Monday, January 31, 2005

Maneuvering Chalabi into Position

The Left Coaster's Theory is very similar to my predictions here,
here, and here.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lunaville for pointing me to this article.

That is all.

Mark Steyn is at it Again

Once again, Mark Steyn plays Pollyanna about Iraq.

His statements seem somewhat speculative and the facts he mentions ae somewhat cherry-picked.

But then again, we shall see.

Number Crunching

Well, hostile fatalities in Iraq are now at 73 for January.

Here's a breakdown so far:

Total coalition fatalities: 122
Hostile: 73
Non-hostile: 49

US: 102
UK: 10
Ukr: 8
Kazakh: 1

So far, there have been 1429 American soldiers killed in Iraq, 1100 of which were hostile deaths.
1292 since the end of major combat operations, 990 of which were hostile deaths.

Stats from Antiwar.com and Icasualties.

At this rate, we should have more than 2000 US fatalities by early September 2005, making my prediction that we will reach 2000 fatalities within a year of hitting 1000 fatalities come true.

A more in-depth analysis to come soon.

The Whore-Makers

This article and this one show a disturbing trend in Germany.
Now that prostittuion is legal, will unemployed women (and presumably men) be forced into it by the government?

We shall see.

Iraq Election Irregularities?

Concerns about the Iraq vote from that bastion of libertarian dissent, LewRockwell.com.

That is all.

A Good Sign

Oklahoma, the fascist state which wouldn't allow write-ins and has insane ballot access requirements, is now considering a bill to restore true representative government.

All of my Oklahoma readers, contact your local representative and tell them to vote for this bill.

That is all.

Howie Carr was Right!

On the Howie Carr show the other day, Howie opined that he wondered what the immigration statuts of Juan Manuel Alvarez was. VDARE has found evidence that he is indeed an alien, and likely an illegal.

Unless, of course, he asked to be returned to Mexico, there is no reason to automatically assume that he will be sent home to Mexico after his trial unless he were here illegally (if he were found guilty of a crime, he might have his legal status revoked, but it wasn't said, "he will be prosecuted and IF FOUND GUILTY returned to Mexico," rather, the words I capitalized were left out.

That is all - or is it? More on this as it develops.

Don't Believe Everything You're Told

On the second page of this New York Times article (free registration required), we here this about the charges that Al Jazeera reporters appeared too soon after bombing attacks and were probably being tipped off:

"But the administration official said recently that there was no evidence for such a charge and that it was no longer repeated, though it had not been formally withdrawn."

Makes one wonder what else about the war we "know" that just isn't so.

This is probably not all.

Killing a Fugitive Slave

Lawrence M. Vance speaks out against an evil that governments do.

The problem with World War II is that people ternd to assume that because Hitler was so evil, any and all measures taken to win in WWII were justified, and anyone who fought Hitler must have been a good guy.

In reality, the allies, including even the freer allies, England and America (i.e. as opposed to the Soviet Union), did some pretty crappy things.

The point of this post isn't to bash the US, but to point out that we need to realize that we can do wrong, too.

Why is this important? Because if you refuse to ask questions about whether or not we committed atrocities in World War II, you will start justifying anything our government does by referenceing Worldd War II. Why is it bad to raze Fallujah? We did it to Dresden, Germany, and surely you don't object tothat, do you? I mean, if we hadn't incinerated a bunch of civilians, how could we have defeated Hitler?

And of course, there is the fact that we returned Soviet prisoners of war to the USSR, even when they didn't want to go.

In any case, we should never trust any government too much, not even our own.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Elections Have Happened

Here are two opinions on them:
Iraq the Model says things went very, very well. Raed in the middle says that they went very poorly.

We'll see what happens in the ensuing weeks. Right now I don't want to speculate too much, because while I tend to be more pessimistic, if things did go really well I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, particularly the parade of the people living in Iraq. We shall see what we shall see.

That is all for now.

Another Crash

Less than a week since the greatest single loss of life of coalition troops in Iraq, another crash claims at least nine Brits.

Either the weather is really bad, this is a really unlucky month, or some of these accidents are not actually accidents, but attacks.

That is all for now.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Raimondo vs. Palmer

Justin Raimondo has some interesting thoughts about pro-warrior Tom G. Palmer.

As I recall, Palmer was the one who questioned Gary North's connection to Christian Reconstructionism, which is what led me to make this posting. (And the sequel).

(Although I did not link to Palmer's blog in my own posts).

In any case, on the war, I think that Mr. Palmer is all wet.

That is all.

In Hate Crimes News

If there was any doubt that the goal of labeling crimes "hate crimes" was to stigmatize certain classes of people rather than to punish more severely crimes that were motivated by hatred, this ought reduce it considerably.

Thanx and a Tip o' the Hat to Steve Sailer.

That is all.

Some Thoughts on Jersey

An interesting thought by Lawrence Auster on some evidence that suggests that the murders of the Coptic Christians* in New Jersey was religiously motivated.
Here's some of his previous writing on the same issue.
My feeling is that it probably was a religiously motivated murder of Christians by Muslims, but I haven't had time to examine the circumstances enough to form a definite opinion.

That is all.

* I should point out here that I am referring to them as Christians because they are societally considered to be Christians. I don't know enough about Coptic belief systems (let alone this particular families beliefs) to be able to say for certain whether or not I would consider them Christians. (As an evangelical, my standards for what I consider authentically Christian are a little more strict than others' standards may be).

A Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

For once, Michael Rubin is right about something. Namely, the idea that we ought to be more solicitous of the will ofthe Iraqis in Iraq.

However, his last paragraph or so on de-Baathification sounds to me like he is once again projecting his views onto the Iraqis. I think that part of the goal of de-Baathification is to open up spots for Ahmed Chalabi's buddies, whom Mr. Rubin insists is the man most Iraqi Shiites see as representing their interests.

Oh, well, the article was nice for the first half, anyway.

That is all.

War Nerd on Iran

The War Nerd predicts an attack on Iran, and predicts it will be a disaster.

He also throws cold water on the idea that Iranians will rise up to help us overthrow their government.

Sometimes I think this guy has more common sense in his pinky than the entire Bush administration has in their collective bodies.

That is all.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oh, by the Way...

I am very pleased with Douglas Feith's resignation.

That is all.

Coptic Christians Killed in Jersey

Despite my disagreements with Joseph Farah on the issues of the war in Iraq and voting for Bush, I think he has a point here. Not that I am certain that the murder of this family was religiously motivated, to be honest, I haven't studied it very carefully. But it seems quite likely, and I think that the media should show more interest in this murder case and its potential implications.

That is all.

Illegal Immigration as Corporate Welfare

An interesting column is up at VDARE.

No Escalation?

Arthur Chrenkoff has noticed that the predicted rise in violence prior to the elections has not occurred (at least not so far).

What does not occur to him is that this might not be just because security in Iraq is so good. Perhaps derailing the elections is not a central objective for the insurgents.

