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Monday, February 28, 2005

Debbie Schlussel

Debbie Schlussel has a great review of the the pretentious moralism about "free speech" compared to the tawdry reality behind the scenes in a post re: "Deep Throat."

Publius Pundit - Blogging the democratic revolution

Check this live blog from Lebanon about the brewing revolution for freedom going on there! Complete with pics. Fascinating.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode

Mark Steyn writes that the collapse of Europe is a matter of time

"Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg's about to go up.
For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature."

He goes on to state, essentially, that a European caliphate will be easier to deal with than our present duplicitious allies. heh.

Victor Hanson in the Opinion Journal piles on, referring to the Europeans as "ankle biters" who are like smug morally pretentious teens, living off the resources of Mom and Dad while condemning their non vegan, or fur wearing, or environmentally irresponsible... ways. It is time for them to move out, take care of themselves (i.e., Pershing missile deployment, German unification, recognition of Soviet Republics, NATO expansion, the removal of Milosevic, and the liberation of Afghanistan), without our help. He states that we should......" not take very seriously their views on the world until we learn exactly what is going on inside Europe during these years of its uncertainty. America is watching enormous historical forces being unleashed on the continent from its own depopulation, new anti-Semitism, and rising Islamicism to Turkish demands for EU membership and further expansion of the EU into the backwaters of Eastern Europe that will bring it to the doorstep of Russia. Whether its politics and economy will evolve to embrace more personal freedom, its popular culture will integrate its minorities, and its military will step up to protect Western values and visions is unclear. But what is certain is that the U.S. cannot remain a true ally of a militarily weak but shrill Europe should its politics grow even more resentful and neutralist, always nursing old wounds and new conspiracies, amoral in its inability to act, quite ready to preach to those who do. "

I myself am reminded of Shelley's Ozymandius

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said--"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart . . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Cultures, even Christian ones, come and go.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Beirut's Berlin Wall

This is a must read. "Enough!" That's one of the simple slogans you see scrawled on the walls around Rafiq Hariri's grave site here. And it sums up the movement for political change that has suddenly coalesced in Lebanon and is slowly gathering force elsewhere in the Arab world.

"We want the truth." That's another of the Lebanese slogans, painted on a banner hanging from the Martyr's Monument near the mosque where Hariri is buried. It's a revolutionary idea for people who have had to live with lies spun by regimes that were brutally clinging to power. People want the truth about who killed Hariri last week, but on a deeper level they want the truth about why Arab regimes have failed to deliver on their promises of progress and prosperity.

If this is true, it could be the dawning of a new day in the Arab world.

Beirut's Berlin Wall (

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

In the Midst of Budget Decadence, a Leader Will Arise

One can only hope. I sure long for a leader who fits the profile in David Brooks' New York Times Op-Ed Column.

Two of my most severe criticisms of GW Bush are:

1) the horribly immoral, stupid, reckless, and dishonest prescription drug plan.
2) the war in Iraq, which, although it had a great deal of moral justification, does not meet the definition of a "just war" (an ancient moral calculus that attempts to provide a justification of when war is permissible. For more info, go HERE.)

Both have to do with flagrant, irresponsible and wastefully foolish spending. We are eating our seed corn, and we had better wake up soon.

The incredibly stupid cries from the left that we are "transferring wealth to the rich" and blaming the economic problems we have on "tax cuts" is so stupid it doesn't deserve to get a respectful answer.

The problem is not cutting taxes. It is continuing to spend money (YOUR money) that we don't have.

Read the article, and pray for a leader like Brooks envisions.

Will Leviathan Prevail?

An EXCELLENT piece on a case being argued before the Supreme Court on eminent domain and property rights. The recurring, frightening, and increasingly recurrent scenario of the state seizing property because it believes the property can be put to "better" use actually threatens the concept of private property altogether. has the article.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap Does Not Fix Social Security

The Heritage Foundation states cites SSA’s actuarial study showing that that eliminating the payroll tax cap entirely would only delay the start of Social Security’s annual deficits by six years, from 2018 to 2024. Eliminating the wage cap on payroll taxes while paying benefits on only the first $87,900 of earnings would delay the start of annual deficits by an additional year, to 2025.

Therefore, I can almost assure you that congress will pressure to "fix" Social Security in this manner.

The Jews Did It!!!!

I really like Pat Buchanan, but sometimes he is off the rails. The latest screed (WorldNetDaily: Baiting a trap for Bush?)is a thinly disguised accusation of Israel for killing Lebanese ex-prime minister Harari, in order to draw the US into a full fledged war vs. Islam.

Sometimes the man can be very bright, and his knowledge of foreign affairs certainly eclipses my own.

Sometimes he just doesn't make sense, though.

Hunter Thompson R.I.P.

Hunter Thompson has killed himself.

He was hilariously funny, and a great writer. I liked him because he was not one of those mewling whining self destructive types who constantly bawls out about the pain he is in, and then goes out to do some more idiocy that brings pain to himself, and finally blames the right for his problems. He was coarse, bitter, cynical, wigged out, incisive, astute, and a delight to read.

