Saturday, March 06, 2004

This may be the story nobody in the media is covering

People who support the war are unable to discuss it with their friends for fear of losing them. The link above mentions Michelle from A Small Victory. And Sean at Everything I know is Wrong is apparently also feeling the hate.

It's sad but also illustrative of something I noted in the 60s and 70s. People who claimed they cared about peace engaged in some of the most hate-filled rhetoric and unpeaceful behavior I had ever seen. And it's happening again because the U.S. is responding to a hideous attack on our soil that killed thousands of people. Somehow, this response has been converted in the minds of the left into a replay of Vietnam, but far, far worse, because we haven't fought this war as a "police action" or limited war in the sense of Korea, Vietnam, or the First Gulf war. We have followed the World War II model established by FDR and George Marshall: defeat the aggressor and destroy the infection at its source, then help the corrupted societies to rebuild as democracies. Why this should drive the left so crazy is more of a mystery today than it was during the Vietnam era. Back then we had a draft.

BTW, check out this blog, What If? too.

Understanding free trade

Two of our biggest businesses are on the hook for 120 billion between them in unfunded liabilities to their pension funds. It makes a fine case for protectionism and labor unions. Or a case for cutting labor costs through automation or -shudder- moving jobs out of the country. The problem with protectionism is that it pits some workers who make high wages from union contracts against workers who depend on exports.

It fooled me.

Yeah, I'm a little thick sometimes. I wondered why Mickey Kaus called it a "well done dopple." I guess I should have read the URL, but who does that?

There's a man with a gun over there . . .

OK, I know that was Buffalo Springfield, but I thought David Crosby was only into Woodstock not Waco. The times really are a'changin'.

Now I can get back to my life.

David Allan Pell has the campaign all summed up. It's so much less time consuming than watching debates.

I never watch debates, because. as Abe Simpson would say, they angry up the blood, and I can get the important stuff from the news reports. The last one I watched was, I think, Carter and Reagan. The country was fed up with Carter's ineptitude and all Reagan had to do was be affable and safe. We got more than that.

I haven't seen any of Kerry's ads, but Bush's are masterful. His sincerity and decisiveness shine. The complaints from the Democrats about them were petty and ludicrous.

Friday, March 05, 2004

The Terrorists Win a Short Reprieve

The Shiites are backing out on the interim constitution. "Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, rejected provisions put into the text at the Kurds' request, said a source in the council, speaking on condition of anonymity."

I'm hoping Iraqis will repudiate this guy's influence in favor of democracy and equality. If full citizenship is dependent on being Shiite or even Muslim, they're setting themselves up for failure. On the other hand, what we Americans see as self-evident today took a lot of trial an error. Even now, we seem to be allowing our courts to take away democracy in the name of minority rights. There are some rights that the majority shouldn't be allowed to mess with, it's true. But I don't think that Howard Stern and Gay Pride parades were what the founders had in mind. If they had known about radio and broadcasting, I think they'd have worded the First Amendment quite more narrowly.

The Bush Ads

I listened to Bush's first two ads several times this afternoon on Hugh Hewitt's show and saw the first one later on Brit Hume's program. They stirred my soul. I wanted to play them for every bitchy Bushhater in the Democrat party and in the media, with an introduction by Clint Eastwood saying "Misunderestimate THIS, punk!" Of course, it isn't needed. They've already seen them. That's why they and their apologists in the media are squealing about them. This campaign is going to be fought with one party trying to keep us from remembering the images of 9/11 while it whispers doubt and defeat in our ears and the other showing those and the following images of a strong and determined nation overthrowing the bastions of terror, and beckoning us to stand up against darkness and despair. I know which one I want to win.

Sage Words from James Lileks

"But you can�t color outside the lines until you learn how to color inside of them."

"I have one issue above all: the war."

"[T]he absence of attacks since 9/11 no more means we�re not at war than the absence of air raids on Manhattan in 1942 meant we weren�t at war with Germany and Japan.

"[W]e can argue about the future of Western Civilization after we've ensured Western Civilization will survive."

" By this logic [that any reminder of 9/11 in Bush's ads is off limits], FDR should have run his 44 campaign on his domestic agenda."

