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Monday, June 30, 2003

[Note: This is a post from June 13th, but I accidentally posted it to my other blog, "Considerable Quotes". When I went to post a new quote today, I saw this sitting in there. Blame my not keeping track of what blog the "w.bloggar" software was pointing to.]

James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" has a great "turnabout is fair play" item. After enumerating some of the things that anti-war folks predicted that turned out to be false or overblown, he includes this:
Some war foes even said--get this!--that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them on American troops. Well pardon us for asking, but if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, where are they?

It's possible that this was all just a massive failure of intelligence, but we can't help suspecting that war opponents knew better and deliberately misled the public in an effort to establish a pretext for keeping a mass-murdering dictator in power. In either case, they now face a yawning credibility gap. The American people deserve nothing less than a full congressional investigation into the false claims of antiwar politicians, scholars, journalists and activists. If they lied to us about Iraq, how can we ever trust them to talk us out of future wars?

Typical of Taranto's sense of humor, this is both funny and pointed. You can add to the list of those who said Saddam had WMDs all the prewar doomsayers. There were plenty of them predicting massive US casualties because of that assumption. Where are they now?



Talk of tax cuts, and the benefits of them:

  • "We want a signal of revival to go out from this weekend to the people in our country."
  • "This government is improving the framework for more growth...."
  • "It's the signal that we want to send to consumers and business."

A Bush administration official? Nope, Gerhard Schroeder! Even liberals in Germany are conceding the benefits to the economy from tax cuts. Some liberals, though, are chanting the same thing in German as Democrats do here, "How will we pay for them?" Schroeder's answer is the obvious solution; spending cuts and more capitalism (selling shares of ex-state monopolies). Conservatives in Germany are wanting better ways of reducing that spending that Schroeder, to be sure, but it's good to see that some "mindshare" is being won by conservatives over there.

Now it's time for our American liberals to get the wake-up call.



Scrappleface has a devastatingly funny and on-target spoof of last week's Supreme Court sodomy ruling. If states are not allowed to invade a person's "privacy" by judging on the morality of what happens in their home, how about overturning the smoking of crack in the home? And I'd add; does this derail the efforts of those seeking to ban smoking in the home?

As Rush Limbaugh put it, the Supreme Court has now placed itself in the position of a super-sized city council. Remember during the 2000 election the hue and cry of the Democrats about subverting the "will of the people"? Well, how about the will of the people of Texas as expressed in their duly elected legislature?

The Supreme Court should be deciding issues of Constitutionality. The sodomy case was instead decided on changing social norms and the same extra-constitiutional "right to privacy" that Roe v Wade was based on. If it's not in the Constitution, the states may take it up, and it's up to the people of that state to decide how they want to govern, not the Supremes.

(And no, this does not negate the idea that the Supremes had jurisdiction in the 2000 election. The national election is a national election, and thus has federal laws that govern it. Part of that is ensuring that states follow federal rules on how they are to be conducted, although it helps if the states will start by following their own rules.)


Thursday, June 26, 2003

CNN is reporting that Iraqi scientists had the equipment for continuing their nuclear weapons program hidden in backyard gardens. All they were waiting for was for liberals (like Harold Pinter) to win the day and have sanctions lifted. Just another reason to not take their policy advice.


Monday, June 23, 2003

Back in town after a reunion of my college Stage Band / Jazz Ensemble. That was a blast. :)

The Supreme Court issued a split decision in the University of Michigan Affirmative Action case (the undergrad admissions method was struck down, while the law school method was upheld). I read an interesting paragraph in CNN's coverage of it:
The Bush administration has said it opposes the university's admissions policy, while dozens of top corporations are among the school's supporters.

...which is odd given how so many liberal pundits think that Bush is in the back pocket of top corporations; doing their bidding at the drop of a contribution. Time to rethink?


