. Not that I'd want obsolecent French planes flying around and refusing to come to the aid of their allies when needed. But that just demonstrates the point.

    We've had lots of insistence that decision making needs to be "joint", but few have ever pretended that it would result in joint action. Not in any substantive way (a token contribution as a fig leaf for French pretentions of global grandure may be in the offing, but nothing serious). Similarly, it was the Financial Times just this morning that ran an article containing within it the pronouncement from Germany that they had no plans to increase their capabilities of contributing to "joint action" in the future.

    That simple fact makes his entire argument ring utterly hollow. But, then, it's written by a member of the LDP, and they're mainly noted for their airy, hollow pronouncements directing others on how things should be done. (Well, Ashdown was ok. But he's long gone).

    As with the guy who said the EU (Germany) needs Britain in the Euro and the EU (France) needs Britain in their defense structure, it's clear what's in it for them, but rather hazy at the other end.

    The article ends with an exhortation to Bush, saying he
    must appeal to values that European publics share and to international rules that Americans, like others, are called upon to observe.
    Within this context, that sounds rather ominous. Like a threat. My response is that people from regions banning speech need not make appeals to "shared values" to me.
    Barry Sanders is the Best Running Back Ever! We've been hearing that non-stop ever since Emmitt Smith got the NFL Rushing Record. Barry Sanders would have had the record if he kept playing, and put it so far out of sight that Emmitt never would have sniffed it.

    Emmitt himself has fed this mantra. But I'm sick of it, and I guess I have to speak out on this because apparently no one else will.

    "Barry Sanders would have had the record if he kept playing". Yah, and Jim Brown would have had more yards if he didn't retire. So? What's your point?

    "Barry Sanders is a better running back than Emmitt Smith". Maybe he's a better running back. But Emmitt Smith is a far better football player. Look at Barry Sanders' record against the Packers in the money games - in the post season. He was a non-factor. Go look it up. I can wait. Frankly, I feared Herman Moore more than I feared Barry Sanders when the Packers played the Lions in the playoffs. Now compare with what Emmitt Smith did when the chips were down and his team needed him.

    Sure, Barry Sanders got off a lot of 60+ yard runs (and he probably holds the record for the most long runs that did not end in a touchdown). But because he was also a Lost Yardage Leader, he also consistently put his team in too many third-and-long positions. You want to know the reason why the Lions never were good at maintaining drives? Could never put a game away with a time consuming drive, when they needed it? Look no further than Barry. Want to know why the Cowboys were good at maintaining drives - long drives, game-winning drives, clock-killing drives, scoring drives, you name 'em? Look no further than Emmitt. Ignore the hype: Barry could be contained - the Packers defense could do it. Emmitt could not be contained when it mattered. Just ask the Giants if you don't want to ask Mike Holmgren.

    Don't say "oh, well that's because Emmitt was on a better team". The reason - the key reason - those Cowboy teams were better than anyone was because of Emmitt. Look at their record when Troy was hurt - it's ok, not bad. Now look at their record when Emmitt was hurt (or out because of contract negotiations) - it blows chunks. They sucked without him. They couldn't just plug in someone and have their line and other great players carry the load. Now look at the Lions' record the year after Barry retired - not much worse without him.

    Bottom line, Emmitt Smith was a gamer who helped his team score points and win big games. Anyone who says they'd pick Barry Sanders in the draft instead of Emmitt Smith is either a liar or a fool who doesn't know what football is all about.

    (Anyone want to say I'm disrespecting Barry Sanders? Fine. I'll stop as soon as he leads his team to a playoff victory against the Packers. One that ends in a long, time-consuming, clock-killing scoring drive. Disrespecting Barry? My respect goes to Emmitt, and if that means disrespect for Barry, then so be it).
    I've Been Thinking more about this resentment of Britain by the usual suspects within the EU, and the statement that "This distrust will be countered only when Britain enters the euro."

