Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mark Steyn - Must Read


Terrorists way too cozy in United Kingdom
...Madrid and London -- along with other events such as the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh -- are, in essence, the opening shots of a European civil war. You can laugh at that if you wish, but the Islamists' most oft-stated goal is not infidel withdrawal from Iraq but the re-establishment of a Muslim caliphate living under sharia that extends to Europe, and there's a lot to be said for taking these chaps at their word and then seeing whether their behavior is consistent with that.

Meanwhile, back at the Pork Farm

Senators Schumer and Clinton voted against CAFTA.

They did this despite knowing, as Democratic House member Henry Cuellar told Kudlow and Company, that:
CAFTA free trade will bolster Central American and Carribean economies, strengthen democracy, bind those nations closer to the US, and reduce the flow of immigration.
Cuellar didn't even mention the phasing out of 60% duties on US produced goods exported to Central America.

Senators Schumer and Clinton may simply have been distracted from the CAFTA "we win-you win" opportunity by a "we win-you lose" election tactic closer to home.

After voting against poor people in Central America and blue collar workers in the US, the Disingenuous Duo turned to gloating about the amount of money they ripped off from the taxpayers in the other 49 states.

As The New York Sun reports:
"We're giddy with excitement because we've done so well for New York," said Senator Schumer, who indeed appeared deliriously pleased as he briefed reporters on the legislation allocating federal funds for highway and transit programs over the next five years. "They said it couldn't be done, but we've actually gotten more funding in the bill and lots of special projects," he said.

Senator Clinton called the measure "a tremendous, tremendous win for New York."
Emphasis mine. Parsing "
we've actually gotten more funding" is left to the reader.

To the victors in transportation funding go the spoils.
Some states are winners and some are losers. Hell of a way to run a national government.

Why do we agree to send our taxes to Washington in exchange for participation in a crap-shoot?
Even in perfect lobbying equity we receive our money back at a discount.

Schumer and Clinton object to Central America's poor benefiting from free trade; and they don't want American exports to Central America to see a 60% reduction in tariffs.

Meanwhile, they celebrate stealing your money for New York (identifying the philosophical thread that leads to these positions is left to the reader - hint, "ability" and "need"):
One of the largest and most notable New York projects in the bill is $100 million to fund studies and design for the proposed Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel, which would stretch from Brooklyn to New Jersey. The inclusion of money for the tunnel was a personal victory for Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat of New York, who has long been pushing for the project.

Mr. Nadler said the rail tunnel would help prevent area highways from being completely gridlocked as traffic increases over the next decade. "Without the tunnel, it'll be totally jammed."
Hershblogger to Nadler: New York gridlock is OK with me. If New York can't cope with New York's problems, why am I expected to?

Apparently it never occurred to Mr. Nadler that gridlock is a natural consequence of providing incentives for too many people to live in a small area. A 5 hour commute might just solve that gridlock problem. It would at least align risks with benefits.

Bailing New York out of a traffic jam is not the responsibility of taxpayers in other states.

Supporters of public broadcasting should note that being forced to fund the New York City Transit Authority is not different from being forced to fund NPR. It's a package. If you like forcing others to pay for NPR, then I commend your obvious enjoyment of funding NYC public transit.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Crazy old Aunt in the Attic


In Helen Thomas' case the oft-used term "veteran reporter" is a euphemism. More properly, it would be "media Methuselah", "dilapidated screedster" or "antiquated buffoon."

I'd tend toward the latter because she does have a certain amusement value. This most recently expressed itself in her promise; "The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself."

Presumaby, if Cheny did announce he would run for President, Ms. Thomas' reportorial options would be strictly limited.

Even this small measure of self-censorship would be highly desirable. Better, there is always the possibility that she'd slip up and mention Cheney's candidacy.

Forced to contemplate the method of her own demise, and
keeping to her spirit of "faire and unbalanced", she might welcome a suggestion as to how her sacrifice could inflict the greatest symbolic damage to the Bush administration.

I submit this idea: suicide bomb.

It would give the Demorcrats an entirely new form of "creating terrorists" about which to keen: "Cheney Responsible for 'Insurgent' outbreak in D.C."; "Terror Alert Level Raised to Pinko."; "Weapon of Mass Delusion Found!"

If she detonated during a press conference, it would obviously have additional salutary effects.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Haram


Ibrahim Hooper is a flack, in the worst sense of the word. He flacks for CAIR, a sleazy organization, in an appropriate sense of the word.

Still, if this is an accurate quote, and their fingers weren't crossed, we have a serious statement regarding terror from American Muslims for the first time.

U.S. Muslims issue anti-terrorism 'fatwa'

"It is 'haram' for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence, and it is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians," he [Hooper] quoted the ruling as saying.
Emphasis added. See also, False aplogies

They don't hate us, they just aren't good negotiators.


Daniel Pipes argues, as did TOC's posts of July 09, 2005 - Tribal Terror?, and July 25, 2005 - Four Aces and a Dupe:

Islamofascista are not killing westerners because of the Palestinians, the Crusades, Afghanistan, Lepanto, Iraq, a genetic predisposition to nihilism, or the resentment of capitalism; the rise of which coincides with the decline, from the 15th century on, of the Caliphate.

The root of an inabilty to compete economically, militarily or ideologically with capitalist societies arises from Islam's fanatic religious conservatism and the concomitant, profound resistance to change of the 15th Century.

"Islamic economics" struggles with this even today. See also, Islamic Terrorism.

Pipes asks What Do the Terrorists Want?:
...In nearly all cases, the jihadi terrorists have a patently self-evident ambition: to establish a world dominated by Muslims, Islam, and Islamic law, the Shari'a. Or, again to cite the Daily Telegraph, their "real project is the extension of the Islamic territory across the globe, and the establishment of a worldwide ‘caliphate' founded on Shari'a law."