The fact that he rejected God, truth, binding ethics and meaning coupled with his paranoid conspiracy tendencies automatically relegated his life to a fringe existence. That WAS sad and it was sad how he ended it, of course. I liked him because I always will sort of envy the guy who spits in the eye of life. He had courage, or maybe just cold cynicism, which is the best substitute for faith based courage a man who believes as he did could have. I respect him for that.

His world view made was similiar to today's "liberal" in its jumping off place (man is alone in the universe, ethics are a myth, "meaning" is a tool for controlling the masses) but the similiarity stopped where it began. His cold eyed realism caused him to despise the left and held them in almost as much contempt as I do.

He was a wonderfully talented man. I will miss his stuff.

Story is HERE

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Greenpeace bites off more than it can chew

This is a howlingly funny story from the London Times Online

"When 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail." Well, sorta. What they were not prepared for was the fact that the floor traders turned on them and just beat the living crap out of them.

When a trader left the building shortly before 2pm, using a security swipe card, a protester dropped some coins on the floor and, as he bent down to pick them up, put his boot in the door to keep it open.
Two minutes later, three Greenpeace vans pulled up and another 30 protesters leapt out and were let in by the others.
They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.

What then happened was best described as "the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement."

The traders, understandably irritated at the intrusion (and the leftist sympathies of Greenpeace, commodity trading is the raw freedom of markets at its purest essence), left the trading ring, and attacked the protesters in a one-way barroom brawl. They chased the protesters back into the lobby, punching and kicking them, and literally kicked them out into the street.

Having traded on the floor for a living, I can assure you that the kind of people down there are not marshmallow types. It is high energy, egocentric, aggressive, vicious, extremely macho (I know of no women traders who spend any real time in the pits or trading rings) and intensely competitive. I have seen fistfights break out over "outtrades." An "outtrade" occurs during the giant auction of open outcry trading when one trader believes he has bought or sold to another trader, and the second party does not believe such a trade has taken place. The trading exchanges take a hands-off approach and say "you work it out between yourselves" as to who is mistaken. Of course, brawls are not an acceptable way of "working it out," but you have intense raging emotions of fear and greed mixed with the rowdy confusion of the markets and the testosterone fueled atmosphere of the pit. Security comes and drags 'em out; they are fined, or suspended, or both, and the games go on!

If I were a "peace love dope" kind of leftist, they would be the LAST people I would want to take on...., kinda like walking into a biker bar and screaming at them that they are all homophobe neanderthal cretins. Not real smart.

The funniest line came from one Greenpeace dolt who sat outside in the police van, nursing a bruised skull. After calling the floor traders a bunch of "thugs" he said "i have never encountered people so resistant to considering another point of view." heh

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jimmy Carter's Legacy

I posted a few days ago about what a despicable person and poor president I thought Jimmy Carter to be. Then I discovered on Power Line that Carter actually went to the Soviets TWICE to ask their help and promise payback if they would assist in seeing Reagan defeated. The whole article is a recount of damning evidence against the man, but
This article in FrontPage contains the following:

Soviet diplomatic accounts and material from the archives show that in January 1984 former President Jimmy Carter dropped by Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's residence for a private meeting.
Carter expressed his concern about and opposition to Reagan's defense buildup. He boldly told Dobrynin that Moscow would be better off with someone else in the White House. If Reagan won, he warned, 'There would not be a single agreement on arms control, especially on nuclear arms, as long as Reagan remained in power.'
Using the Russians to influence the presidential election was nothing new for Carter.
Schweizer reveals Russian documents that show that in the waning days of the 1980 campaign, the Carter White House dispatched businessman Armand Hammer to the Soviet Embassy.
Hammer was a longtime Soviet-phile, and he explained to the Soviet ambassador that Carter was 'clearly alarmed' at the prospect of losing to Reagan.
Hammer pleaded with the Russians for help. He asked if the Kremlin could expand Jewish emigration to bolster Carter's standing in the polls."
"Carter won't forget that service if he is elected," Hammer told Dobrynin.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The UN scandal (no, NOT oil for food)

Living in the shadow of the Oil-for-Food controversy is another major United Nations scandal that may cause untold damage to the world body’s already declining reputation. U.N. peacekeepers and civilian officials from the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo stand accused of major human rights violations. At least 150 allegations involving rape, forced prostitution and other henious crimes have been made AGAINST THE UN MISSION ITSELF. The allegations concern are defenseless refugees, many of them children, who have already been brutalized and terrorized by years of war and who looked to the U.N. for safety and protection. I am torn between fury and sadness and disgust, all at the same time.

Lawyer Spends a Million Dollars in Quest for a Verdict

Excuse me while I vomit. After a drooling recount of how much this guy has already made by suing people, the Times records how he is taking out an ad looking for the holy grail.... A billion dollar settlement.

The New York Times Lawyer Spends a Million Dollars in Quest for a Verdict

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Smart growth isn't so smart.

Thanks to A Constrained Vision for an article that challenges the assumptions that planned growth of communities is inherently better.

Private Pensions in Chile

This morning's Washington Post has a good article on the private pension plans that have completely replaced the old government plans in Chile. Economic libertarians like myself have long touted Chile as an alternative model to the creaky ossified bureaucratic mess we have here in our Social Security system. The article points out both the pros and the negatives in Chile's system. Worth a read.