And this:
Another suggested ad: �Some say that we shouldn�t haven�t invaded Iraq. Even after the discovery of mass graves. Even after the realization that the UN�s Food-for-Oil program diverted billions to Saddam�s pockets. Even after seeing how the terrorists have poured into Iraq to make a last desperate stand against freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Some say we should have listened to our allies.� A stock shot of Marcel Marceau in full-mime makeup, pretending to be trapped in a box.
That's all I'll quote, since anymore would be the whole post. Go read it all.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

A Note on Reading Blogs

Watch out for the Updates. The latest and greatest isn't always in the latest post.

I nearly missed this link to and the following bit of deep wisdom therefrom quoted on Instapundit:
Some people still wonder what would be the relation between liberation of Iraq and war on terrorism. I think that the fact that nearly all the terrorists are gathered on our land to fight so fiercely should be more than enough an explanation.
It brings tears to my eyes to know that there are Iraqis who understand what this is all about so much more clearly and eloquently than people like John Kerry.

I listened to Bush's first two ads several times this afternoon on Hugh Hewitt's show. They stirred my soul. I wanted to play them for every bitchy Bushhater in the Democrat party and in the media, with an introduction by Clint Eastwood saying "Misunderestimate THIS!" Of course, it isn't needed. They've already seen them. That's why they and their apologists in the media are squealing about them. This campaign is going to be fought with one party trying to keep us from seeing the images of 9/11 while it whispers doubt and defeat in our ears and the other showing them and the images of a strong and determined nation we can be proud of and beckoning us to stand up against darkness and despair. I know which one I want to win.

More on why terrorism is not for the courts

This report that the German courts have thrown out the only criminal conviction in the world from the 9/11 attacks, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Of course, the facts that have to be brought out in court often give heads ups to the terrorists, as they did during the trials of the first WTC bombers. The trial notified Bin Laden that we were tapping his satellite phone conversations, and he quit using that phone thereafter.

An Attempt to Crush Political Speech!

The first of Bush's reelection ads are drawing fire, from Kerry supporters (several relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks and the Firefigher's Union that has endorsed Kerry) because of the use of video graphics from 9/11. This argument is of a piece with Josh Marshall's apparent belief that the way you counter criticism of Kerry's voting record is to point to his medals from Vietnam. The AP is reporting that "several relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and a firefighters union that has endorsed Democratic rival John Kerry demanded the ads be pulled." Hugh says Dan Rather and Katie Couric have joined the criticism.

And I'll bet they don't want any films of him visiting the troops at Thanksgiving or greeting the sailors on the aircraft carrier either, not because they can't answer them, but because they're "in bad taste." So how successful do you think this will be with the voters? The most important images in this campaign is the clips taken on 9/11 of those jetliners flying into the WTC and Pentagon, because they explain like nothing else that terrorism is not a matter for the criminal courts, but a matter of national defense.

Update: Here's what Karen Hughes told CBS News' The Morning Show: /
With all due respect, I just completely disagree, and I believe the vast majority of the American people will as well.. . . Sept. 11 was not just a distant tragedy. It's a defining event for the future of our country.. . . Obviously, all of us mourn and grieve for the victims of that terrible day, but Sept. 11 fundamentally changed our public policy in many important ways, and I think it's vital that the next president recognize that.�
I do too.

The pendulum is approaching the end of its swing

Glenn Reynolds asks, "HAS THE LEFT LOST ITS TEEN SPIRIT?" If you've ever heard a Kerry speech, you wouldn't have to ask that. Kerry never had any, eve when he was a teen.

Of course, being 56 and a Mormon, I'm not one to argue that having teen is a good thing or not. Glenn, being a law prof, probably more in touch than I am. I'm not even fully in touch with James Lileks' generation if his tastes in music mean anything. I thought I knew 80s music--I've got a bunch of it on vinyl in the basement--but I didn't know who Godley & Creme are and I've never known what to make of terms like "icy prog-rock," "synth pop" and "straight-ahead post-punk." Maybe that's what wrong with the music biz; nobody understands the classification terminology it uses. But I'm off point.

What I wanted to say is that today's 20-somethings are the children of my generation, and are naturally critical and questioning of our attitudes unless we can explain them. I don't think liberals have ever been able to defend their welfare state ideology, particularly since they are so anti-religious. They're caught on a Marxist sticky trap. What I think is coming is a growth in libertarian and conservative thinking. Liberalism is so . . . Euorpean these days.