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Orrin Hatch has issued an apology...sort of. However, the statement has this line; "I do not favor extreme remedies unless no moderate remedies can be found. I asked the interested industries to help us find those moderate remedies." Well, the issue of unconstitutional laws is still a problem, and has been for a lot longer than Napster & Kazaa have been around. Does this mean my extreme remedy--razing the homes of lawmakers that keep doing it--is viable?

C'mon Senator! This is ludicrous!

(Oh, and by the way: If anyone's reading this blog from a ".gov" site, the whole "razing" thing is a joke. OK? Just so we're clear on that. Hyperbole to make a point...that sort of thing.)


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Senator Orrin Hatch advocating the remote destruction of computers for those who download copyrighted material? Regardless of where you stand on the music pirating issue, what ever happened to "due process"? And this from the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.

Well, I suppose if we razed the homes of all politicians that passed unconstitutional laws, they might begin to realize the seriousness of their actions, but would that be unfair. Wouldn't it, Orrin?



Who better than "Roe" of "Roe v Wade", Norma McCorvey, now a pro-life advocate, to sue to overturn the abortion ruling? WorldNetDaily's article discusses what the legal challenges to that ruling will be.


Saturday, June 14, 2003

An article in The Guardian reports that France and Germany are demonstrating why state-run programs, in this case pensions, don't work. There have been massive demonstrations there recently over a change requiring that folks who will receive state pensions must work 40 years instead of the previously legislated 37.5 years, and this applies to everyone retroactively. The problem include:

  • One size does not fit all. A 49-year-old woman named Martine is quoted in the article. "My husband's a teacher, he feels exactly the same. All our working lives we've been planning around that [retirement] date, and now suddenly we're not going to be able to stop. What do they expect us to do? Die on the job?" The government has decreed that everybody will be treated the same way, but for Martine and her husband, this won't work. But since there's only one choice for everyone on the state dole, she has to live with it. Is that a better option than choice?
  • Government programs make people dependent on government. See above. If Martine were more independent from government, she'd have more choices and have more control over her future. When this argument was made in reference to welfare, it's been labelled "racist", while welfare was considered "compassionate". Is the government of France being compassionate by forcing people to work more and contribute more for fewer benefits? How can this be fixed? "Experts point to Sweden as the country most successful in reforming pensions, introducing a mandatory 'third pillar' of private savings and combining pay-as-you-go with an investments-based model, but it took years of public debate to agree it." Sweden fixes it by trying to get folks to take more responsibility for their financial future. Public dole is the problem, individualism is the solution. Europe would do well to do away with as much of the former as possible, to be replaced by the latter.
  • Social Security has always been a pyramid scheme doomed to financial failure. The article states, "At issue is the sustainability of pay-as-you-go state pension systems in which those in work pay the pensions of the retired rather than, as many fondly imagine, putting a nest-egg away for their own retirement." How compassionate is it to sell a program as a "nest egg", which is essentially a lie? If you get a statement from US Social Security of your contributions, it talks about how much of your money is in the system for you, but the truth is, it's already being paid out and you're gambling that future payees will cover your retirement. However, if I could take the money I pay into Social Security and invest it myself, I would pay for my own retirement, not force the next generation to do it for me. It would be my money and my responsibility. Instead, we (and Europe) have a risky tax scheme (sound familiar, Al Gore?) that is demonstrating its failure.
  • The more taxes levied, the less tolerance government has for emergencies. Martine Durand, deputy director for labor and social affairs of the Organization for Economic Cooperations and Development had this to say with regards to the options faced by these governments: "Increasing contributions is counter-productive in high-tax countries, reducing pensions is also politically unpopular. That just leaves raising retirement ages." High taxes, applied to pyramid schemes, only mean that at some point this situation must arise. Taxes can realistically go no higher, and so more must be asked of the populace to prop up a program that doesn't work. Smaller government, taking less from its citizenry, can afford to ask more in times of emergency, but European governments are stuck. Of course, if they'd never started this pie-in-the-sky program and let people run their own lives, they'd have avoided this emergency altogether.
  • Arrogance in government takes decisions away from citizens "for their own good". What kind of arrogance? "With exquisite mistiming, meanwhile, MEPs voted last week voted for themselves the option to retire retire at 60 on a pension of 70% of gross earnings." That kind. Is that a compassionate government, or just one that thinks they know better than the average guy?