Of course, we always have Abu Masab Al-Zarqawi to remind us of how much the insurgents hate democracy and how much democracy vs. anti-democracy are the only two sides in this war and being for or against democracy is the only issue anyone is fighting about.

Of course, I have my doubts about the authenticity of Zarqawi's announcements, but we shall see.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Barbara Boxer too Subtle?

If I were Barbara Boxer and Condi said something to me along the lines of "I don't like it when you imply that I take the truth lightly," I would have said:

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you take the truth lightly. The term imply suggests subtly. I hadn't realized that my remarks were to be taken as implications. I thought I pretty much directly said that you take the truth lightly."

That is all.

Thanx and a Tip O' the Hat to Steve Sailer

My blog got a plug today from Steve Sailer.
Well, either he likes my posts or he doesn't like my artwork (or maybe both).

"Glaivester's postings are a lot better than his graphics."

In any case, a rundown for any new readers:

The face on the left ofthe word "Glaivester" is a self-portrait. My sideburns are a little shorter now, I'm not sporting the reverse goatee I had up until the week before Christmas.

The five-pronged thing on the right is the "glaive" from the movie Krull. Althoguh in real life, a Glaive is a sword, in the movie it was a sort of super-large throwing star.

This throwing star is the source of my nom de plume. I'm a BIG Krull fan. In fact, over at Fanfiction.net I am currently the only person with Krull fanfics up.

This blog is mostly political, although I also mention things near and dear to my heart such as Duran Duran or Krull.

Well, talk to ya soon.

Crunching the Numbers

In a previous post, I ask whether or not Iraq is getting better.

Well, current casualty counts say that there are 94 coalition deaths in Iraq for January so far, 49 hostile, 14 non-hostile, and 31 from the helicopter crash which is presumed non-hostile butn ot confirmed yet. If it turns out to be non-hostile, then January 2005 will have more non-hostile deaths (45) than any other month so far. If hostile, then it will have the 5th highest hostile death toll (80) of any month so far (April 2004 is 1st with 131, November 2004 2nd with 129, November 2003 3rd with 94 and March 2003 4th with 82).
January 2005 cvan still be the lowest hostile fatality month since July 2004 if the crash was non-hostile and if there are fewer than 9 hostile deaths in the next few days.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

New Item

If you haven't noticed, the National Right-to-Life Committee is now on my sidebar. I couldn't give any money when they called, so I told them I'd link to them on my blog. So I have.

That is all.

Don't Blame me, I Voted for Peroutka

Some good thoughts on Bush's inaugural from Peroutka supporters. Here are some more.
Actually, the Backwater Report is a good blog to read overall. And it's on my sidebar.

That is all.

Hmm....

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualties site, those Ukrainians who were killed in an explosion on January 9 are now listed as hostile casualties.

I haven't heard much about this except for a post by Juan Cole about two weeks ago...

That is all. For now.

They were Blinded with Science

An interesting post by Gene Callahan refutes the idea that the Middle Age and Renaiissance societies were anti-science, or that ideas such as the geocentric model of the solar system were based on a resistance to reason.
Rather, based on the data available, the explanations seemed to make more sense than the explanations that later would turn out to be true.
In other words, those who believed in the geocentric model of the solar system were making scientific conclusions based on the data available to them at the time. To act as if they were reason-hating bigots is no more accurate than to deride Newton as anti-scientific because his theories of physics were later shown to be deficient by Einstein.

More 2005 Predictions

I'd like to add something to my predictions for 2005:

I think that the Dow will go below 10,000 at least once.

We will still have at least 150,000 troops in Iraq by December.

That is all.

So Who is Zarqawi's Speechwriter?

According to the Edward Wong in the New York Times:

"Those rumors dovetailed with two incendiary Internet audio recordings from Mr. Zarqawi. In the second one, which appeared Sunday, Mr. Zarqawi said his forces 'have declared an all-out war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.' He renewed a call for insurgents to attack the electoral process."

As Maura Liasson said on Fox News, Zarqawi's agrees precisely with George W. Bush about what it is that this war is about (although he is on the other side). "It's almost as if Bush were writing Zarqawi's speeches."

Funny, that.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Elections

While I agree with Arthur Chrenkoff that we cannot delay the elections (and that ding so would not make them more successful, I don't think he is right that the elections will make the insurgency seem less legitimate.
Primarily, I think that whoever loses out in the elections won't consider them legitimate; this will be an especially bad problem if no party receives a majority of the vote. Moreover, if the US tries to manipulate the elections, it will cast doubt on their legitimacy (remember, a lot of the party lists are not public - it is very possible that after the election someone could just insert a large number of puppets into whichever election lists win). Finally, I doubt that the Us will actually let the government have complete control if it starts doing things we don't like.
If the politicians start reneging on their promises due to American pressue, even those who voted for them may see nothing wrong in classifying them as puppets or collaborators. And in any case, they might still be willing to attack Americans and other coalition troops.
I also think that the increasing use of ethnic rather than political language by the insurgents (assuming that it is really increasing and we are not just hearing more about it) is due to actual feelings, not just a tactial ploy, as Chrenkoff appears to be implying.
In any case, I think that Charley Reese's predictions about the elections is much more likely to come true.

That is all.

Worse than Tuskegee?

A disturbing article by Wendy McElroy.
It strikes me that in using people too young to consent for medical trials, there needs to be some sort of public (as in, keep the records open to the public) oversight, and that the custodians of the children should have the final say.

Medical trials are necessar for progress to be made, but people should not be treated as mere guinea pigs; as children are not generally considere competent, theirs is a tough case when it comes to medical experimentation, but if children were remove3d from care because the caregivers would not let them be used for trials of experimental drugs, something is very, very wrong.

That is all for now.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Civil War

Gareth Porter has some thoughts.

I think that my predictions that we will use the Kurds to keep control of the Sunnis is coming true.

That is all.

Thoughts on Carson

I was 13 and 1/2 when Johnny Carson had his last show, so I can't really comment on his humor, but from all accounts, he was funny and classy, risque without being vulgar.

He will be missed.

That is all.

Steve Sailer Strikes Again

Yet another article on the demographics of the vote by Steve Sailer of ISteve.

That is all.

Polygamy? How do they Plan to Stop it?

Colby cosh has a good article on the inevitability of polygamy in Canada.

That is all.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

More on Germany and Japan, post-World War II

More, this time from MSNBC about the relative lack of post-war resistance in Germany and Japan.

Here is the article I linked to in an earlier post.

That is all.

The Chalabi Effect

Brandon J. Snider is surprised that Richard Perle seems to have come out against the occupation of Iraq.

"Now, this is where it gets complicated, because Perle understands why occupation produces insurgency. He admitted it on TV. Here is what he said. The occupation is 'sadly misguided', and the US 'should have turned over Iraq to the Iraqis immediately' (immediately following Saddam's retirement). The US 'should have been working with Iraqis' to expedite a quick and bloodless regime change."