Terrorists openly declare this goal. The Islamists who assassinated Anwar el-Sadat in 1981 decorated their holding cages with banners proclaiming the "caliphate or death." A biography of one of the most influential Islamist thinkers of recent times and an influence on Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam declares that his life "revolved around a single goal, namely the establishment of Allah's Rule on earth" and restoring the caliphate.

Bin Laden himself spoke of ensuring that "the pious caliphate will start from Afghanistan." His chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also dreamed of re-establishing the caliphate, for then, he wrote, "history would make a new turn, God willing, in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world's Jewish government." Another Al-Qaeda leader, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, publishes a magazine that has declared "Due to the blessings of jihad, America's countdown has begun. It will declare defeat soon," to be followed by the creation of a caliphate.
Emphasis mine. Worth reading entirely.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Infidels All Look Alike


From Strategy Page.

THAILAND: Ethnic Cleansing in the South

July 22, 2005: The Islamic militants are trying to do some ethnic, and religious, cleansing in the Moslem south. The three southern provinces have a population of some 1.8 million, and only 360,000 of those are Buddhists (the religion of the majority of Thais, who are ethnically different from the Moslems, who are Malays). The terror campaign is having some success, as some ten percent of the southern Buddhists have left the south in the past six months. But many of the remaining Buddhists are arming and preparing to defend themselves, and stay in the south.
The Taliban, you'll recall, outraged the French and the American Left when they used artillery on ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.

Whether killing living Buddhists in Thailand will attract as much disdain is yet to be seen.

If True, Indictments are Due...


Those would be indictments of Justice Department officials.

Dateline:
Seattle.
Seattle Times

Effort here to charge London suspect was blocked
By Hal Bernton and David Heath

This story lends itself to conspiracy theories: if the Justice Department is truly, blatantly and comprehensively this incompetent, then the conspiracy is about what keeps any of them employed.

If they're actually not so entirely feckless, the conspiracy must be about an attempt to steal civil liberties by extending the Patriot Act via feigned incompetence. "We're buffoons. We need more power in order to cope."

If Haroon Aswat's pedigree as a "a highly public aide to Abu Hamza al Masri, the militant cleric whose North London mosque was a hotbed of radical Islamist preaching" is true - in addition to the Seattle charges - and if Hamza
also helped kill nearly 60 Londoners, then the JD has their most serious 'splainin to do since Moussaoui's hard disk was declared immune to profiling despite Coleen Rowley's request.
In May 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced an 11-count indictment by a federal grand jury in New York against Abu Hamza, who allegedly sent Aswat to Oregon to scout out the proposed training camp.

...At the time, however, federal prosecutors chose not to indict Aswat for reasons that are not clear. Asked why Aswat wasn't indicted, a federal official in Seattle replied, "That's a great question."
Indeed, it is.
British intelligence officials now think that in the days and hours before the July 7 bombings, Aswat was in cellphone contact with at least two of the four suicide bombers, according to The Times of London.

... In 1999, Aswat came to the attention of the FBI and federal prosecutors here as part of the investigation into the Bly camp and its founder, former Seattle entrepreneur James Ujaama.
Circumstantial? Yes, indeed - much like finding a trout in the milk.


The point would be that the Patriot Act and security reorganization(s) were supposed to deal with this.

Circumstantial is what it is.

In war, circumstantial evidence is already more than sufficient. If the Patriot Act fails to defuse internecine political warfare then it only serves the purpose of taking away individual freedom.

Sorry. No deal.

It's hard to believe that with a "co-conspirator" having pled guilty and having named names -
"[Ujaama] pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and agreed to testify against Abu Hamza and others." - that Haroon Aswat wasn't ... at least worth a look.

We're taking heat over Gitmo from Travesty International, and somehow we let this guy help slip a bomb or three to the Brits due to departmental rivalry?

If this is true, heads should rotate freely.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Your Point Would Be?

Iraqi insurgents 'war criminals'

Well, if you are Amnesty International that's big news.

The words "Gulag" and "Nazi" are conspicuous by their absence and Amnesty does get in a dig at the US:
It also stresses that the US and allies have themselves committed grave violations, including killings of civilians and torture of prisoners.

"But abuses committed by one side do not and cannot justify abuses by another," the rights group says.
It makes me wonder what they would have said if the prisoners in the real Gulag had risen up en masse and killed their KGB guards by "borscht boarding".

Things You Won't Read in the Lansing State Journal


Defiantly, they ignore the bombs and queue to join the Iraqi army
The south gate of Muthanna army barracks in Baghdad is one of the most frequently bombed sites in Iraq.

Suicide bombers have killed 198 people here since last year. Almost all were potential recruits to the country's fledgling armed forces. Another 465 have been wounded.

Body parts that had been hurled by an explosion over the 30ft high concrete wall a week earlier were still being picked up when the second suicide bomber struck last week.

But, in an extraordinary display of optimism, the youngsters hopeful of being recruited into the forces still come to queue.

Man Bites Dog


Canadians support U.S. In Iraq
poll: 59% say Iraqis better off

Better than here...

Bananada 4


You will need to follow all the links to get all these unfamiliar names. One guy - Hassan Farhat, AKA Abdul Jaber and Abu Khalid - has at least 3. (What's with that anyway?).

If the Canadians aren't frightened, they certainly should be:

Who is Aly Hindy?

Sanctimony is no defense, because even if there truly
is no significant target in Canada, think diversionary attack.

TOTH Small Dead Animals.

Four Aces and a Dupe

Charles Krauthammer: Enemies, foreign and domestic
...The fact that native-born Muslim Europeans are committing terror acts within their own countries shows that this Islamist malignancy long predates Iraq, long predates Afghanistan and long predates 9/11. What Europe had incubated is an enemy within, a threat that for decades Europe simply refused to face.