Idea for a column: Kerryisms

Yesterday it was, "The Bush Adminsitration has run the most inept, reckless, arrogant, and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country."

Today I found this, by Mark Steyn:
Last spring and summer, I went to three Kerry campaign events in New Hampshire, intending to write about them for the Telegraph. Each time, I staggered groggily out of the diner or American Legion hall and, after checking my pulse and administering self-resuscitation, I figured that everything he said was so rambling and platitudinous that to inflict it on readers would be unfair, if not actually career-jeopardising.

But I wrote the stuff down. He used the word "courage" a lot. He said that he had "the courage to take the tough decisions", and America needed "the courage to stand up". His campaign was billing itself back then as the "American Courage Tour". I think it was after his "Fresh Air Forum" (sadly misnamed) that I looked at my notes and found the following: "Sometimes real leadership means having the courage not to have any courage."
Steyn goes on to question his own notes, so this might not be accurate, but it certainly sounds like Kerry.

Go read the Steyn piece. He includes this "Times-ism" describing Kerry:
"What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances."
along with Bush's statement, "I don't do nuance." And that's what I like about him, because what passes for nuance with Kerry and his fellow liberals usually amounts to waffling and doing nothing.

The War Base

I would be supporting Bush no matter who the Democrats nominated. I'm a conservative, not a libertarian. I'm registered independent because I didn't want to associate myself with some of the nuttier right wing around here.

I recognize that a lot of people who support this war find themselves feeling sheepish at supporting a (eew!) Republican, so they're looking for reasons to get back where they feel comfortable with their liberal friends and associates. Then there are conservatives and libertarians who mirror the angry left. Neither of them understand how politics works and right now with all the blaming going around it's easy to find things wrong with Bush.

I think that the major thing Bush has to get across is that we're still at war and that we can't count on al Qaeda and similar groups to roll over and die. Iraq was a strategic choice and it turned out to be a cakewalk with no cake at the end, but none of us should think that this is all there is. Look at the suicide bomber attacks yesterday in Baghdad. Frankly I'm amazed that we haven't had any of those here. We shouldn't get complacent.

The really tough parts of this war are still ahead. .

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Only Real Issue

When I first read this Lileks column I wasn't impressed, because, well, it seemed so obvious. Who would North Korea, Iran and France want to see win this election? Du-uh!

But I failed to consider the fact that a lot of whiners are complaining that he proposed too much money for the National Endowment for the Arts, or that he's a deficit spender, or that he said he'd sign a bill reauthorizing the assault weapons ban. Instapundit has called my attention to the pouting right. And Porphyrogenitus agrees.



I don't want it to be fought on the U. S. homeland, and NEITHER SHOULD YOU!






I hope I make myself clear.

Hugh Hewitt has been playing clips from Kerry's speeches

They all sound like old recordings of FDR, but without the charisma. It's going to be a long 8 months. Maybe he speaks like this so that nobody will notice his outrageous blather, like "The Bush Adminsitration has run the most inept, reckless, arrogant, and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country." It begs the question why he voted to authorize it.

Oh, yeah. He thought it was just a bluff. That's the ticket!

Update: And Joshua Micah Marshall agreed with Kerry's statement. Is he hoping to be appointed Kerry's Press Secretary? I wouldn't set myself up like this unless there were big personal stakes, meaning more than just having my party win the election. I'd want patronage!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

You want aliens?

Check out these specimens! (This has lots of photos and takes time to load.)

They're worried

Does this sound like whistling past the graveyard?
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, in a study released Sunday, found that somewhere between 2 percent and 7 percent of adult Internet users in the United States actually keep their own blogs.
What percentage of the population are newspaper writers?

The BBC in America

I have not been thrilled by the inception of the Discovery-Times Channel on cable because of the participation of the NYTimes in its programming, but tonight it's exceeded my fears with the special "Fight to the Death," which turns out to be the BBC's defense of itself in the matter the suicide of Dr. Kelly. I find this documentary jawdroppingly confrontational for an organization that is funded with tax revenues. I think that news media as commercial ventures, as obnoxious as they can be, are far less dangerous than the BBC model.