This is not surprising at all once you realize that what Perle is actually saying is that we should have installed Chalabi as our puppet.
Most neocon criticism that we should have transferred power sooner or that we shouldn't have been occupiers or that we needed to give the Iraqis more control or work ore with Iraqis to make the new government work all boil down to: "We should have put Chalabi in power."

That is all.

God Bless Sam Francis

He has some thoughts for those who decided to bend over and vote for Bush.

That is all.

Insurgency in Japan

Mike Rogers points out one error in comparing the occupation of Iraq to that of Japan post-World War II.

That is all.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Pat Buchanan, Take Note

Harrry Browne points out why anti-war conservatives should not have voted for Bush.

That is all.

Bush Ain't a Conservative

Matt Yglesias, like a lot of liberals, believe that Bush is secretly ultra-conservative inside. Unless he is referring simply to foreign policy, and assumes that invading foreign countries is "conservative," or unless he assumes that at some point Bush really is going to cut social spending dramatically, he's very, very wrong.

Bush's goal of changing social security may seem to be designed to destroy it as a welfare program, but based on Bush's support for a prescriptiondrug benefit, for federal meddling and funding of education, and his unwillingness to veto a single spending bill, I seriously doubt that that is his goal. Moreover, if the systme starts to blow up, I doubt that benefit reduction will be the first method chosen to try to deal with it. Rather, either the government will be forced to raise taxes or else it will simply pay its obligations by inflating the currency (printing money).

Those who see Bush as far right, or as truly conservative at all, are deluded.

That is all.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Iraqi Blogs

I want to say right now that I am sorry that I suggested that anything was out-of-whack with Iraq the Model.
I don't think that they are American plants and I think that they are sincere.

However, I also think that Riverbend is genuine as well, although a lot of people seem to smear her as a Ba'athist because she doesn't toe the line.

Iraq the Model has accused Riverbend of lying, but I suspect that there is another reason for the differences in perception; perhaps certain areas of Baghdad are better off than others, or electricity allowances difer depending on usage in different areas of hte city, or something.
Some of the errors are miniscule (5,000 dinars being $2.50 vs. $2.27).
Other things, like the electric bills (post-war 3650 dinars is normal according to Iraq the Model, 70,000 according to Riverbend, pre-war 20,000 ccording to ItM and 5,000 to RB), are difficult to explain away, but there may be an innocent explanation.

If not, then I don't know who is lying.

In any case, though, I am irritated by the automatic assumption by many bloggers that only Iraqis who parrot their own beliefs represent the true Iraq.
I'm, more troubled by this attitude in pro-war bloggers, of course, because I am antiwar, and being human, I tend to get more upset at those who disagree with me.

But antiwar people can do that too, and I am afraid that I did yesterday, and so I apologize.

That is all.

Red Dawn and the Dominion

An interesting commentary on the movie Red Dawn. I'll have to see it myself.

At some point, I think I will try to make a long commentary on the Dominion from Deep Space Nine and how they relate to issues of occupation. It seems to me htat if someone wants a symbol or example for the destructive power of coercion and the state, they are much more instructive than the Borg; because they tend to operate more like actual states do; they tend to work through imperialism and political intrigue and are more subtle, whereas the Borg go for brute force.

In any case, I'll get to those issues in more detail later.

That is all.

Andrew Sullivan on Torture

Andrew Sullivan offers some scary thoughts about Gonzalez.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not paticularly worried about the rights of actual terrorists. If someone is involved in trying to collapse a building in America, I don't particularly mind if they get tortured - in fact, I wouldn't have objections to torturing some of the serial killers I've seen on Law & Order.

The problem is the risk that we will wind up torturing innocent people.

Moreover, I am seriously concerned about how laxity in our commitment to avoid torturing will affect our treatment of Iraqis:
For one thing, I don't see Iraqi insurgents as necessarily being equivalent to terrorists. Some of them are, but some are simply fighting to get control of their country (whatever that means in a particular case, perhaps it just means from their city) back from the US. The normal neocon response is that that's what we want; to give control back to the Iraqis. However, this ignores the fact that we want to give them a government under our terms; if we leave with a puppet government installed, that doesn't make them truly independent.

Obviously, some of the insurgnets use inexcusable tactics. Blowing up a bus full of children (presumably to force the coalition troops to do more active patrolling -as opposed to staying at base - so that they will be easier targets) is undoubtedly a terrorist act. But attacking US soldiers in Fallujah is, in my opinion, a legitimate act of war (which is not to say that we don't have the right to fire back - Col. West scaring the Iraqi by firing the gun near his ear and the guy that shot the wounded Iraqi in Fallujah do not appear to me to have done anything untoward).
In any case, insurgents as a whole should not be considered a class of people it is okay to torture.

Also, there is the concenr that we don't screen our captives enough to see who is an insurgent (another point brought up by Mr. Sullivan). As I understand it, a lot of the people in Abu Ghraib are simply curfew-breakers and the like. Whether the people who were mistreated by Graner & Co. were representative of the inmates at Abu Ghraib or were only (or disporportionately) the really bad dudes, I don't know.

But the possibility that we could be torturing mere curfew-breakers is extremely disturbing. If this is the case, and if it turns out to be more than a few isolated inidents, then it either indicates a breakdown in discipline, a total inability to distinguish the most dangerous criminals from the benign ones, or, as Justin Raimondo has averred, the intent to terrorize Iraq into submission.

In any case, given current failings, I think that we should be suspicious of winking at torture for any reason, not because I am worried about the rights of terrorists, but because I am afraid of where it might lead.

That is all.

The Summers Controversy

PZ Myers is rather amusing, in an odd sort of way. His relentless political correctness seems to detract from his ability to comment on things as a scientist rather than as a political animal.
Previously, he has been lambasting Steve Sailer for his red-state/blue-state theory.
Two things to note here:
First, it's interesting how Harvard President Summers' position is consistently misrepresented as being that we shouldn't let women into the sciences because there are no women who can do math.
As I see it, his position was that there may be innate differences, and so no amount of social engineering will bring absolute parity.
Also, I find it interesting that most leftists, when dealing with issues like sex differences or race relations, automatically assume that the burden of proof should be on the other side. They simply assume that if the other side can't prove their case, then their side should be asumed to be correct.
People yell "correlation does not prove causation," to deny the statitician's findings, and yet do not even provide a correlation to support their own theories. (For the record, correlation does not prove causation, but it does suggest that causation is possible, and is a lot better as evidence than having nothing at all).

That is all.

Insuring High Turnout

Justin Raimondo has an interesting theory about how we'll insure high voting turnout in the Iraqi elections:
Namely, he thinks that we, or Iraiqs who believe that they will benefit from the elections, will coerce people to vote in order to insure high turnout.
So for those who are afraid to vote, there will now be a "damned if you do, damned if you don't factor" so the threats that might keep them home will be counterbalanced by threats if they stay home.
In all due fairness, I don't see that in the article that Justin references, and the statement by Falah Hassan al-Naqib seems more hyperbolic to me than an actual legal charge against non-voters.
On the other hand, intimidation of non-voters to balance out intimidation of voters would be ocnsistent with Justin's theory about Abu Ghraib:
Essnetially, the insurgency can only work if a lrage potion of the opulation acquiesces, either out of fear or out of sympathy for the insurgents.
Terrorizing Iraqis for non-compliance with even small rules (e.g. breaking curfew) might make them more scared of us than of the insurgents, and might also overcome any sympathy toward insurgents that some Iraqis may feel.