Early news reports of the London bombings mentioned that police found no suspects among known Islamist cells in Britain. Come again? Why in God's name is a country letting known Islamist cells thrive, instead of just rolling them up?
Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson provide some answers:

Mark Steyn: Mugged by reality?
WITH hindsight, the defining encounter of the age was not between Mohammed Atta's jet and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but that between Mohammed Atta and Johnelle Bryant a year earlier...
Victor Davis Hanson: And Then They Came After Us
We’re at war. How about acting like it?
From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass...
Daniel Pipes adds some statistical references, including - One in four Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists.

Daniel Pipes: British Opinion Surveys from an Islamist Hell
Estimating how many potential terrorists reside in one's country is a highly inexact business, but there's a striking correlation between a British government report recently leaked to London's Times a new opinion survey commissioned by the Daily Telegraph.
Osama Saeed confirms the preceeding:

Osama Saeed: Back to you, Mr Blair
...Mr Blair has attacked the idea of the caliphate - the equivalent of criticising the Pope. He has also remained silent in the face of a rightwing smear campaign against such eminent scholars as Sheikh al-Qaradawi - a man who has worked hard to reconcile Islam with modern democracy. Such actions and omissions fuel the suspicion that we are witnessing a war on Islam itself. If there is any thought that Muslims are fine but their religion can take a hike then Mr Blair should know that we will never be in the corner, in the spotlight, losing our religion.

By putting the onus on Muslims to defeat terror, the prime minister absolves himself of responsibility. Muslims are not in denial of our duties, but who are we meant to be combating?
It seems fairly clear to me: the motivation the terrorists themselves openly proclaim is Islam. One might call it a detectable demographic quirk.

Like, say, Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 40 with a prediliction for large backpacks, chemical laboratories and taking unaccustomed rides on the "tube."


Simple really, about as difficult as determining that I wouldn't support Michael Moore for President.

Character is Instructive

When you next witness this bloated reprobate demanding someone else "fully answer questions", or hear him natter about women's reproductive rights; remember that on this day in 1969 Senator Edward Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crime after a fatal car crash.

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment on her reproductive rights.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

At Last!


Irshad Manji is the author of "The Trouble with Islam Today" (St. Martin's Press, 2005), written while serving as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Hart House.

Read the whole thing, it is even worth registering (free) with the LA Times.

An excerpt:
Even now, the Muslim Council of Britain adamantly insists that Islam has nothing to do with the London attacks. It cites other motives — "segregation" and "alienation," for instance. Although I don't deny that living on the margins can make a vulnerable lad gravitate to radical messages of instant belonging, it takes more than that to make him detonate himself and innocent others. To blow yourself up, you need conviction. Secular society doesn't compete well on this score. Who gets deathly passionate over tuition subsidies and a summer job?

Which is why I don't understand how moderate Muslim leaders can reject, flat-out, the notion that religion may also play a part in these bombings. What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?

What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That's the trouble with Islam today. We Muslims, including moderates living here in the West, are routinely raised to believe that the Koran is the final and therefore perfect manifesto of God's will, untouched and immutable.

This is a supremacy complex. It's dangerous because it inhibits moderates from asking hard questions about what happens when faith becomes dogma. To avoid the discomfort, we sanitize.
Her well made point is heavily reinforced by the fact that, according to Anthony King, writing in the Daily Telegraph - "One in four [UK] Muslims sympathises with motives of terrorists":
The group portrait of British Muslims painted by YouGov's survey for The Daily Telegraph is at once reassuring and disturbing, in some ways even alarming.

The vast majority of British Muslims condemn the London bombings but a substantial minority are clearly alienated from modern British society and some are prepared to justify terrorist acts.
If people, of whatever religion, want to condemn terrorism they should do so forthrightly.

Are you listening, Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Some Pleasant Memories


It's rare that the US gets good press abroad, and the examples I'm about to give are 32 and 4 years old, respectively. They are classics, however.

Gordon Sinclair was old enough, and independent minded enough, to reject the US bashing of the 70s. This crusty Canadian remembered what a friend the US can be.

I don't know
Cornel Nistorescu's age, but I do know he too, was old enough. But he knew a different thing than did Sinclair. Nistorescu knew what it was like to live under Soviet oppression. You can hear the hope and the joy from having slipped that yoke.

I'm sure there are more recent examples, but these illustrate a couple of important points.

1- Canadian anti-Americanism is not new, it's just tiresome.

2- If, t
o your ear of 2005, the Romanian piece sounds naive, consider that, in 1945, it could have been written by a Canadian about the US. Or by an American about Canada.

Naive or not, it's poignant hope and halting syntax conveys the sense of what the United States has meant to the world. This is often forgotten by Americans. When that happens, Moore often than not it's deliberate.

In June, 1973 Gordon Sinclair on Toronto's CFRB radio station had this to say:
This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States Dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas DC-10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon — not once, but several times — and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.
Today we can answer Sinc's question: "
Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble?" Yes, Sinc, - Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and more.

Our second example, by Cornel Nistorescu, was published in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul zilei ("The Daily News") on September 24th, 2001:
Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one another even if you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct, others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count how many they are. Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart.

Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colours of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!".

Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three times, on different tv channels. There were Clint Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stalone, James Wood, and many others whom no film or producers could ever bring together.

The American's solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds, was being heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert.

I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of America didn't sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made you green with envy because you weren't able to sing for your country without running the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or suspected of who-knows-what mean interests.

I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds of thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which nothing can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.

Only freedom can work such miracles!
It's too bad the unity lasted for such a short time and that today we can, again, not distinguish Liberal Demorcrats like Kennedy and Durbin from any other protalitarian appeasement artists.