Basically, what the government (and liberals who advocate it) call "compassion" is merely legalized thievery. Social Security and its like in Europe are not compassionate because they force one group of people to pay for another. And they don't work because they gamble on demographics and behavior patterns that the government cannot control (even though they may try via legislation).
In Paris yesterday an electricity board engineer called Jean-Marc summed it up. "Over the past few years every single redundancy plan has targeted the over-55s, and now they're asking us to work for longer. Who do they think they're kidding? It's completely incoherent, utterly unrealistic."

Sorry, Jean-Marc, but you've been sold an utterly unrealistic program from the get-go. This is simply it's logical result.


Thursday, June 12, 2003

Adding his voice to those who are disputing events in Hillary Clinton's book, Dick Morris writes in the National Review Online about a specific incident in which Bill Clinton almost slugged him, and how Hillary has spun it:
Bill ran after me, tackled me, threw me to the floor of the kitchen in the mansion and cocked his fist back to punch me. You grabbed his arm and, yelling at him to stop and get control of himself, pulled him off me. Then you walked me around the grounds of the mansion in the minutes after, with your arm around me, saying, "He only does that to people he loves."

And when the truth might come out, the Clinton's went with their usual MO.
When the story threatened to surface during the 1992 campaign, you told me to "say it never happened."

It's no longer just telling events in a light favorable to the author. "Living History" is now being revealed as having been placed on the wrong category. It should be listed under "Fiction". And apparently most Americans would agree.


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Right Wing News has a further enumerating of people who, if you want to accuse Bush of lying to us about WMDs, are also part of the Vast WMD Conspiracy(tm). In addition to those I've listed before, add:
  • Joe Liberman
  • Dianne Feinstein
  • Barbara A. Milulski
  • Tom Daschle
  • John Kerry
  • Madeline Albright
  • Robert Byrd
  • Hillary Clinton
  • William Cohen (Clinton's Sec. of Defense)
  • Dick Gephardt
  • Bob Graham
  • Ted Kennedy
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Scott Ritter

Once again (and again), if you want to blame Bush, and you don't have your hands over your ears when the news ain't so good for your team, you have to include these folks, and be just as loud about it. If you want to give them a pass, you gotta give one to Bush, too.



Apparently, the "Bush as Hitler" comparison is still alive and well. (Noted by InstaPundit.) It's astounding to me that anyone still spews this and expects anyone to take them seriously.

Playwright Harold Pinter calls the US government the most dangerous power that ever existed. I would say he's right, but not in the way he intends. Any massive power can be dangerous. The potential is always there, and the United States is arguably the most powerful nation in the history of the world. That's dangerous power if improperly wielded. What Pinter considers "dangerous" is that the US want to be the superior military force on the planet. However, 1) that's entirely reasonable given that we're the most prosperous and free, and thus the most demonized and most threatened, country on the planet, and 2) it would be insanely foolish to "strive" to be #2 on the planet and then trust to luck that whoever winds up #1 is our friend. Given the lay of the military land, it's probable that we'd be friendly with the new emergent #1, but why roll the dice with national security?

Earth to Mr. Pinter: We're already de facto #1 and 9/11 still happened. Excuuuuuse me if we decide we'd rather that not happen anymore.

And to call the Guantanamo Bay detention center a "concentration camp" is liberal hyperbole at it's finest. Gas chambers? Anywhere? The ovens at Gitmo are being used, as it turns out, to fatten up the detainees, not incinerate them! They're living better there than they were in Afghanistan. And yet this is comparable to some Nazi death camp?