It's an interesting theory, and bears consideration. However, I'll wait for more data before I commit to an explanation.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Favorite and Unfavorite Shows

Here is a more comprehensive list of the shows that I currently like to watch:

Monk
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order
Crossing Jordan
House, M.D.
Strong Medicine
King of the Hill
Married... with Children
Everybody Loves Raymond
The Dead Zone

Shows I Don't Watch/Rarely Watch

Desperate Housewives
Sex & the City (I did watch a few episodes last year because some of my female friends liked to watch it and so when they saw it in the lounge I watched with them).
Reality shows
South Park
Friends
Seinfeld

Inhalers

An episode of Strong Medicine today brought up an interesting conundrum. Should schools have zero-tolerance policies even if it leads to people smuggling in illicit inhalants, or keep them all in the nurse's office even if it means that asthmatics can't always get to them.
Assuming that there isn't an easy way to resolve the problem (maybe children need to have their status as needing medication confirmed in order to bring medication into school, but can keep it with them if they have the authorization), my solution is to let the students have the inhalers.
If an idiot wants to huff chemicals and winds up dying as a result, too bad. That's his fault. Better him than an innocent who has ashthma and has no choice in the matter.
If it's a choice between letting some idiot kill himself with drugs and letting someone die from a disease they can't control, I say let the druggie die.
But then again, there is usually an "Option C," now, isn't there?

That is all.

News about Iraq the Model

An interesting blog post from Justin Raimondo on the AntiWar.com blog.
I'll try to comment more later, but I'll need to do some research first and I've got work to do now.

That is all for now.

UPDATE: Ali (formerly of Iraq the Model)'s response. Apparently the antiwarriors have attached too much significance to his spinning off into a new blog.

More from VDARE

A very interesting article by Terry Graham about the potential tensions between native-born blacks and new immigrants, and the role of the elite in trying to make believe that such tensions don't exist.

Martin Luther King Day Thoughts

Steve Sailer has some interesting thoughts.
Myself, well, from a libertarian stance I don't like a lot of the things that King stood for (he was socialistic; and anti-discrimination laws for private businesses are at their root socialistic) although getting rid of Jim Crow (governemnt-imposed discrimination) and protesting the Vietnam War were beneficial.

Barbara Lerner Strikes Again

Let's interpret what Barbara Lerner actually means here:
Casualties in Iraq have not gone done like we thought they would (except MAYBE the last few months), and it is unlikely that the American people will want to continually stay in Iraq amid these casualties just to prove to those Ay-Rabs that we mean business.
so let's blow up a lot of Syrians!
That's the neocons solution to everything, of course - expand the war, expand the war, expand the war.
And of course, the obligatory reference to how bad the CIA were for not letting Defense handle the interim government, which in essence means not putting Ahmad Chalabi in power.
Also, note this passage:

"[Fallujah] was the site of the first gross, triumphant, in-your-face public lynching of American civilians, and our fighting men did not want to negotiate with the lynchers' frontmen. They wanted to crush them, to send the life-saving message: If you butcher Americans, you die."

Let's not forget that those "civilians" were actually mercenaries; not that the treatment of them was justified, but the implication that they weren't a military arget is not entirely accurate. Also, note that what she wishes had happened would actually entail not just the killing of a large number of insurgents, but quite likely also the leveling of huge portions of the city and large civilian casualties (I don't see any other way to "crush" the insurgents in that case, unless we used ~ 50,000 troops and took several hundred fatalities going door to door). In other words, the CIA is to blame that we didn't just raze Fallujah to the ground.

That is all.

David Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

David Limbaugh apparently doesn't have a problem with the fact that:

"Bush administration is going to tout the Iraqi elections as legitimate even though 'the names of many candidates [and] the locations of many polling places' won't be announced in advance for security reasons."

(The quotes within the quote are from MSNBC's "First Read>").

I don't have a problem, I'll admit, with secret polling places only announced at the last minute if they wind up increasing security, but not announcing the names of candidates in advance; and quite possibly not even during, but only AFTER the elections, in essence means that the people won't know who they are voting for.

David Limbaugh doesn't have a problem with people voting for a list of unnamed candidates? Couldn't such a list be highly manipulated? That is, if the coalition really wants a particular group of candidates to win, can't those candidates just be inserted into the anonymous places on whichever lists win?

Moreover, doesn't list-based voting in itself make things highly manipulable? By putting, e.g., Chalabi on a popular list, the coalition can insure that he gets a position in the government.

Not that the elections are not necessary (without them, the shiites would probably revolt); but let's not kid ourselves that they are this huge significant thing.

That is all.

National Review Online

Recently, National Review Online has taken to posting the first 25-33% of an article, with an admonition at the bottom of the page that if you want to read the rest, you need to subscribe. Apparently the idea is to whet a person's appetite so that they'll have to subscribe in order to find out the totality of what the author said.

A little advice, though: if the goal is to write articles that make people want to subscribe in order to finish them, maybe you shouldn't choose this brilliant little piece of satire as the article to do it with.

That is all.

George W. Peter Pan

An interesting arrticle by he heroic John Birch Society pointing out how ridiculously cultish some Bush supporters are.

Speaking of those who worship Bush, have you read this article by Bush's high priest on the web?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Vin Suprynowicz and AIDS

Vin Suprynowicz has an interesting article about AIDS.

I am rather suspicious of the claim that HIV does not cause AIDS. Moreover, I seriously disagree with the idea that AIDS is not a contagious disease; if that were true, we couldn't have tracked it the way we did.

On the other hand, I find it eminently plausible that the incidence of AIDS in Africa is exaggerated due to loose definitions.
Not that there isn't a disease called AIDS caused by HIV, but it is not unlikely that a lot of Africans are misdiagnosed. Africa does not have the same medical facilities that we have in the U.S., and I doubt that there was ever a well-crafted epidemiology explaining who gave it to whom.

That is all.


That is all.

Bush and Accountability

Andrew Sullivan discovers something frightening about George W. Bush.
Synopsis: Bush thinks that being re-elected means that neither he nor anyone erlse in his administration should be held accountable for anything.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Abu Ghraib

Justin Raimondo's thoughts on Abu Ghraib.
My thoughts: I think that this goes up a lot higher than Graner. I think that more will become clear as time goes on.
And unlike the overly-optimistic neocons, I don't think that things will get better after the election, and I think that the US will eventually be put in a position to do a lot more Abu Ghraibs.

That is all.

Why We Need Them

A good article by David R. Henderson about why we need Fox News, even if they way too neoconservative.