Thanks Sinc. Thanks Cornel.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Sack of Sh*t


From The American Thinker,

Scientific? American?
In a favorable review of the book The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia, the August 2005 issue of Scientific American says that a statue of a woman’s head dating from the ninth or eight century B.C. “suffered severely” from the “sack of Baghdad in 2003.” According to Scientific American, forces of the United States sacked Baghdad.
I'm a geek, and I stopped reading SA 20 years ago.

False aplogies


Canadian Muslims follow the in the footsteps of Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi's specious terror "condemnation" piece in the Detroit News, which basically said: terrorist actions are the fault of the West, and especially Israel.

Not to be outdone, the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) produces its own overblown "tut-tut" regarding terrorist bombings.

Thanks to
Angry in the Great White North for pointing out the Canadian fraud's issuance of a "fatwa":
Notice what is missing? No call to actually do something about it. The fatwa, as decribed in the paper, does not call on Muslims who have knowledge of terrorist plots to go to the authorities and reveal what they know, to name names, to point fingers and save lives. Maybe the full text of the fatwa will be different, but I doubt it.
Read the whole thing
: "Fatuous Fatwa".

Can it, CAIR-CAN.

Put'in on the Rich


Paladin emails the following:
I cannot speak to the veracity or the lineage of this report, but if true it is one of those speeches that must be read........

Vladislav Surkov’s Secret Speech: How Russia Should Fight International Conspiracies

It is somewhat long, but in my view important. And you won't read about this or any of the related major issues in our "press" due to its fascination with Tailgunner Joe Wilson.
He's right, it is important. I
t is important.even if somebody felt a need to invent this speech for a non-existent Vladislav Surkov.

In a similar vein see this post at Captain's Quarters:
Putin Tries New Method To Retain Power -- Acquisition. TOTH to JR.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Blogton Tea Party


Apropos of the intent of Campaign Finance "Reform". AKA "Incumbent Protection Act" and "Free Speech Prevention Act."

Check this out: Seattle, Post Intelligence - by Ryan Sager.

Pretty scary, huh?

Everybody
needs to start a blog 60 days before the next election and shamelessly promote some candidate or issue. It doesn't matter who or what.

It would be even better if you're paid a nickle per positive reference to your preferred position and a dime for every negative reference to the opponents' position(s).

Mass Civil Disobedience on a scale they didn't even think about.

Bananada 3


Thanks to Small Dead Animals for this sad illustration of how goofy things will get here if we don't learn from our northern neighbors descent into absolute relativism.

Steyn and Hitchens on "Yellowcake Joe"


Steyn:
Plame security breach? It just ain't so, Joe
The Chicago Sun-Times, July 17th 2005

Hitchens:
Rove Rage
Slate, July 18 2005

The Demorcrats know all this, of course. It's why Kerry dropped Wilson after campaigning with him and hosting Wilson's Web site.

Oh well, it gave them something to do leading up to the SCOTUS nomination.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Wish I'd said that

Fiscally, power corrupts, but absolute power turns you into a Democrat. The Republican Party is only useful when the Democrats are in charge
And that's just the first of Three Good Reasons to Despise the GOP at QandO.

In conclusion:
"Limited government" is a fine idea. We really ought to have at least one party which believes in it.

Is "Insecure Narcissist" an Oxymoron...


...or can you drop the "oxy"?

Powerline shares The Other Club's opinion regarding celebrity as described in my
July 14th post; Guilty as Charged, wherein I commented on Victor Davis Hanson's piece, Elegant nonsense.

Powerline's comments here and here.

This quote from Roger Simon seems definitive:
Every movie star I have ever met or worked with deep down thinks to one degree or another that he or she is a fraud and that his or her life has been an accident - from having (often temporarily) a pretty face or from some mysterious charisma they themselves do not understand. The insecurity of the actor is one of those true clichés, and it reaches all the way to the top - to the highest star. By making the pronouncements they do, they are trying to convince the audience of their own seriousness and their own goodness (their own value). But most of all they are trying to convince themselves. Fragile egos, not inflated ones, are at work here

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Saddam and bin-Ladin


Thanks to Powerline and Media Research Center.

ABC News video

Must view.

Moral Relativism?


In a Detroit News article entitled It's time to eliminate causes of terror Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi today penned something long overdue from the Muslim community:

We, the imams of the Michigan mosques, gathered in Dearborn last week to condemn the recent crime in London and to announce anything harmful to human society is forbidden in Islam. We want everybody to know that al-Qaida is not a spokesman for the 1.2 billion peace-loving Muslims of the world.

We are sick and tired of being called kafirs (infidels) by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

And so they should be. I know I am.

I’m sure they are tired of their co-religionists being slaughtered by Zarqawi as well.

Unfortunately, Imam Elahi is still ensnared by moral relativism and it makes his condemnation much less believable. He asks:

The first question is, how Iraq despite our invasion and our huge military presence became a training center for so-called jihadists, and how the British became bombers?

This ignores the fact that Iraq was a training ground for terrorists prior to our invasion, including Al-Qaeda training camps. It plays lose with the fact that the terrorists call themselves jihadis and it substitutes the word “bomber” for the more accurate “terrorist” in the case of the 7/7 murderers of innocent civilians. It ignores the dozens of Islamofascist attacks that took place prior to the invasions of either Afghanistan or Iraq.

It glides by the idea that the British “bombers” were likely trained in British mosques as was failed shoe bomber Richard Reid, whose Imam, Abu Hamza al Masri, was charged (October ’04) with 16 crimes, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred.

By ignoring these inconvenient facts Imam Elahi is able to answer his own questions, which were apparently rhetorical:

Some unthoughtful words by the president and some irresponsible statements by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- combined with the scandals at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo detention center -- helped al-Qaida recruit more extremists to its army.