    So what happens when the resentment continues and we're told it will only go away when the British Fleet is commanded by some French admiral? Will these guys then say "this distrust will be countered only when Britain's Fleet enters the EU's command structure"?
    The Iraqi "Parliament" is making noises of rejecting the latest UN Resolution. Some are saying this signifies they won't even make it past the seven day deadline.

    I don't buy it. This is just posturing. Actually, it's pre-posturing posturing. They'll make noises like this for most of this week, but by Friday they will "reluctantly" agree to its terms, inspite of how "injust and unfair" they are. Then we will go through the real round of posturing, as they play around with inspectors for as long as that's allowed (and much of the international community will be very happy to play along for as long as Iraq wants to).
    Another Bush Win according to Jay Ambrose:
    Critics of the president had argued earlier that he should go along with cat-and-mouse inspections of the sort previously tried — and that he should stop any threats of war. They apparently assumed he could not achieve an inspection plan that would actually mean something, but he has. And they apparently thought there would be a chance of Iraq complying short of sure knowledge of an attack if it did not. Under the weak-kneed circumstances favored by Bush critics, Iraqi weapons-makers would have laughed all the way to their hiding places.
    Speaking of Bush critics, I find it hard to believe that Thomas Friedman really thinks inspections by the same folks who were compleatly blindsided by the revelation of North Korea's ongoing nuclear program will be an effective solution to the problem. He can't be that stupid.

    Indeed, the vast majority of people who are hoping the dogs of war will be called off don't really believe inspections will put an end to the threat Saddam poses. So why do people like Friedman, who know better, make such utterances? Lawrence Freedman is a lot more candid about the actual situation.
    Germany Still Trying to make amends for Schroeder's election antics:
    The start of a rapprochement between the US and Germany sent a clear signal that Berlin would not get in the way of any American-led attack on Iraq by restricting the Pentagon's access to its bases on German soil. It also offered the prospect of a boost to Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union.
    But they won't upgrade their military. Fine. I don't expect units moving out to Iraq from bases in Germany will return to Germany.
    Someone at the Boston Herald finally discovered that rent control hurts tenants
    the lessons of rent control are clear. Not only has it consistently failed to serve those very individuals it was designed to help, but it has perverse effects: It creates a scarcity of affordable housing, speeds the deterioration of existing rental units, deprives owners of constitutionally protected property rights and skews the marketplace with artificially high and low rents.
    Special Thanks goes out to every Veteran reading this weblog!

    Not just today, but every day.
    Russians Hoping Friendly General will knock off Saddam, according to Stratfor:
    However, two problems would arise with a preemptive coup attempt.

    First, the only Iraqi leaders powerful enough to oust Hussein are his own relatives -- though not his sons -- as these are the only generals trusted to come near the Iraqi president. Bush likely would not agree to a new regime that keeps any Hussein family members in power; if the United States proceeds with its war effort Russia's attempts to hatch a coup will have been for naught.
    I've Been Told To stop whining about the prospects of deflation. Ok. We'll see. The cut in the Fed Funds rate should help anyhow.

    US growth is ok but growth is sucky elsewhere:
    First, the international outlook is bleak. While growth may be returning to the United States, it remains a question mark in Europe and a dead letter in Japan. The export-oriented Asian economies also are wobbling impressively amid the ongoing. This leaves the United States the sole engine of global growth. With inflation at a barely perceptible 1.5 percent, Federal Reserve officials likely felt it was safer to give the economy a swift kick and be done with the recession altogether. After all, it is very rare that the Fed has the opportunity to supercharge the economy without the threat of it overheating.
    Update: On the other hand, the double-dip could materialize.
    We Will Harmonize You: Push continues in the EU to compel members to adopt similar tax policies. Similar to who's? Frances, no doubt, considering the forces backing it. The spokesbeing for this march towards a Borg EU, Mr Giscard d'Estaing, was the same man who spoke so candidly about Turkey's chances of EU membership last week. The FT reports:
    also set out his strong views on what should happen to those countries that fail to ratify the proposed new EU constitution. Speaking to the Kangaroo group
    Got the Kangaroo part right, at least
    a body that favours more economic integration in Europe, he said non-ratifiers would exclude themselves from the EU.
    Heaven forfend! Cast into the Outer Darkness! Perhaps the British and Irish could consult with Vegard Valberg and see if he thinks Norway is missing out in not being an EU member.

