Monday, April 26, 2004

What is Impartial?
After Bush endorsed Sharon's plan to disengage from Gaza, maintain settlements in the West Bank, and reject arab demands to return to Israel, Arabs complained that the US is not being impartial. As the AP put it, "Arab anger over Israel's plan to leave Gaza and parts of the West Bank is focused on the United States, which Arabs accuse of abandoning the role of impartial mediator."

My question is, why is this not impartial? When the referee disqualified Mike Tyson for biting off Holyfield's ear, was that biased? After all, he didn't deduct points from Holyfield to be "balanced"; he didn't didn't blame Holyfield for enraging Tyson; he didn't just clean up the blood and let the fight continue. Instead, he saw a clear transgression of the rules, and he moved against the violator, and the violator only. The US, or Bush, is not "pre-judging" anything. The arabs have a clear and documented history of war, terrorism, genocide, and mendacity. To reject their calls for more of the same is entirely impartial. To perform mental gymnastics in order to pretend they have done nothing wrong is what is biased.

On a side note, kudos to the AP for providing some context to this story. Of course, there is room for improvement, but this is not too bad.
The "right of return," meanwhile, is a rallying cry for Arabs, particularly hard-line opponents of Israel. Many Arab states, in hopes of keeping anti-Israeli fervor alive, deny Palestinians property, citizenship and other rights that might make their lives as refugees easier. While Palestinians living in bleak camps in Lebanon may dream of going home, few are willing to say out loud that others who have settled in Europe or North America may be less interested.
I Don't Have Time for This.
No, really. Work is ramping up, so there won't be much for a couple weeks, I expect. Maybe a little.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Rest in Peace, Pat Tillman
The latest report is that NFL-player-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman has been killed in Afghanistan. This newlywed millionaire had a lot more to lose than the rest of us, but he was willing to put his life on the line to protect the rest of us. Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, and may rest in peace, always.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

UN Peace-Keepers are a Joke
A sick, murderous joke. And Kerry wants to bring these guys into Iraq, to do what? Shoot American soldiers?
NPR Covers for JFK
This morning on NPR, Bob Edwards, or who ever it was, said that John Kerry served in Vietnam for "less than one year." It's nice to see NPR get so creative with the rounding. If he had said "only four months" it would have been more accurate, and for the same number of syllables. This is sort of like saying Kerry donated "less than $1 million" to charity last year.
Pre-Emptive Hypocrisy
While I agree that the Bush (and Clinton) administration could have done a lot more to protect us from 9/11, I think most of the complaints are overly reliant on hindsight. In particular, when people and organizations that are on the record as being anti-war, anti-profiling, and pro-UN, then argue that Bush should have been more aggressive, it reeks -- reeks! -- of partisan hypocrisy. Who am I thinking of? How about the NYT?

In an editorial this week that embodies the left's unmitigated gall, the New York Times castigated President Bush for not doing enough after receiving an Aug. 6, 2001, briefing memo warning vaguely of bin Laden-planned domestic terrorism. According to the Times, Mr. Bush should have "rushed back to the White House, assembled all his top advisers and demanded to know what, in particular, was being done to screen airline passengers to make sure people who fit the airlines' threat profiles were being prevented from boarding American planes."

That's right. The same editorial board that has barbecued the Bush Justice Department after the September 11 attacks for fingerprinting young male temporary visa-holders traveling from terror-sponsoring and terror-friendly nations (editorial, June 6, 2002); temporarily detaining asylum-seekers from high-risk countries for background screening (editorial, Dec. 28, 2002); and sending undercover agents to investigate mosques suspected of supporting terrorism (editorial, May 31, 2002) now expects us to believe it would have applauded Mr. Bush for his vigilance if he had swiftly ordered airport security officials to stop thousands of young Middle Eastern men at airports during the summer 2001 on the basis of an ill-defined threat.

Unsurprisingly, when Attorney General John Ashcroft acted decisively to detain more than 1,200 potential Zacarias Moussaouis after September 11, he was lambasted by Democrats, the American Civil Liberties Union, minority groups, and, yes, the New York Times editorial board, which attacked Mr. Ashcroft's "extreme measures" (Nov. 10, 2001) against illegal alien detainees who were merely "Muslim men with immigration problems" (Sept. 10, 2002).