That is all.

Iraqi Civil War Thoughts

Mike Whitney at Counterpunch suggests that Bush really wants a civil war in Iraq.
I'm not certain that that is trueper se, but I wouldn't be surprised if he wants the Sunnis crushed.
That is, I don't think that instability would be the goal as much as reducing the power of the Sunnis as much as possible. Of course, there is no guarantee that if the Sunnis were reduced in strength that the Shiites wouldn't start wondering what they need us around for. (The Kurds would still want protection from Turkey).
We'll see, I guess.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

TV Shows

With the Academy Awards coming up, let me list a few of my favorite TV shows of 2004.

Monk - As an OCD sufferer myself, I enjoy seeing how Adrian has to cope with his "curse," and the fact that he can still be a useful and productive member of society using his "gift." (And the "gift" and "curse" are in the end different sides of the same thing). I also like the story arc about Monk's murdered wife.

House - As a biochemist working on my Master's, I understand in broad terms, and sometimes in specific terms, what they are talking about on the show, so I don't suffer from the "jargon" factor that many do. And I like the idea of a misanthropic character who, underneath his exterior, really, truly cares. He may not say it, but the fact he'll do anything to cure someone shows he does. There appear to be character arcs in here, too, which are interesting.

Law & Order: SVU - I find the psychological aspects of sex crimes interesting. Moreover, the show is very fair in that it doesn't always assume one side. To be honest, the most interesting episodes in my opinion involved women as sexual predators. One of these, "Head," was the 2003-2004 season finale. (Another one, "Ridicule," my favorite episode, occurred in 2001. It involved a strangled woman who was one of three women accused of raping a male stripper - one of them was actually played by Diane Neal, who is now playing the ADA).

That is all.

Iraq - Getting Better or Not?

If the rest of January goes the same as the first half, there will be about 54 hostile and 24 non-hostile deaths. The hostile death rate will be about the same as that for December and October, and less than that of August or September (although an increase in non-hostile deaths makes up for most of that). I'm not counting November, which has an unusually high death count because we chose November for the invasion of Fallujah. Does this mean that the war is getting better? Let's wait until the end of the month to discuss this.

That is all.

Disclosure

I felt it would be a good idea to disclose that I am not receiving money from any candidate for a political office, nor am I receiving any money from anyone to push any point of view.
I'm bloggin' for the fun of it, and to get that ol' sitemeter to ring up a high visitor count.
In short, my main motivation is to become a famous paleo blogger.
And I do not have Armstrong Williams style conflicts.
I have received government money to the extent that my graduate student stipend (I'm studying biochemistry) was funded by government funds, but that hasn't influenced my opinions as far as I can tell.

That is all.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Debunking Again

Juan Cole debunks some pro-war propaganda.

Social Security

Matt Yglesias has been blogging a lot on Social Security.
He has two points:
(1) There is no crisis.
(2) Bush's privatization plan won't work.

He is:

(1) Wrong.
(2) Correct.

Respectively.

Dealing with the points in reverse order, privatization won't work because of the transition costs. For the government to invest large portions of current Social Security revenues would in the short term require a alrge amount of borrowing. Currently, Social Security revenues fund social programs (which is what the "trust fund" actually amounts to). If we divert the money to investments, then unless the president shows fiscal restraint good luck on that), we'll just borrow or inflate the currency (print money) to pay for it.

Also, even if this solution works, it will reduce the scale of the problem and not eliminate it. Put another way, let's assume that 20% of a person's SS taxes can be put in private accounts, but that benefits have to be reduced 20% for anyone participating in the private accounts. In effect, if everyone participates, then revenues and outlays will both be reduced by 20%, but any deficits will persist (although they are reduced 20%).

The only thing that private accounts could do is increase the average benefit that the participators get compared to those who use traditional Social Security. Of course, even this would be dependent on how well they invest, and on a number of other factors that influence how the market does as a whole (it should be noted that only individuals can beat the market, on average, people don't by definition). The only way that these private accounts would solve the problem of the SS deficits would be if those who participated in the private accoutnts had their benefits reduced by more than 20%, under the assumption that the higher returns from the stock market would make up for it. In any case, a severe reduction in benefits, not equivalent to the proportion of SS taxes put into private accounts, would be required.

As for the assertion that there is no crisis, that is based on the assumption that because Social Security has run a surplus for the past several decades, therefore there should be no problem getting that money back out of the "trust fund."
As the "trust fund" is simply a bureaucratic fiction where a moral obligation is placed on the general fund to pay Social Security benefits to an amount dependent on what general fund actiities have been funded by previous surpluses, this trust fund does not actually represent an independent cash flow. In other words, paying back Social Security from the trust fund requires the government raise money from taxes, cutting spending, inflating the currency, or borrowing. In effect, this is the same thing that would happen were there no "trust fund."

Of course, Mr. Yglesias realizes this and states that the solution to the Social Security deficits (these will probably start to appear sometime in the 2010s) is to rasie taxes. After all, other taxes were made lwoer by the SS surpluses, so why not raise taxes to pay SS back?

The problem is, of course, that raising taxes has serious economic consequences. In the end, the problem with Social Security is that the program will become a net drain, and at that point the program will require large tax increases. Larger than most people think, I would surmise, as the tax increases will themselves damage the economy.

Of course, Mr. Yglesias is right in one thing. The crisis is not Social Security, but the budget as a whole. If we cut spending on other programs and paid down the debt, we would have more ability to deal with Social Security becasue we would have more borrowing capacity (you have more leeway to borrow when you don't already have a mortgage). Of course, this has nothing to do with the "trust fund."

Ultimately the only real solution to Social Security, or the budget as a whole, is to cut spending. Even raising taxes is a temporary solution if the government can't control itself.

Rather than all of this complicated gobbledygook, it would be refreshing if the Bush administration decided to actually cut spending.

That is all.

Abu Ghraib and Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan makes a good point about how some people have minimized the problems at Abu Ghraib.

I'll be generous here and assume that most people making assertions such as these here are simply ignorant and are not deliberately pretending that the other abuses did not take place.

The same goes for the people who don't question whether or not everyone at Abu Ghraib was a terrorist.


None of which is to deny that Mr. Denis Boyles' piece is not spot-on as regards UN abuses. Those who think that the UN is any sort of savior are sadly mistaken.

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt mount the classic "tu quoque" on the Armstrong Williams' scandal.
That is, he wants us to concentrate on liberals who did the same thing.
Like Sean Hannity, his main goal is to show us that liberals are just as bad. Whenever confronted with something wrong that his side does, he simply tries to shift the argument to how bad the other side is.
This is part of the reason why I don't like Sean Hannity, and also part of the reason why Mr. Hewitt strikes me as a jackass.

Of course, I suppose that I have to be careful to avoid making my blog just a series of rants against the neocons and the other liberals as well. Please, if I am failing to be sufficiently critical of my side, tell me about it.

That is all.