A more palatable flavor of libertarian

is Clayton Cramer, at least if I read him right. He makes the very timely point that "one of the great precursors to the American Revolution were popular uprisings against judges that were perceived as enemies of the popular will."

I think that we tend to throw around terms like freedom, liberty, rights, independence and democracy as though they all mean the same thing. Freedom and liberty generally do mean the same thing, although liberty tends to carry connotations of going too far because of such usages as "taking liberties" and "libertine." For political purposes, I consider them interchangeable.

But independent has an important difference. Independent is often interpreted as freedom because it is a precondition to freedom, but they are not the same thing. Independent is the opposite of dependent, which is why I maintain that Americans have sold their liberty by accepting government "entitlements." I don't believe that anyone can ever be completely independent because I believe that we all need a savior, but in political terms we trade our independence for the benefits of living in society. It ill behooves any of us, then, to start demanding rights that weren't part of the deal. I argue that part of the deal was that we don't behave outrageously and offensively toward others who reasonably expect to be able to, say, go downtown without being placed in fear by mentally ill homeless people or pestered by panhandlers, yelled at by protestors, etc.

What brings the courts back into the discussion is the fact that they are not democratic. This was thought expedient in order to assure that judges would be insulated from political pressures, but I'm starting to believe that the founders of this nation made a big mistake by not providing a check on the reach of federa judges.

Is this what Muslims believe?

Suicide bombers carried out simultaneous attacks on Shiite Muslim shrines in Iraq on Tuesday, detonating multiple explosions that ripped through crowds of pilgrims. At least 143 people were killed and 430 wounded ? the bloodiest day since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Unofficial casualty reports, however, put the toll in Baghdad and Karbala as high as 223.
I don't know what this is supposed to accomplish for al Qaeda. Maybe this:
But some Shiites lashed out at U.S. forces. Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Hussein al-Sistani, blamed the Americans for not providing security on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar.
Of course, that could just be journalist spin, but there's also this:
"This is the work of Jews and American occupation forces," a loudspeaker outside Kazimiya blared. Inside, cleric Hassan Toaima told an angry crowd, "We demand to know who did this so that we can avenge our martyrs."
These are the times that try Iraqi souls. They have to decide how much they want freedom and peace and determine whether they're willing to stand up to the terrorists, the Ayatollahs and the dark ignorance in their own society and demand a secular democracy based on tolerance and recogniton of human rights. If they aren't we can't do it for them. This reflexive blaming of Jews and Americans is just idiotic.
A mob of Iraqis assaulted U.S. troops and medics who tried to control crowds and help wounded at Kazimiya, pelting them with stones and forcing their convoy of Humvees back into a nearby walled outpost. Two soldiers suffered broken bones. When the Iraqis tried to storm the outpost, U.S. soldiers fired tear gas to disperse them.
I remember a video report early on where U. S. Troops were not allowed near Shiite holy sites where resistors were holed up and firing at them. They didn't want us near those places. But they can't have it both ways. Still, I wonder if this childishness is really respresentative of the whole society.

Follow up: The WaPo report contains this:
Hisham Salman Abboud, one of the guards, said there was such a surge of people trying to get into the shrine that the guards had stopped searching them. "In the rush of people, we could not stop everyone and search them. We were told not to search people. It was a very big mistake."
Fortunately, this blaming of the U.S. doesn't seem to be the consensus. Iraqi bloggers are pointing out that this is exactly what Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was threatening in his celebrated memorandum.

Instapundit has another roundup on electronic voting.

I don't see why this is so difficult. I pretty much agree with Glenn that there's nothing wrong with paper ballots, but I don't really think there was much wrong with punch card ballots either. I've always thought that if someone is too stupid to fill out a proper ballot, his votes shouldn't count anyway. Of course, Democrats, who rely heavily on coalitions of ignorant people who take their word for how they should vote, find this intolerable.

I can't really see any way to make the voting system absolutely free from error or fraud. Motor Voter laws and allowing people to register without proof of citizenship, which Democrats back vociferously and practically an invitation for non-citizens to vote. Then there are crooked county and precinct officials.