To win the war against terror, force alone is not enough. Honesty and openness come first. The double standard on democracy and human rights doesn't help.

This is either unwitting ignorance or a thinly veiled attempt to make:

a) some non-specific speech of Bush and Rumsfeld, plus

b) the abuse by a handful – who have been severely punished – at Abu Ghraib, and

c) the non-issue of prisoner treatment at Gitmo

morally equivalent to -

a) Al-Qaeda’s stated intention, i.e., “thoughtful words”, to kill all who disagree with them, including, demonstrably, other Muslims,

b) the beheadings of prisoners, and

c) real torture committed by Muslim extremists

Double standard? The word “standard” doesn’t even enter into it.


Imam Elahi even mentions: "…the 8,000 Muslims who were slaughtered by Bosnian Serbs in 1995", while not bothering to acknowledge which nation stopped this slaughter.


You’re welcome, Imam, I’m sure.


Finally, there is this anachronistic complaint:

..the murder of Imam Ali in 661 A.D. while he was doing his morning prayer in Kufa, Iraq. Ali, the Prophet Mohammed's cousin, son-in-law and closest disciple, the first man to ever declare his faith in Islam, was killed by a religious extremist as an infidel.

What relevance has this to the present case unless one is wrapping oneself in the aura of the religiously persecuted and simultaneously pointing out how long one can hold a grudge? The imam confirms this interpretation with a gratuitous reference to the “Palestinians”:

As long as Jews can immigrate to Israel by the tens of thousands each year while Palestinians stay hungry and homeless, I am afraid this will contribute to the violence in the Middle East and elsewhere.

To Imam Elahi, Israel’s existence as a Jewish homeland is inextricably bound to the violence of deranged islamists everywhere.


[A]nything harmful to human society is forbidden in Islam.” – unless it involves Jews, incidents of religious persecution 1400 years old, or beheadings as compared to fiddling with the air conditioning.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You don't always get what you pay for


SV notes a study revealing that Canadian coronary bypass operations are cheaper than those in the US:
MONTREAL, July 12 - The hospital cost of a coronary artery bypass procedure is nearly twice as high in the U.S. as it is in Canada.

Yet despite the increased cost, there is no difference in outcome, reported Mark J. Eisenberg, M.D., of Jewish General Hospital here.
One question not addressed by this study is how many Canadians died while on a waiting list. Of a certainty, this would change the "outcome" calculations.
At the same time, in-hospital mortality was 2.2% in the U.S. and 1.4% in Canada (p=0.004), while the length of stay in hospital was 16.8% longer in Canada. However, after controlling for demographic and clinical differences, there were no significant differences in mortality between countries.
Why report it then? "[I]n-hospital mortality" "
demographic and clinical differences" seem likely to be related to higher risk patients - who, in the US, actually get an operation.

If you have to ration heart surgery, as does Canada, then you triage those with lower chances to the bottom of the list. After all, they aren't paying and they'll reduce your success rate..

Statscan tells us the metrics, if not any actual measures. I do note that there is a category for "over 180 days."

The sterile language of statist judgment is scary without any actual figures:
Provincial/territorial health systems/health authorities have a role in achieving reasonable wait times for services by ensuring effective management of wait lists and operating room schedules, effective bed utilization strategies, and appropriate budget allocation for prevention, treatment, and follow-up care. Wait times are commonly used as indicators of the efficiency of the system. A variety of factors can impact the wait times such as the demographics of the population, treatment patterns of physicians, the number of emergency surgeries, which have higher priorities in use of resources, nurse shortages, or job action.
Read it twice. What you see is that there may well be more Canadians uninsureds (all of them - in the sense an American would expect) than there are uninsured Americans.

Finally, the most revealing, and the charitable might say the silliest, comment of the article:
"In Canada, there's only one insurance company -- the government -- so the level of bureaucracy is much, much less here," [Dr. Eisenberg] said.
The good doctor might have meant less paperwork. Certainly, when doctors are paid government determined fixed fees, payment is simple. Administrative overhead is lower.

So is availability of care: o
ne reason that lower administrative cost is not even necessarily a good thing. See Arnold Kling, here and here.

And even if it is sometimes a good thing, Quebecers have had way too much of it. According to Canada's Supreme Court which ruled waiting times in Quebec are, in effect, "cruel and unusual."
In a 4-3 decision, the panel of seven justices said banning private insurance for a list of services ranging from MRI tests to cataract surgery was unconstitutional under the Quebec Charter of Rights, given that the public system has failed to guarantee patients access to those services in a timely way.

As a result of delays in receiving tests and surgeries, patients have suffered and even died in some cases, justices Beverley McLachlin, Jack Major, Michel Bastarache and Marie Deschamps found for the majority.
In any case, there is not one health insurance company in Canada. That is, there is none. There isn't any.

And you can't sue them. Or, well you can, but even if you win you're whim-of-the-government SOL, as Canadian veterans found out not so long ago.
The federal government agreed the veterans were owed the interest. However, it pointed to legislation passed by Parliament in 1990, which prevented veterans and their relatives from making claims for interest that went unpaid from the end of World War I up until that time. The measure was spearheaded by the Progressive Conservative government of former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

An economist hired by the class-action lawyers estimated the money owed could be as much as $4 billion.

The lawyers tried to challenge the 1990 legislation by resurrecting the little-used Diefenbaker-era Bill of Rights. Unlike the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the bill protects property rights.
Despite
Dr. Eisenberg's parsing, bureaucrats are more generally understood to inhabit the nooks and crannies of government command-and-control systems than otherwise.

Guilty as Charged

JR sends a Victor Davis Hanson article, Elegant nonsense, re: the "Peephole Magazine" elite.
...Entertainers wrongly assume that their fame, money and influence arise from broad knowledge rather than natural talent, looks or mastery of a narrow skill.