See what I mean?

And yes, this is rather similar to an Ace of Spades post.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Nice Turnaround
Another dead terrorist! Nice work Israel. And now Hamas won't reveal Rantisi's replacement in hopes he will live longer than four weeks. I'm guessing not.

Remember what this pig represented:
Rantisi ... often insisted that Palestinians would not relinquish their claim to Israel, predicting that all land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean would ultimately fall to Palestinian control and ownership.

And this is how Hamas treats its own people:
Israeli government sources said they struck at the first available opportunity but had to wait for weeks because Rantisi had surrounded himself with children.
Down on Air America
That is really, really cold:

But paranoia and conspiratorial idiocy would be a big improvement on what Air America has been broadcasting.
A Liberal Hawk
Paul Berman edits Dissent magazine, but his leftism does not come through with his hawkish, and I think, realistic stance on Islamism and Iraq. In the NYT on the 15th, he did an excellent job of identifying the roots and solution for Islamic terrorism. The root:

These movements draw on four tenets: a belief in a paranoid conspiracy theory, according to which cosmically evil Jews, Masons, Crusaders and Westerners are plotting to annihilate Islam or subjugate the Arab people; a belief in the need to wage apocalyptic war against the cosmic conspiracy; an expectation that, post-apocalypse, the Islamic caliphate of ancient times will re-emerge as a utopian new society; and a belief that, meanwhile, death is good, and should be loved and revered.

That's it in a nutshell. And when you recognize that bin Laden is stone cold insane, it suggests some different solutions than if the diagnoses is that capitalist, colonial oppression drove him to it. Berman:

That is because terror has never been a matter of a few hundred crazies who could be rounded up by the police and special forces. Terror grows out of something larger — an enormous wave of political extremism.
But everyone who feels drawn to that [anti-war] conclusion had better acknowledge its full meaning: the unavoidable implication that we would be better off today with Saddam Hussein in power; better off with economic sanctions still strangling the Iraqi people; better off with American army bases still occupying Saudi soil (Osama bin Laden's original grievance against us); and better off without the progress on weapons proliferation in the Muslim world (unless you believe in the sheer-coincidence theory, in which case, you think that progress would have happened willy-nilly). That is a pretty horrifying set of alternatives.

He's also correct when he says Bush has not been very eloquent or successful in his attempts to bring either a domestic or international audience around to this vision. However, he seems to blindly partisan (how else to explain it?) when he says the Democrats can do this best. Is he aware that John "law enforcement" Kerry thinks that the terror threat is "exaggerated" and that this same fellow is the Democratic nominee?

Anyway, this article about Berman is titled Bush is an idiot, but he was right about Saddam. Basically, he argues that Bush has done a horrible job handling Iraq and Islam, but the left has not even recognized the threat. Given these choices, I would take the idiot who's moving in the right direction, but Berman seems to think we are better off with the "enlightened" yet completely blind. There is still good stuff in there, despite that.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

I Don't Have Time for This
Obviously, I haven't really posted this week. And this despite all the stuff going on, with Bush scratching Sharon's back, awful violence in Iraq, and the 9/11 Commission. I have just had a ton of stuff to do at work. I do still work for THE MAN, unlike some people. So, I have decided to drop the eponymous name of this blog, and go to something more appropriate:

I Don't Have Time for This!
The Jinx
No sooner do I add A Small Victory to my blogroll, and Michele goes and closes up shop.

On a related note, apparently here is where blogs go to die.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Can We Get Columbia U to Secede?
The most hare-brained crap seems to come out of this one school. Here is the latest:

But in the eyes of Mahmood Mamdani, a Uganda-born political scientist and cultural anthropologist at Columbia University, both those assumptions are wrong. Not only does he argue that terrorism does not necessarily have anything to do with Islamic culture; he also insists that the spread of terror as a tactic is largely an outgrowth of American cold war foreign policy.