No Thank You

Am I the only one tired of hearing about "natural male enhancement?"
And tired of the stupid ads where "natural male enhancement" turns you and your wife into a grinning moron?

Turning Points in the War

Since the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003, here is a list of various turning points in the war:

July 22, 2003 - Uday and Qusay are killed.
December 13, 2003 - Saddam Hussein captured.
June, 2004 - Sadr surrenders
June 28, 2004 - Transfer of sovereignty
November, 2004 - Fallujah captured
January 30, 2005 - Elections

It strikes me that the pro-war side has consistently misinterpreted the significance of these events.
Looking at the coalition fatalities, we find several things:

The capture of Qusay and Uday supposedly reduced the strucutre and power of the insurgency. However, this is only reflected in the death tolls if we assume that hte reduction in hostile fatalities from 28 in July o 18 in September is more than a conincidence. And in any case, they went up right afterward in October.

The capture of Saddam had no major effect on the fatalities; looking at the December fatalities shows that the reduction in fatalities from November ot December had been happening anyway - and in any case, November had such an unusually high number of casualties that it isn't a good reference point. And other than February, every month since December 2003 has had more hostile fatalities than any month from May 2003 to September 2003, and every month since January 2004 (except Febraury 2004) has had more hostile fatalities than any month from May 2003 to October 2004.

Al-Sadr's defeat reduced fatalities compared to those of April and May 2004, but every month from June 2004 on has had more hostile fatalities than any month from May 2003 to March 2004 except for November, so it hasn't broken the back of the insurgency or anything.

Now, the transfer of sovereignty was the biggest boo-boo of them all. We were supposed to believe that this would break the back of the insurgency and that they feared it so much that they would go all out to stop it. Supposely, June 2004 would have the most spectacular, tremendous attacks of the war, and the nthings would die down in July. As it turns out, June had fewer hostile deaths than April or May, July had the same number of hostile deaths as June, and then things got worse in August and September. The "transfer of sovereignty" neither discouraged the insurgents, nor did they do much to stop it. (Why would they/ It idn't actually mean anything).

The capture of Fallujah hasn't seemed to have much effect either. If current trends continue, January will have a hostile death toll similr to that of December and October. Things are quieter than in August or September, but this appears to have started before the siege began in November. Of course, it goes without saying that fatalities are way below where they were in November, but that is because of the high cost of the invasion of Fallujah itself; to auge the impact, we need o look a the periods prior to the invasion and after the completion of the invasion, and there seems little change there.

Finally, it appears as if there is no wave of increasing violence as elections approach. If the insurgents are afraid of elections, I'm not seeing them act to prevent them.

I don't think that we will see any major increase in attacks prior to the election, or any major attempt to derail the election.
However, I don't think that the election will change much, either. Things will stay much as they are, although I have a feeling that the general trend will be for them to get worse.
I suppose that a Sunni rebellion if they don't get enough representation is possible, but I think that we can head it off for now. A sudden uprising hasn't started yet, and I don't think it will now. Rather, any uprising will be more of what we are seeing now - a gradual escalation.

That is all.

Smallpox

I saw a little of the fake documentary Smallpox on FX. Just a little.

But two thoughts occur to me when I consider the possibility of a smallpox epidemic. The first is that smallpox is not as contagious as many believe. In fact, it is less contagious than measles. Look here for a Google seach of "How Contagious is Smallpox?"

Secondly, there is the fact that people are a lot better fed (not just in terms of quantity, but in terms of nutrition), and healthier in the western world now than they were back in the western heydey of smallpox, or in the third world over the past century, prior to smallpox's eradication. Nutrition, specifically vitamin A appears to decrease the mortality rate of measles. Presumably this is true of helath in general.

As Donald Miller points out, measles had become much less serious in the US even in the years prior to the vaccination:

"These facts are well known and proudly cited by vaccine proponents. What is less known, and doctors are not taught, is that the death rate for measles declined 97.7 percent during the first 60 years of the 20th century."
"With rare exception, a well-nourished child who contracts measles will recover smoothly from the infection."

(Note: I do not endorse Dr. Miller's take on the issue of vaccination; I am quoting the article for its discussion of nutrition and disease, not for its criticism of the current vaccination regimen)

Remember, smallpox was all but eliminated in developed countries by the mid-1900s. The cases over the next 30 years were mainly in third world countries where nutrition and health was generally not as good. As far as I know, all mortality figures we have are for societies without modern nutrition and medical advances.

Is it possible that the high mortality rate from smallpox would be a lot lower in a country where people are healthier due to better nutrition, sanitation, medical advances, etc.? Not that the medical advances include a treatment for smallpox, but rather that they prevent other conditions from exacerbating the disease.

In short, it seems to me that a smallpox epidemic would be less lethal than most people seem to suppose (as I understnad it, people just extrapolate mortality figures from the 18th and 19th centuries and from the third world in the 20th century to modern America), and that its spread would be slow enough that the disease could be severely curbed by quarantine and that we'd haev time to make enough vaccine before the disease got to pandemic proportions.

Any thoughts?

Sentinel Islands

For those of you who wonder where those xenophobic Sentinel Islanders that Steve Sailer has blogged on actually live, well here's a map of the Andamans. North Sentinel is located at 11.5 N, 92.2 E.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Debunking the Neocons

I'm sure my readers have heard of this:

"In his 1985 memoir about the war, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S."

Supposedly, this was said by Oliver North.

However, here and here it is stated that no such quote exists, indeed, the book apparently doesn't exist. In fact, it is even brought into question whether there is any evidence that Oliver North made such a statement.

What does this mean? It means that the case for believeing that the war would have ended had the antiwar protestors just shut up and not "given hope" to the enemy has just suffered an enormous blow.

And in the end, that is most of the issue of Vietnam; whether we could have "won" without basically killing everyone in the country.

As for the argument that we won the war in 1973 and that the South Vietnamese could have held off the North if we had kept up our agreement to aid them? I don't know enough about the merits of this case to say for certain; if so, then the conquest of South Vietnam by the North was a tragedy, it was preventable, and yes we could have won without killing everyone in the country, in fact, with a minimum of brutality and so we should ahve done so in my opinion. If not, though, and South Vietnam would have eventually required more military help - and direct help from us - then I think that we couldn't win without killing everyone, and so we did the right thing pulling out.

In any case, though, this just goes ot show you, don't believe everything that you read.

That is all.

Tet for Tat

An interesting take on the Tet Offensive by Michael Gaddy on LewRockwell.

Apparently, depending on whom you believe, Tet either proved that the North Vietnamese could not be permanently defeated and would keep rising again; or else was a discouraging blow to the Commies that would have ended the war if the antiwar types hd just shut up.

I think that the former is somewhat closer to the truth; I will elaborate in my next posting on why I distrust the latter statement.

In any case, I see two possible outcomes in Iraq if things continue down the current path:

(1) The insugency will continue to grow slowly. We will essentially need to use increasing manpower and resources to keep control, such as it is, of Iraq. Ultimately a rising tide of casualties will either become so unpopular that we will withdraw or the commanders will get so frustrated that we will engage in genocide to avoid withdrawing.