In fact, what do a talented Richard Gere, Robert Redford and Madonna all have in common besides loudly blasting the current administration? They either dropped out of, or never started, college. Cher may think George Bush is "stupid," but she — not he — didn't finish high school.

If these apparent autodidacts are without degrees, aren't they at least well informed? Not always. Right before the Iraqi war, Barbra Streisand issued an angry statement assuring us that Saddam Hussein was the dictator of Iran.
Hanson's article makes great sense, and should be read in full, but
in their heart of hearts, these celebrities don't really believe their fame, money and influence arise from any admirable trait.

They know better.

After time, even someone as clueless as Cher will recognize that her entourage is composed of sycophantic liars.

But why admit it? It's worked well so far; and discussing support for the "oppressed" - with an NYT reporter, over the bar in your limousine - is the Balm of Glitteriad.

People who are not complete sociopaths will feel guilt about unearned success. They can't really grasp how it came to be - or how it can be continued. "How can I be worth this much money?", must have occurred to a plurality of these ego displacement experts early in their careers.

"How can I be worth this much money?" is a stupid thought, and its generalization is telling. They have, in fact, earned the money. And only the money. And even if the money comes from those they judge as idiots.

But earning millions from idiots carries its own angst, especially for someone without a GED.

In this rarefied demographic of the extremely lucky, guilt is inevitable. Guilt over wealth that they "feel" is undeserved, guilt over fame derived primarily from a facility to adopt fictional personalities; and guilt because the mindless adulation from people they despise is based mostly on physical appearance.

Get over being rich for no apparent reason. It's a free market.

Get off the soapbox you haven't the common sense to distinguish from a pedestal.

Instead of depending on your celebrity, maybe start a blog and see if anyone reads it. At bottom, it's use of your celebrity that causes the guilt.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Brave New World meets Animal Farm


Wherein the Canadian Prime Minister is "more equal than others" and "Soma"
is your only friend during your wait for that bypass operation. (Here's what you get if you Google "Soma Brave". Want to bet this is a Canadian site?)

I would not believe this story except for the source, and maybe the fact that it further exposes Michael Moore as an idiot.

Mark Steyn gives us an anecdote which summarizes the horrors of Canadian health care, THE SMALLNESS OF THE BIG IDEA.

Excerpt:
...Once it becomes natural to wait six months for an MRI, it’s not difficult to persuade you that it’s natural to wait ten months, or fifteen. Acceptance of the initial concept of “waiting” is what matters.

True, they’ve not yet reached the stage of a ten-month waiting list for the maternity ward, but consider the experience of Debrah Cornthwaite, who last year gave birth to two twin boys at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. That’s in Alberta. Mrs Cornthwaite had begun the big day by going to her local maternity ward at Langley Memorial Hospital. That’s in British Columbia.

They told her, yes, your contractions are coming every four minutes, but sorry, we don’t have any beds. And, after they’d checked with the bed-availability helpline “BC Bedline”, they brought her the further good news that there was not a hospital anywhere in the province in which she could deliver her babies. There followed seven hours of red tape and paperwork. Then, late in the evening, she was driven to the airport and put on a chartered twin-prop to Edmonton. In the course of the flight, the contractions increased to every two-and-a-half minutes – and most Lamaze classes don’t teach timing your breathing to the turbulence over the Rockies.

Would you want to do that on your delivery day? You pack your bag and head to your local hospital in Oakland, and they say not to worry, we’ve got a bed for you in Denver.
Be warned. It would already have happened here if "Hillary Care" hadn't been killed, and Dubya has proven he's no real obstacle to totalitarian health care with his Medicare drug profligacy.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

OBL Surpised by 9/11


OK, here's a concrete example of what Lee Harris' theory of "blood feud" as a metaphor for terrorists' concept of war does in the hands of a leftwing "moderate". Mind you, I'm not saying Harris inspired it, just that it is parallel.

Harris postulates that "tribes" involved in a "blood feud" will commit atrocities up to, but not including, inviting massive retaliation; and that this may be a good way to understand Islamofascist mindsets.

It isn't that Harris is wrong about "blood feud" informing Islamofascist terror, but his theory does imply that Osama bin-Ladin would not risk the predictable ferocity of US response to 9/11. I.e., Bin-Ladin didn't see it coming.

I can't buy it.

But Thomas Oliphant, of the Boston Globe and NPR, can.
He has this exchange with Hugh Hewitt on the latter's radio program (entire transcript here):
HH: Is it a good thing that Libya has given up its nuclear ambitions, and turned over their chemical and biological facilities and arsenals to us.

TO: Hugh, you're talking to somebody who would go even further than that. Again, it's great, and I have written that so much progress has been made with Libya, as a result of a process going back, by the way, several years, that it's ridiculous that Libya continues to be officially listed as a terrorist supporting nation.

HH: So those are a couple of big wins.

TO: Huge wins, but let me try to balance that, to get people to think more. I think...I don't think, I know from talking to American officials, that it is an operating assumption, though not one talked about very much, that on 9/11 itself, the leadership, if you want to call if that, of Al Qaeda, that was based in Afghanistan, realized instantly that not only had everything changed for the developed world, everything had changed for them, too. That we were going to come after them, that some kind of invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was inevitable, that life as they had known it would cease to exist also. And I just think that in the years since, terrorists have done as good, and sometimes a better job of adapting than we have.
Emphasis mine. Oliphant has to "balance" the capitulation of Libyan state terrorism by speaking about some terrorists' ability to adapt better than we have. If true, it's due to encouragement from the Deans, Moores, Chomskys and Kennedys in our midst.