You've also got Edward "every one of you is a racist" Said, Nicholas "Mogadishu" De Genova, and one of my first posts, on Moshe "economic growth makes us poor" Adler. Yeech.
This story of profligacy and greed just makes me want to scream. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) wants to spend billions of tax dollars on useless highway projects, basically just because he can. "This is the time to take advantage of the position I'm in," he says. His attitude towards our money is disgusting. He feels entitled to confiscate whatever he can and screw America. I'm not sure if his honesty makes it better or worse: "It's not a good way to legislate, although I got a lot of stuff in it," Mr. Young told The Anchorage Daily News in December. "I mean I stuffed it like a turkey." And of course, as always, this means even more taxes for the rest of us. "He said he would support an increase in the federal tax on gasoline — a 'user fee,' he called it — to pay for even more projects than were included in the newly passed bill."

Here is Mr. Young's excuse to rob you blind:

One [bridge] here in Ketchikan, would be among the biggest in the United States: a mile long, with a top clearance of 200 feet from the water -- 80 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge and just 20 feet short of the Golden Gate Bridge. It would connect this economically depressed, rain-soaked town of 7,845 people to an island that has about 50 residents and the area's airport, which offers six flights a day (a few more in summer). It could cost about $200 million.

The other bridge would span an inlet for nearly two miles to tie Anchorage to a port that has a single regular tenant and almost no homes or businesses. It would cost up to $2 billion.

This really counts as treason.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Detroit Muslims Support Sharia
I have friends who think I speak to broadly about Muslims. "You can't blame all Muslims for what a few do," and that jazz. Here, however, is yet more evidence that the "tiny minority" may be more of a majority.

Mosque participants were asked, whether they agree or disagree with the statement, "Shari'ah should be the law of the land in Muslim countries?" Shari'ah refers to Islamic law.
Apply Islamic Law in Muslim Lands
Strongly Agree — 59%
Somewhat Agree — 22%
Somewhat Disagree — 8%
Strongly Disagree — 3%
Don't Know — 8%

And these are American Muslims.
Can Europe Reform?
I'm on a little IHT kick and the have had a few articles on the stalling attempts at reform in Europa. I was thinking just yesterday that it is funny how there is an accepted common wisdom in the media/political/economic classes that Europe needs to reform, and yet 1) actual Europeans haven't gotten the message and 2) not many people apply the same logic to the US. "Oh, France clearly needs to rein in their social welfare spending because it is destroying their economic growth, jobs, and fiscal picture... and by the way, the US needs a single payer health plan and Medicare has to be expanded, etc." I don't quite get how that happens.

Anyhoo, the IHT has a front page article today on how everyone "knows" reform is necessary, but yet it never happens.

"Forecasts of structural change in Europe have been plentiful - and wrong." But then he goes on to make the same prediction. The idea is that the expansion of the EU to the East will force more competition. However, Europeans seem to have an unlimited ability to shoot themselves in the foot. I expect they will continue to complain that capitalism is destroying their countries while simultaneously upping their dose of lethal socialism.

Last week, the European Union cut its forecast for growth in the euro area this year to a paltry 1.7 percent, less than half its increased forecast for the United States. Changes that strike economists as necessary and inevitable scare many voters. The voters are prevailing.

And a couple days ago they reported that France and Germany find reform doesn't get easier. This article focuses on Germany and it describes the self-delusion of the German electorate, although I would like to know HOW this happens.

In Germany, where some taxes have been lowered and some suppleness brought to the labor market (but without a spurt of economic growth), speculation is now ablossom that jagged-edge reform measures are over and done. The r-word, it is said, should be used by the government only in connection with feel-good areas like research, vocational training and innovation. The line among Social Democrats is that if the Legislature in the country's biggest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, falls in 2005 after 39 years with an SPD hand on power, Schröder goes, too, in 2006.
This week, the fastest-rising book on the main German nonfiction best-seller list, at No. 5, is called, in rough translation, "Germany, the Decline of a Superstar." ... For Steingart, apart from the radical reform of the German tax, labor and social welfare systems, the country cannot regain its lost standing without confronting existential structural problems.
But he turns much of his fire on Germans' lack of willingness to deal with reality. Germans, in the face of recent history, he writes, hold their hands in front of their eyes in refusing to admit that the German Model has disappeared. The political class recognizes it, says Steingart, a journalist at Der Spiegel newsmagazine, but the country's continuing fearful gaze has blocked a meaningful change in its politics.