Blair is a mass-murderer? For doing what, preventing civilian casualties by Saddam Hussein that would be two orders of magnitude worse than those that occurred during the Iraq war? I did some googling for "'harold pinter' hussein condemn", and found:
  • Pinter, along with a number of others in February of 1998, complaining that sanctions were hurting Iraqi citizens (and now we know why; not because of the sanctions themselves but because of the mismanagement at the UN)
  • A notation on a communist party web site about Pinter supporting an anti-sanctions demonstration in August of 2000, as well as a letter cosigned by him denouncing what was being done in Iraq due to sanctions (never mind the raping of women and misdirection of oil-for-food money).
  • A speech given by Mr. Pinter in which he makes boatloads of unsubstantiated statements, and then delivers the preposterous line "The planned war against Iraq is in fact a plan for premeditated murder of thousands of civilians in order, apparently, to rescue them from their dictator." ("Apparently", the civilian war casualties which prevented the continuation of thousands upon thousands of murders done by the Hussein regime wasn't a good enough reason for Mr. Pinter. And this line comes after one where he accuses the US of only caring about US deaths and ignoring others. Mirror, Mr. Pinter?)
  • A mention in The Guardian (March 18, 2003) on how readers can add their name to an anti-war petition called "A Manifesto for Peace & Progress", co-signed by Harold Pinter.
  • A quote from Mr. Pinter blaming America for 9/11. "The atrocity in New York was predictable and inevitable. It was an act of retaliation against constant and systematic manifestations of state terrorism on the part of America over many years, in all parts of the world." Also, compared to Hussein, whose atrocities we're discovering were even worse than we knew, Bush is the world's worst leader.
  • A poem denouncing "The Yanks in their armoured parade" as they march off to war with Iraq. (Thing is, if you remove all references to America, the poem would more closely resemble Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Consider that.)

...and on and on. Most articles dealt with Mr. Pinter's opposition to the war and/or the sanctions during the previous years. In a few cases, his words appeared on Communist Party or pro-Jihad web sites. In some cases, bloggers try to defend him by parroting back dire predictions about the war that never came true or attempting to impugn the motives of the President. (One even called Hussein's Iraq "a nation at peace". That's one tortured definition of the word "peace.)

The salient point is this: I perused the Top 40 of the results from Google, and in none of these hits was the word "condemn" ever used in relationship to Saddam Hussein. Pinter points fingers at the US, Great Britian, and anyone else who would dethrone a murderous dictator and ruin Iraq's state of alleged "peace". He never once, in condemning foreign governments, condemned the one actually killing thousands of people over the course of decades, or that actually went to war over (Kuwaiti) oil. He saved his worst criticisms for leaders who, among other things, saved the Iraqi citizenry from further atrocities, all the while magnanimously claiming to care about innocent deaths around the world.

His compassion stops where his politics starts, and that's unfortunately the definition of elite liberalism.


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

WorldNetDaily has the latest news about global warming. Well, actually, cooling. The main reasons these findings run counter to the computer models everybody's been using is that...they're not computer models; they're actual physical temperature readings. Further, the pollution you see in the air could actually be cooling things.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; the uncertainty in the climate science field is so high that we shouldn't be making public policy based on it.



Christopher Hitchens, writing in Slate yesterday, does a great job in uncovering the hatchet job the media has been giving Paul Wolfowitz, from deliberately mispronouncing his name, to deliberately misquoting him, to blaming him for every single anti-Muslim wacko in the US. It's a further demonstration of both liberal bias in the media (The Guardian specifically) as well as how badly the left needs to jump on any speck of "proof" that Bush and his administration are somehow misrepresenting themselves and their motives to the country. But they can't use the truth, so they have to revert to mud-slinging and false reporting. Sure, The Guardian did correct their errors, which by itself is a good thing, but the damage had already been done and the liberal punditry had already echoed the lies loud and long. Don't count on retractions from them. We're still waiting for Maureen Dowd to retract her misquote of Bush supposedly asserting that al-Qaeda was no longer a problem.