(2) Urged on in the belief that Iraqis would quiet down and acquiesce to us if only it weren't for those pesky foreign jihadis (because Iraqis love us so muich, you know), we will spread the war to Syria and/or Iran, and when covert action doesn't work, we invade. At this point, if we are to avoid a draft, the use of carpet-bombing and maybe even nukes will be necessary if we are to achieve victory in any sense.

Boy, is this depressing.

Sentencing Guidelines

I'll have to read up more on the Supreme Court decision about sentencing guidelines.

But the first thing that this makes me think of is the horrendous decision in the University of Michigan case.
In that case, the Supreme Court essentiallu ruled that quotas were okay, as long as you were circumspect enough (or dishonest enough) in how you applied them.

If this new ruling is anyhting like that, where the Supreme Court tries to play both sides of the fence in order to appease everybody, then it will have destroyed the last vestiges of respect that any decent American has for the process.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Red-Letter Day: I Agree with Joseph Farah

Joseph Farah thinks that Iraq needs to be broken up.
I pretty much agree, for once.
I'm sure I have more to say, but I am too tired right now.

That is all.

More on Male Fascination with Lesbians

It strikes me that the reason for this fascination is the same as the reason for male facination with woman warriors and adventurers, e.g. Lara Croft.
Namely, men are interested in the idea of a woman who likes the same things men do. In this case, women. The idea that a woman could appreciate strippers or Playboy really fascinates men.
Of course, most men who fantasize about lesbians are probably expecting them to be bisexual; few men would like the idea of a woman not interested in them.

Election Day Approaches

Juan Cole on the validity of the Iraq elections.

What will be especially interesting here is to see who actually gets into power. I have a feeling that the party lists will be somewhat stacked for the US's benefit. The fact that many of the candidates' names have not yet been revealed (and likely won't be until after the election, as I understand it) does seem a little suspicious.

I remember reading a comment on Matt Yglesias' blog that one of the reasons for using a proportional representation system in Iraq, rather than a voting-by-district system like the one the US uses, was to make it easier for exiles to vote, i.e. to give more power to Pachachi, Chalabi, and their cronies.

I wouldn't be surprised if some people are still trying to manipulate this thing for the ol' Chalabster.

That is all.

More Death Squad Thoughts

Juan Cole notes that the third option for dealing with Iraq:
in David Ignatius's recent Washington Post Article is likely to result in shiite and Kurdish death sqauds.

My Take on the Was Lincoln Gay Controversy

I don't give a flying rat's patootie.

That is all.

Thought for the Day

Fanfiction, the writing of stories by amateurs involving the characters, or at least the general precepts, of a TV show, movie, comic book, etc., is an overwhelmingly female endeavor, with women outrepresenting men by 2 to 1.

One very popular genre of fanfiction is slash, or yaoi; which is the pairing of two characters of the same sex (usually male, if they are female it is called femslash or yuri) who are generally portrayed as straight on the show. For example, Captain Kirk having an affair with Mr. Spock would be slash. (In general, pairing characters already known to be gay would presumably not be slash, but I can't think of any actual examples offhand).

[It should be pointed out that this is a subset of shipper fanfiction, which makes up the majority of fanfiction in my experience - shipper fanfiction is dedicated to pairing up two characters in a relationship and is often used as wish fulfillment for those who wish to see characters pair off in a different way than they actually do in the show, movie, etc.]

While I don't read slash myself, being a connoisseur of fanfiction I cannot help but notice how many stories have it indicated in the summaries that they have slash in them. Or how many times I have read a story only to find halfway through that a male character is longing for another male character.

My thought: is it possible that this is the female equivalent of the male fascination with lesbians?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Things to blog on

I suppose that I really should say something about the recent concerns that the tsunami has brought to the forefront; namely, concerns about various natural disasters, from Yellowstone to island landslides creating more tsunamis, etc.
Once I have a useful thought, I'll try to say it.

Also, at some point I should comment at length on Social Security. I tend to be against it, and to belive that the so-called "Trust Fund" is really a gimmick. I'll try to post some more detailed thoughts at some point.

And perhaps I should post a little more about Macs, being the proud owner of a G4.

Of course, I'll keep posting about the war and about my cantankerous complaints about politics and the two-party system, and the Bush-idolaters etc.

But I do realize that I need to branch out a little more.

At the same time, I need to stay topical; Glaivester is not going to be one of those boring blogs where I post pictures of my cats all day or talk incessantly about my personal life.

That is all - for now.

You heard it here first:

Kurdish Death Squads, anyone?
Hmmm, and hmmmmmmmm, and - oh yeah, hmmm-mmmm-mmm-mmm.

That. my friends, is all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Farah the Torturer

Joseph Farah, of the Bush Bend-Over Brigade, makes his position on torture clear:

We MUST torture the terrorists, because if we don't "win" (whatever that means) in Iraq, we'll get killed by bin Laden!

I can't help but notice that Mr. Farah hasn't written all the glowing reports of how much Iraqis love us and are grateful for liberation and how he plans to start a pro-Israeli political movement in the Arab world for a year or so. Perhaps he's finally geting his head out of the sand - or out of, well, let's just say the opposite end of his digestive tract.

It disturbs me that he, like Rush Limbaugh (Farah is a personal friend of Rush, by the way), dismisses the scandal at Abu Ghraib as nothing worse than "fraternity hazing" (although he perhaps is giving himself a backdoor to weasel out of by mentioning only the photographs he has seen, and ignoring the allegations of rape and homicide - although wasn't one of the dead bodies of prisonbers shown in the photo?)
For one thing, hazing is consensual. For another, hazing in some cases is pretty bad, as the folks in these article can CAN'T tell you. And of course, the rapes and homicides should enter into the equation.
And Farah also trots out the old chestnut about how we need to do whatever is necessary to win and how it will make things easier for the Iraqis in the long run in we get over our squeamishness.
What he neglects to consider is the question of whether the people in Abu Ghraib were actually terrorists or anti-American fighters. In fact, like most pro-warriors, he simply assumes (apparently, it never enters into his mind to try to prove that all of the Iraqis in the pictures were terrorists, or even to argue the point) that we wouldn't be doing things to them if they weren't.
However, some contend that many of the prisoners were innocent. Obviously, the Guardian, being anti-war, is not exactly an unbiased source of information, but I have yet to see any of the pro-warriors address his concern. If they want to deny that there are innocent Iraqis in Abu Ghraib, that is one thing. Or if that any of the ones who may have been picked up by mistake in random sweeps or for offenses such as looting, stealing, or breaking curfew that don't necessarily signal hostility in a military sense, were not in the particular part of Abu Ghraib where these abuses were taking place, that also would be understandable. But instead, they ignore these questions and simply take it for granted that all prisoners are terrorists.