    My advice: get out while you still can. After all, the EU was ostensibly created to improve the economic prospects of its members, and it's a manifest failure in those terms. Indeed, the success of countries that remained outside the Euro - especially Britain, spark nothing but envy and resentment by the EU's core countries.
    So how is Britain's success in Europe compounding its problems? Quite simply because, in economics, Europe is moving perhaps two steps towards but one step away from a more Anglo-Saxon model. Visionary federalism has been largely abandoned
    What's the evidence of that? That comment is belied by all the talk of a new European constitution and a permanent President and musings about coercively "Harmonizing" non-conforming countries. The article goes on:
    Britain's European continental critics readily acknowledge that the EU needs Britain at its core to punch its weight in the world. Germany needs Britain in the euro and France needs it to make a success of European defence.
    Ok, so we know why the EU needs Britain for defense and we know wny the EU needs Britain in the Europe. But why does Britain need to join the Euro? Why should Britain submerge it's armed forces into EU-French control? The article doesn't explain - it just assumes that what the EU needs, the EU gets. Britain's interests are ignorable - insignificant. Indeed, what is the author's solution to the resentment Britain faces in the EU?
    This distrust will be countered only when Britain enters the euro.
    You Will Be Assimilated! This piece may as well have been written by Locutus of Borg (wait, wasn't d'Estaing the EU's current Locutus? They're all pretty much the same, I guess).

    Nothing good can come of this.

    Better to follow the advice of James Bennett instead of the EU Mandarinate. Bennett observes:
    If Europe is really to become the rival hegemon and power bloc its enthusiasts predict, it makes sense for America to blunt this rivalry by making a generous alternative offer to compatible nations such as Britain and Ireland. If, on the other hand, Europe is about to sink into a demographic, structural, and fiscal crisis, as analysis suggests, then it likewise makes sense for America to buffer itself from this catastrophe by rescuing the nations, again Britain and Ireland, that hold the lion's share of American financial interests.
    Who will be laughing then, indeed.
    A Report on efforts to steal last Tuesday's election:
    A roomful of senior citizens in Maryland, my grandparents among them, was told to vote Democratic because Republicans would take away their benefits. Told by whom? By the people running the adult daycare center, which is questionably funded by Medicaid and is a booming Baltimore County business.

    In Arkansas, a since fired Democratic Party staffer registered hundreds of residents, businesses and deceased people from a phone book, and a heavily Democratic Arkansas county kept the polls open 90 minutes extra. . .

    Progress is in the wings: For some, this past Tuesday's elections already weren't free. Members of the Service Employees International Union in Boston escorted several voters inside the voting booth. . .

    If, after the dozens of independent re-counts showing Bush to be the winner, the election remains "stolen," the implication is that legitimate results are void, and fraudulence is legitimate.

    Yet they say the Soviet experiment was a perversion.

    During the creative counting in Florida two years ago, a broadcaster at a New York-based Russian radio station remarked, "We've seen this before. What is happening in America now, we've been through it."
    There's more. Check it out.
    Thank a Veteran Today, for your freedom. In fact, thank more than one. Thank every veteran you meet.

    Sunday, November 10, 2002

    Ups and Downs of Blogging: On Saturday Ranting Screeds was named Blog of the Week by the good folks at Strategy Page.

    But now we've been

    Banned In Europe!!

    By the Council of Europe. Steven Den Beste has the full story.

    In recognition of this honour, a distinction I will proudly bear, "BANNED IN EUROPE" will replace "Quis Custodes Ipsos Cusdodiet" at the head of the Blog.
    Desert Rats and other British forces mobilizing far war against Iraq.
    Communism On Parade in Florence.

    If they think Marxist invocations will convince a majority of Americans (or even the British) to join their cause, they are really in cloud cuckoo land.

    At best, it's the Campaign for a Nuclear Freeze Movement all over again (fronting, once again, for the other side).