The Tolerance Police in Force again

Review Journal has a story about Hans Hoppe, a 55 year old world renown economist who lectures at UNLV and who has stuck his foot in it. Talking about groups of people, how they plan and spend and thus how it affects the economy, Hoppe made observations about several groups of people and their spending patterns, including this one, that: "homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than heterosexuals. Reasons for the phenomenon include the fact that homosexuals tend not to have children. They also tend to live riskier lifestyles than heterosexuals."

A student was "offended" and lodged an informal complaint. Hoppe said that, at the request of university officials, he clarified in his next class that he was speaking in generalities only and did not mean to offend anyone. As an example of what he meant, he offered this: Italians tend to eat more spaghetti than Germans, and Germans tend to eat more sauerkraut than Italians. It is not universally true, he said, but it is generally true. The student then filed a formal complaint, Hoppe said, alleging that Hoppe did not take the complaint seriously.

Crap, I don't take the complaint seriously, either, but UNLV did, docking him a week's pay and issuing a letter of reprimand. Hoppe, a tenured prof, has rejected this, and has enlisted the ACLU in his case against university officials.

Hoppe said he is dumbfounded by the university's response to the student's complaint. He states "I have given this lecture all over the world and never had any complaints about it." It is not his job, he said, to consider how a student might feel about economic theories.

Bingo, Dr. Hoppe.

Full text of the article is HERE

Iranian weapons in Iraq?

Rantburg has a story on 16 trucks full of weaponry seized in Iraq. The people involved with the smuggling admitted to being involved with Al Fajer, a branch of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Carter ends silence, praises Iraqi voting

James Earl Carter, the only president we ever had whose popularity rate dipped below the prime rate, has once more proved why he was the most inept president in memory. Honest to God, I can't remember when the man has been right about ANYTHING, except that he supports Habitat for Humanity. He has taken the ignominious tack of being the first ex-president to actively criticise and attempt to undermine the policies of a sitting president. After publicly attempting to undermine elections in Iraq by stating that the elections could not possibly be held in January and if they WERE held, would be illegitimate, he was simply humiliated by the results. It only took ten days after the election for him to choke out an acknowledgement that the election was a success. He is a venomous, small minded bitter little man who has never been able to get over losing to Reagan. I despise him. Story in The Washington Times

Friday, February 11, 2005

Victor Hanson Why Democracy?

Victor Hanson's article on "Why Democracy? argues well enough that democracy is good and we should support it.

Well, Hooray!!! I support it.

The question is not whether I should "support" it but whether it is worthwhile to spend the blood of our kids (just found out today that a very good friend of mine has a son in Baghdad) and gazillions of dollars to "support" democracy halfway around the globe.

From the article "Realists counter that democratic roots will surely starve in sterile Middle East soil, and it is a waste of time to play Wilsonian games with a people full of anti-American hatred who display only ingratitude for the huge investment of American lives and treasure spent on their freedom." Color me realist.

The problem is, how do I say something like this loudly and vehemently without turning my back on, or denigrating the sacrifice of some very brave young men and women, the latches of whose shoes I am unworthy to tie?


You peasants have such quaint ideas sometimes. Whatever gave you the idea you had a right to free speech. TCS: Tech Central Station - The War on Speech

No goals remain for the left, just destructive revenge?

Every once in a while you read something and say "Just Damn! This guy has pegged it!"
This article in EuroPundits by Nelson Ascher is one of those kind of articles. He posits that the fall of the Berlin wall left European socialists and the general left as orphans without a cause. To fight for something is simultaneously to fight against whatever threatens it, and thus, the leftists were anti-Western and anti-Americans too, anti-capitalistic in short. Without a "home base," they have simply morphed into a virulent anti Americanism, with nothing to be FOR, but only resenting and loathing the ideology replacing USSR communism, or its Maoist counterpart.

Now, whatever they wanted to defend or protect doesn’t exist anymore. They have only things to destroy, and all those things are personified in the US, in its very existence. They hate the USA, but have no world power to threaten it. Thus the left's nascent alliance with the most UNLIKELY of world powers, radical Islam.

Read the link. It is one of the best and most incisive articles I have seen in a while.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Fiorina Sacked

Hewlett-Packard Forces Celebrity CEO to Quit (

I don't know (nor care) if the decline in HP was due to Carly Fiorina, or other problems with Hewlett Packard. I do know that under her direction, the company was transformed from a "flat" management structure where all employees were valued and respected to a typical corporate prima donna elitist culture. Moreover, a company that once stood for rock solid reliability and equipment that was synonymous with quality has become a repository for mass marketed junk, abysmal customer "service" and management that seems to need a proctologist to locate their heads. Good riddance.

Iran: Police raid church, arrest at least 80 leaders

This one rocked me.

There are myriad brave souls out there who seldom, if ever, are noticed for standing up to evil. These people have no voice, and we are all worried about nukes in Iran, so no one is going to say much.

People who pray should pray for these people.
WorldNetDaily: Iran: Police raid church, arrest at least 80 leaders