I'd say continuing suicide bombings aren't adaptation, but instead a good reading of Liberal mindsets.

Oliphant's example can be charitably described as braindead
. He thinks Al-Qaeda was surprised that after murdering 3,000 Americans and causing tens of billions of dollars in property damage that the US was going to come after him?

Right. "Realized instantly." Not beforehand.

Only when he saw the WTC collapsing did Osama bin-Ladin realize what he'd done.

I can hear OBL now, "Oh shit, we shouldn't have done that. Whoda thunk a decade of planning could have had this effect?"

That certainly explains why he gloatingly confessed to it, doesn't it?


If bin-Ladin didn't want us invading Afghanistan - the graveyard of the British and the Vietnam of the Russians - he would never have planned, much less executed, 9/11.

How stupid does Oliphant think bin-Ladin is? Probably not as stupid, or as useful, as OBL thinks Oliphant is.

Bin-Ladin wanted a massive American response, he did not "realize instantly" that the world had changed on 9/11. He plotted to change it - by this act.

Bin-Ladin wants the world to change into unified Islamofascism, Tom, and it's people like you who can't give him credit for being able to plot it who are a grave danger to the rest of us.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Tribal Terror?


Lee Harris, whose Civilization and its Enemies I highly recommend, presents an interesting view of terrorists as engaged in a "blood feud" rather than a war.

At Tech Central Station Harris writes War in Pieces: The Blood Feud.

A blood feud against Western Civilization?

An interesting thought, with some logic to recommend it. But counter to Harris' thesis, bin-Laden did want to provoke massive retaliation.
9/11 was too massive an attack to satisfy Harris' definition of the level of violence appropriate to a blood feud.

OBL wanted massive US retaliation - not so much against Al-Qaeda as against any geo-political area that would cause Muslims to rise up. The long term objective? First to recapture Arab-Islamic governments from decadence and evenually to restablish a world-wide caliphate.

Harris' article is interesting, and the terrorist swine probably have many different motivations, but one of those motivations looks far to the future and 9/11 clearly overstepped the bounds of "blood feud."

These facts severly undermine the linch pins of Harris' argument.

Interesting read, but unconvincing.

Time for Alberta to exit, stage right?


Link Byfield, writing in the Calgary Sun doesn't think the time is right just yet.

However, he reports on an article by Leon Craig, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alberta.

Professor Craig does think it is time for Alberta to seek its own destiny.

According to Byfield, in "Let's get while the getting's good.":
...Leon Craig, professor emeritus of political science, lays out a case for Alberta to declare unilateral independence. And he lays it out well.

Craig makes no bones about it.

Alberta, he says, should go it alone.

Almost overnight, we would become one of the most prosperous nations in the world...
I would like to have a copy of the professor's report myself, since my sympathies lie entirely with his, and I would be a candidate for citizenship in the new country.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Republicrats


I said this here on 5-July.

But not as well as Debra Saunders, here: Nancy Pelosi is in Trouble

The sentiment is worth a repeat.

Keep reminding yourself that 98% of "these people" are indistinguishable congressunits who have no more respect for your values than what it costs the rest of us to buy them on their behalf.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Drug Slaves Redux


Greg Newburn at Liberteaser posted his own take on the conversation reported in yesterday's post.

He called me annoying, which I appreciate. He also kindly provided a link to my post to prove it.

I'm returning the favor. :)

Here's Greg:
Are we all Slaves?

Rule Britannia



Rule Britannia
---a poem by James Thompson

WHEN Britain first at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of her land,
And guardian angels sung the strain:
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves! 5
Britons never shall be slaves!

The nations not so blest as thee
Must in their turn to tyrants fall,
Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free
The dread and envy of them all. 10

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies
Serves but to root thy native oak.

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame; 15
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
And work their woe and thy renown.

To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine; 20
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine!

The Muses, still with Freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
Blest Isle, with matchless beauty crown'd 25
And manly hearts to guard the fair:—
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
Britons never shall be slaves!

My sympathy, and heartfelt thanks for your steadfastness, to every British subject except George Galloway and those who agree with him and Noam Chomsky that the West deserves these murderous attacks.

Thank you, again, Tony Blair.

Thank you, again, all the British troops who have, instead of standing by, stood tall and shouldered arms.


Travesty International Calls for Shut Down of North Korean Gulag


Well, not really.

Excerpt from World Tribune.com article:
North Korean propaganda film backfires with hungry audiences

SEOUL — A North Korean propaganda film about the repatriation of a spy — Lee In-Mo — who had languished for years in a South Korean prison may have a short shelf life, according to defectors now living in the South.

"What we could not believe in the movie was that Lee and others were conducting hunger strikes in the prison," said one defector about the movie.

"Refusing to eat was a form of resistance in the South? Boy, South Korea must be a paradise. That's what we said among ourselves"

...Many North Korean defectors said their first reaction upon seeing the film was to ask how people could stay in prison for more than 10 years and remain alive? They say few people survive even three years in North Korean political prisons. Being fed three regular meals a day is utterly unimaginable.
North Korean Stalinism provides an example of prisoner abuse deserving of some protest.

Not that we're going to hear a peep from the ACLU, Travesty International or Dick Durbin. They are silent here because they
share the DPRK's inability to distinguish inhumane treatment from reasonable precaution.

The DPRK is clueless that showing prisoners in another country having the luxury of a hunger strike reflects badly on your deadly prison system and your starving population.

Travesty International and its fellow travellers are clueless that they likewise destroy their credibility through rhetorical flourishes like "the Gulag of our times" used to describe a prison with excellent medical care - where the greatest health threat might be gaining too much weight.

The test of marketing savvy, not to mention intelligence, will be which stops first - the showing of the film or the whining about Gitmo?

My bet is on the DPRK.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Advertising Pharmaceuticals - Gateway Drugs to Slavery?