Monday, June 09, 2003

I've been trying to pull together a list of people that should also be accused of lying to the American people if you're one who insists that Bush and Blair did so when they talked about Iraqi WMDs. Just like the 9/11 intelligence question, if you want to accuse Bush of lying, there's also a laundry list of folks who'd have to be part of that conspiracy, starting with Bill Clinton (who also said they had WMDs) and the UN (who's resolution 1441 started from the assumption that they existed). However, making my job easier, the inimitable Instapundit has compiled a number of posts from all over that point out that show the list of those who said Hussein was harboring WMDs is quite long indeed. They include the aforementioned, plus:
  • Hans Blix
  • German intelligence
  • Jacques Chirac
  • Al Gore

The "peace" marchers are all over Bush on this (as they were recently here in Atlanta), but once again their hands are tight over their ears, not wanting to believe anything's wrong with their crowd, but jumping on every single shred of possibility that Bush is Hitler, regardless of how baseless each of those shreds are, and regardless of how they've looked the other way prior to Dubya's inauguration. As Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds says, "Well, it's better than admitting that if you'd had your way, Saddam Hussein would still be shoveling children into mass graves, I suppose."


Thursday, June 05, 2003

Is Eric Robert Rudolph a "Christian terrorist"? Some at the Washington Post seem to think so, but as Marvin Olasky points out...
The Post did not point out that leading American pastors have universally condemned bombing of abortion businesses, but many leading Islamic clerics in the Middle East have refused to condemn the murder by Muslims of innocent civilians. Nor did it note that the Quran (in contrast to a document of similar length, the New Testament) has only a few statements promoting peace but over 100 advocating warfare. (Example: "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you (9:123)).

Eric Rudolph may call himself a Christian, but the Christian community has, quite overwhelmingly, a different opinion. Keep that in mind when reading "balanced" news stories. Read the article for more examples of "balance" in (of all places) the New York Times.



Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd, the top 2 editors at the NY Times have resigned. This can only be good news for journalism in general and the Times in particular.


Wednesday, June 04, 2003

How possible is peace between Israel and the Palestinians when the winner of a Palestinian writing contest says this:
"My heart has turned into a sad block of pain. One day I will buy a weapon and I will blow away the fetters. I will propel my living-dead body into your arms, my father, and you will gather me into your hands."

Al-Qaeda recruit? Nope, a Palestinian 7th grader. The group "Palestinian Media Watch" has brought the results of this contest to light, but I wonder who is listening. Other top winners expressed hatred towards Israel, PM Sharon and President Bush. The question is, were there any letters that extolled peace?
It's unknown, says the media watchdog group, which added that if children submitted peace-promoting letters and Palestinian leaders only honored those with violent themes, the Palestinians are promoting hate education.

"On the other hand, [if] there was not even one peace-promoting letter [submitted], it is equally disturbing, as an ominous warning of how successful the PA education has been in creating a generation dedicated to hatred of Israel," said Itamar Marus, the media group's director.

Is it possible to negotiate with a group of people who say one thing but practice something else so diametrically opposed? If a peace agreement is hammered out, that would be wonderful, but after that, listen to the children to know whether or not it will work.


Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Stephen Stanton at Tech Central Station gives Paul Krugman a fisking he so richly deserves for his NY Time article on the "evils" of a tax cut. From unsubstantiated numbers, to wondering which of 9000+ pork barrel programs Krugman considers sacrosanct, to appearing shocked at the obvious (those who pay the most taxes get the most back), to pining for the days of 92% tax rates, Krugman's arguments fall by the wayside one by one.

Stanton certainly uncovers the facts behind the catch-phrases the left has been parroting.

Update: Instapundit has links to other folks fact-checking Krugman. (I though that's what the NY Times editors were supposed to do.) They include Wunderkinder and Donald Luskin.


Monday, June 02, 2003

Tobacco, a weapon of mass destruction? Hyperbole, anyone?