New Links
I added
Chistian Science Monitor
International Herald Tribune
A Small Victory
Right Wing Atheists
Michele at A Small Victory counts. Good for her.

Monday, April 05, 2004

More Fake Hate-Crimes
Now a Canadian college student has been caught in a hate-crime hoax.

An international student who claimed he was the victim of two racially-motivated assaults has now admitted that he fabricated the attacks – duping the police and the media into investigating his story.
Crown prosecutor Jim McAvity told the court Malik's fabrication was an attempt to draw attention to a perceived problem with racism following a brawl at a campus pub Friday night.

A certain class of people (I'm talking to you, Jesse Jackson) clearly think it is in their interest to exacerbate racial problems instead of reducing them.

Via Ace of Spades.
People Don't Like Paying Taxes
Apparently, in Massachusetts, a ballot initiative to raise state taxes was defeated, but compassionate conservatives wanted to give bleeding-heart do-gooders a second chance to contribute to the common good. Instead of raising taxes, they added a voluntary check-box that would allow people to pay the higher tax rate, if they so chose. Apparently, 0.03% of taxpayers have opted for the higher tax. My question is, what happened to everyone who voted to raise taxes on everyone else? They are good enough to confiscate other people's money, but not good enough pony up themselves? Or does no one who voted in favor actually pay taxes?
VDH Breaks the Mold
This essay is so good, it needs to be preserved on dead trees too. Obviously, I am not going to post the whole thing, but I am going to print it and reread it. This is quite a catalogue of the "achievements" of that festering boil known as the Middle East. And in the end he says that blaming all of the problems on Western interference or on a few corrupt leaders cannot explain the level of depravity. Instead, it has soaked through.

The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote, and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological
If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.

What I have snipped is just the tip of the iceberg. Read it! Save it!
OK, this isn't really breaking news at this point, but it is a decent summary and I wanted to put it up.

A mounting pile of evidence indicates that Saddam was able to continue his brutal regime, not in spite of the oil-for-food program, but because of it. [...]
[ClaudeHankes-Drielsma] estimates that the Oil for Food scam is likely to emerge as the largest financial scandal in history. [...]
Russians by far benefited the most — receiving more than 2.5 billion barrels. In all, 46 recipients are from Russia. The largest recipient was the Russian state itself, at 1.4 billion barrels. The French were the second-largest beneficiary of oil, at 165 million barrels, including 36 million barrels to Patrick Maugein, CEO of the oil firm SOCO International and a close political and financial supporter of President Jacques Chirac.

I continue to hate the French.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Candace Parker's Dunk
I still haven't seen it, but when a girl wins the McDonald's All-American dunk contest, I knew it was a fix. Apparently what happened is the guys went for the gold and missed, while she just dumped one in and that was good enough. Jason Whitlock at ESPN is not amused.

Her pedestrian dunks didn't advance equality or women's basketball. The judges and the crowd treated her like she'd performed with a disability. Seven judges gave her a perfect 10 on her final dunk. Had a healthy boy completed the same dunks in an all-star dunk contest, he might've been booed off the court.

Is that the equality we're looking for?

Parker is one of the most talented female athletes in the world. She's worked as hard as any boy to hone her skills. So it means little when she wins a contest tilted in her favor. That's degrading. And so is the subsequent patronizing news coverage.

The story could've been told straight. No one had to pretend that this was some sort of historic moment in sport. But that's not what we do when it comes to women's sports. We overhype everything. We create monumental myths. There are people who still believe that Brandi Chastain and the U.S. women's World Cup team pulled off the equivalent of the Miracle on Ice.

That's because there's a strong, militant and active segment of our population that too often measures women by the same standards as men. And who says that's a good thing?

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