I found this topic
on Liberty Belles entertaining, and since I wrote much of what I'm about to quote, I'm posting it. As was said about Saddam's baby formula factories/WDM precursor facilities, it's "dual use." ;)

The discussion
(That Menace, “Artificial Demand”) was initiated by Clara, in a nice put down of Bill Frist's recent venture into the populist thickets:
Drug companies spend quite a bit of money on advertising. (How else do you convince someone to pay money to ingest a tiny, tasteless pill?)

Magazine spreads and TV spots drive up the prices of said drugs. And since we in the cozy community of America get footed with the bills for our neighbors’ health care, we all want to keep prices down.

It’s not just that the ads are expensive, according to Dr. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). They also create “artificial demand” for drugs, and when demand goes up, prices follow. Frist proposes to ban advertisements for drugs that have been on the market less than two years.

Well, that would certainly lower demand for a new drug. Keep prices down, too. Problem solved.

How will Dr. Frist address the problem of “artificial demand” for his presidency when he runs for office in 2008, buying TV time and traveling the country.
I posted a comment (not reproduced below) indicating that however much we might dislike pharmaceutical ads, they did have some use. For example, they're banned in Canada because the price controllers don't want to have to explain multi-year delays in approving new drugs, or why generic drugs cost twice as much in Canada as in the US.

In watching the posts, it became more interesting a bit later with this statement about drug companies made by a contributor I will leave entirely anonymous:
If the [drug] company is only interested in keeping a person alive for its own profit, that can be considered slavery.
Following are excerpts from the ensuing thread:

*Clara,
Do you have a right to liberty, to being your own master? Yes.

Do you have a right to the most cutting-edge anti-[insert disease here] drug? No. Because that would necessitate slavery. That would mean that someone else had to invent and manufacture that drug for your benefit, even if it meant enslaving that person.
*G,
I don’t think it would necessitate “slavery” per se. Assume that someone invented the drug, and has recouped all the money it took to develop it, plus a reasonable profit. If we take a small percentage of the output and give it to the neediest (judged by whatever standard), there would be inconvenience, but not slavery.
*Hershblogger,
On the “slavery” question, the premises need straightening.

Of course it could not be slavery if I am able refuse to sell you my property or my labor. If I am not free in this reagrd it certainly would qualify as slavery.

As an example let’s say I own a house in New London, NJ. You want to buy it.

Slavery would only enter into this question if the government siezed my property because of your need.

That is no less, and no more, slavery than taking a small percentage of my house and giving it to - oh, let’s postulate Pfizer…

Stealing is stealing. A little bit of it is not a little bit immoral.

It can be justified only if you accept Marx’s “from each according to his means” trope.

The draft is slavery, The governmental determination of what represents “reasonable profit” is slavery.

The idea that a drug company charges what the market will bear for a drug is not slavery, nor does it even signify for such discussion.
*G,
I don’t think that a thief who takes your wallet has made you his “slave” just because he takes some percentage of your wealth by force.

The draft is closer to slavery because it hijacks a person’s entire life for some period of years, making it impossible for the person to work at all for himself, or to pursue happiness in any way other than what some other entity chooses for him.

Taxes suck, but they’re not slavery. Free prescription drugs is a stupid idea, but it doesn’t make Pfizer a “slave” to the elderly.
*Hershblogger,
G,

Your analogy is incomplete. To fix it we must postulate that the thief would steal my wallet every day. In which case I’d consider it slavery, because all my labor would belong to someone else by application, or threat, of violence.

Under these circumstances how am I to pursue happiness? Change the source of my stolen income? How can you argue that I’d be “working at all for” myself?

The thief may leave my choice of occupation up to me, but I don’t think my choice of revenue matters. The fact that it is stolen does.

This is what we call a “disincentive” to be productive. It is but a tiny step to the thief forcing me to work at gunpoint.

Forcing Pfizer to provide the results of their labor, or intellectual property, whether once or continously, makes them slaves to the entity reaping the benefit. Forcing people to sell their homes so that Pfizer can build an office makes those people slaves of the government through threat of violence. It does not matter how they earned their propertry. [sic]
*G,
Hersh,
If I took one penny from you at gunpoint every day of your life, would you be my slave?
*Hershblogger,
G,

I try to keep more than just one penny in my wallet, and the wallet was your idea. ;)

Regarding your new proposal: I couldn't know that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow you'd only demand another penny. I'd live in fear of escalation. I certainly would not feel free if you were poking a gun in my face daily.

Do you argue that I would be?

It's possible that not being free and slavery are not perfectly congruent, but it seems to me that they're semantically close enough for government work.

Armed robbery doesn't merely relieve one of one's cash; it diminishes freedom, dignity and hope.

Loss of these is arguably characteristic of slavery.

This is not to argue, for example, that taxation makes me a slave. I am _willing_ to trade some freedom for some services. Once that bargain is struck, though, it's very important not to let the congressunits assume I'm willing to pay for any old service at all. Say PBS.

A penny today. Two pennies tomorrow. Four pennies and rising on day three. Pretty soon I'm paying Bill Moyers' salary.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

San Francisco Liberal


Isn't it funny how all the Tom Delay bashing has suddenly gone quiet?

PELOSI FILES DELINQUENT REPORTS ON PAID TRIPS

Let's see if I get this-

Tom Delay followed House rules in accepting trips, as indicated by a thorough investigation.

Nancy Pelosi did not.

Pelosi had a fit that Delay hired family members as part of his campaign staff.

Pelosi took her husband to Taiwan as part of not following House rules.

Maybe Mr. Pelosi speaks Chinese and was engaged to translate?

Throw the rascals out, I say!

Of course, rascality seems to be
relative. Or, is that pervasive?