I don't see why a computer system that takes the voter's input and prints out a ballot he can verify and slip into the ballot box couldn't be developed. If he doesn't agree with the printed ballot, he can void it and put it in a separate box for spoiled ballots. If the equipment breaks down, there should be at least a backup system that can print out uniquely coded ballots that voters can mark in the booth as they have done for years.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Mickey Kaus answers his critics

as to why he has been so critical of Kerry. Now if he could give us a persuasive explanation for his being a Democrat, . . . er, other than that his job depends on it.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hollywood isn't consistently idiotic

Occasionally, like tonight it does recognize exellence. I didn't see the movies in which the Best Actors and Actresses were featured. LOTR won all 11 awards for which it was nominated. If they had one for longest film it would have gotten 12.

Peter Jackson deserves these awards. LOTR is a story that only recently became feasible to film. That he did so with respect and sensitivity to the original is something rare in the movie industry.

Blair pleads insanity

The NYTimes reviews Jayson Blair's book. He "expresses little remorse for the pain his actions caused." How ungrateful can you get?

Couldn't they have told their supporters $40,000,000 ago?

Howard Kurtz reports that there was deep schism inside Dean's campaign. "Dean, they concluded, did not really want to be president."
In different conversations and in different ways, according to several people who worked with him, Dean said at the peak of his popularity late last year that he never expected to rise so high, that he didn't like the intense scrutiny, that he had just wanted to make a difference. "I don't care about being president," he said. Months earlier, as his candidacy was taking off, he told a colleague: "The problem is, I'm now afraid I might win."
Wow. I wonder what his donors will say next time someone hits them up for money.
Interviews with more than a dozen Dean advisers -- portions of which were not for attribution because many did not want to be viewed as disloyal to their former boss -- produced a picture far different from the public image of a hip, high-tech operation of dedicated Deaniacs.

It was, instead, a dysfunctional political family, filled with tales of blocking access to the candidate, neutralizing internal rivals, trying to penalize reporters deemed unfriendly. And some of its members just plain despised each other.
Memo to self: When I run for president, don't hire Joe Trippi.

As if the administration didn't have enough trouble . . .

after being placed in a position by state courts to have to endorse a Constitutional amendent to outlaw gay marriage, and having the head of the Fed announce that Social Security benefits need to be reduced, Bush will be thrilled to learn that his Treasury Department has announced that "publishers . . . may face grave legal consequences for editing manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy.

Self-conscious Heroism

Byron York has a piece in The Hill about Kerry's fixation on his months in Vietnam. He cites a 1996 report in the Boston Globe by Charles Sennot that indicates the mythic character his "crowded hour" has taken on:
The future senator was so �focused on his future ambitions,� Sennott reported, that he bought a Super-8 movie camera, returned to the scene, and re-enacted the skirmish on film.
He screened it for Sennot on his home television. One is reminded a little of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, or of Bill Clinton's letter to his Draft Board revealing his youthful ambitions.

I'm not sure what to think of this. It seems odd, as if during the moments of high danger and action he was thinking, "This is going to look great on my resume!" I don't think it detracts from his heroism. The desire to do great deeds and win glory and honor has motivated many a soldier, but how does it fit with his Anti-war radicalism when he returned home?

Nader's Nadir

Jonathan Last describes the "Impeach Bush" movement, invoked by Ralph Nader on Tim Russert's program. Considering what impeachment did for Bill Clinton, I think it might be a good way to keep Democrats in the House busy while exposing the irrational hatred so many of them bear toward the President.

The grounds, it seems, would be that Bush has violated international law by going to war in Iraq. They might be more successful by pursuing impeachment in the U.N., which might have the added benefit of getting us out of that sinkhole.

I followed a link to this site of the "nonpartisan national Campaign to Impeach Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld (CIBCAR)." Nonpartisan? What is the point of calling itself nonpartisan?

The CIBCAR is the project of University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle.
The foundation for impeaching both presidents [Bush and his father George H. W. Bush] is quite similar in that it cites violations of Constitutional and international law as well as breaches in U.N. Charter. Additionally, Bush has exceeded the powers of his office, prepared and conspired to commit war crimes in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.. . .

Boyle is internationally renowned for his defense of human rights and has been a legal consultant to countries fighting for independence.
I would think that someone renowned for his defense of human rights would be lauding the restoration of those rights to the people of Iraq, but I guess that's how nonpartisan legal consultants think.