I'll admit that I don't have a problem with torturing terrorists for information or with the guy who shot a gun near an Iraqi's head in order to find out about a planned ambush. But I'd like to make darn certain that the only people undergoing this sort of rigorous interrogation are actual enemies, and when the torture involves actual pain and degradation rather than just instilling fear, I'd like to make certain that are genuine terrorists (i.e. they deliberately attack civilians) rather than simple guerillas (i.e. they attempt as much as possible to attack only military targets). Lawful or unlawful, I don't think that we can legitimately truly torture (the firing the gun thing doesn't count) people simply because they resist an invasion of their country without wearing a uniform to do so.

Of course, perhaps Farah doesn't care if the Abu Ghraib prisoners are innocent. If torturing a bunch of people can get the one or two terrorists among them to talk, then screw the innocent civilians (oops - that may be exactly what they did). Killing lots of civilians now will prevent killing even more later, you know, so let's forget distinguishing combatants and non-combatants.
Considering Farah's belief that Fallujah should be razed to the ground (which we nearly, but didn't quite, actually wind up doing), perhaps this is really his position. Looking closer at the Fallujah article, I notice that he didn't even seem to thnk that we should have bothered giving the civilians a chance to get out.

Perhaps Farah is really concerned for the Iraqis, and truly believes that they want us to rule them into a liberal republic. Maybe he really does care about the Fallujans and it grieved him to suggest that we might need to kill a lot of civilians now, but he supported it because he felt that the alternative would cause more deaths in the end.
On the other hand, maybe he was lying when he acted like he was so happ for the Iraqis; maybe he doesn't care one whit about liberating them and it was all a smokescreen. Perhpaps in the end he wants to raze Fallujah because he doesn't care whether it makes the war bloody or not, he wants those Iraqis DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!!!! After all, dead Iraqis make life easier for Israel, and even give them more space to dump the Palestinians. (Farah in this article is obviously saying that Israel should transfer its Palesinian population to Iraq, although for some reason he is too chicken to actually say that he supports transfer).
For all the talk about neocons and Israel, I don't think that Israel's interests were the major factor in this war, although only a fool would deny that they played a role.
However, some of the pro-war people are definitely thinking in terms of "Israel first." (btw, Paul Wolfowitz, whom I consider a neocon, is NOT one of these, so this isn't a "Jewish thing"). Richard Perke is one. Joseph Farah (who is an Arab-American, by the way, this really isn't a "Jewish thing") is obviously another.

I don't mind the idea of transfer of the Palestinians, nor do I have anything against Israel. But the deviousness of Farah (in that he won't come out and say the word "transfer") and his constant fawning sycophantism about Israel, and his obsequious gushing over how wonderful it is, has become absolutely sickening.

That is all.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm number one!

If you search for Warren Cuccurullo (guitarist for Duran Duran for most of the time that Andy Taylor was gone) on Google, but misspell it "Warren Cucurello," guess what webpage comes out on top?

Liberals Don't Get It

Mickey Z. at Counterpunch believes that it is a bad idea to use DDT to kill mosquitoes and prevent malaria in the hird world, because it is so much better to give everyone a living wage and an entitlement to clean water.

It never occurs to Mickey that a capitalist system may be more efficient at providing these things, or that these things will take time (and in the meantime, DDT will help prevent malaria, indeed, it has helped back when it was used), or that a decrease in malaria because we use DDT might help to promote the economic development that will bring about a more permanent and environmentally-friendly solution.

That is all.

Thoughts on Clarence Thomas

Hack Kelly has an interesting article about Clarence Thomas and the liberal hatred of him (hey, he's a hack, but he's not necessarily wrong on everything).
I do think that part of the liberal disaffection for Thomas is because they see conservative blacks as traitors.
However, it is a mistake, in my opinion, to look at Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia as being the same on legal issues.
As Myles Kantor has pointed out, Scalia is a conservative ideologue and Thomas is more of a Constitutional ideologue, which is why Thomas will sometimes go against federal programs designed to advance conservative ideas.
Perhaps liberals are afraid that Thomas, having some freedom from the dominant leftist-statist/rightist-statist paradigm, is less of a person they can work with than Scalia is.

That is all.

Taking Immigration Control Seriously

The Sentinel Islanders will do what it takes to protect their borders from foreigners, including attacking the foreigners - even when the foreigners are in helicopters and the Islanders have only bows and arrows.
Perhaps this is xenophobic and racist, but considering the fact that isoalted island races tend to go extinct when they come into contact with wider civilization, perhaps the Sentinel Islanders are being really smart.

Rosemary's Mildly Retarded? Lobotomize her...

...can't have her finding a boyfriend and maybe getting pregnant, her brothers are going to run for president someday!
Besides, if the operation leaves her a near-vegetable, you can always use her for publicity to showcase your concern for the disabled.
Hey, it worked for the Kennedys...
Thomas DiLorenzo makes an excellent point about the corruption of "America's Royalty" on LRC's blog.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Bad Day for the Ukraine

Today 7 Ukrainians and 1 Kazakhistani were killed in an accidental explosion of ammunition in Iraq. This could well be the largest single-day non-hostile death toll in Iraq for several months - if not the largest so far of the war.

That is all.

A Bit of Trivia

According to this, the oldest currently-registered .com domain is this.

(Credit the agitator for linking on his website).

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Predictions for 2005

Here are a few predictions, and one of these days I'll go back to my previous predictions and see how they panned out:
Those of you who want to test me, be sure to save the perma-link (# sign) at the lower left hand corner of the post, right-click on it and choose "copy link" and then save it as a text file, or otherwise choose "bookmark link" or something. Then, if I forget to link to this later, you can email me or post a comment saying "See! You were wrong! Hahahahahaha."

1) At least 1000 American troops will die in Iraq during 2004. Troop levels will not decrease unless by necessity.
2) The January 30 elections will occur, and there will be many charges of irregularities by the Sunnis, and some charges of irregularities by a few Kurdish and Shiite groups, although the majority of those groups will support the results, or at least be indifferent to them.
3) The insurgency will not be affected in any significant way by the elections.
4) Ahmad Chalabi will get a position of political power.
5) Neither Syria nor Iran will fall on its own, but we will not invade either or them either, as we lack the number of troops to do so. Basically, I don't see the situation in the greater Middle East (i.e. outside of Iraq) changing a whole lot, whatever occurs in the war on terror or in Iraq.
6) Nothing will happen on the Social Security front.
7) Bush's amnesty proposal will begin to cause a break-up of the GOP; not that people will defect, but we will get increasing levels of criticism from the GOP against Bush that will make it difficult for the GOP to get any sort of agenda passed.
8) Nothing new will happen on the gay "marriage" front.
9) There will be a major terrorist attack (>100 deaths) in Europe by Muslims that will cause an anti-Muslim backlash.

That is all - for now.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mike-Shill Rubin strikes again

This article is interesting to me mainly for the fact that it highlights Mr. Rubin's main failing: consistently interpreting the Iraqi's feelings with few if any quotes to corroborate his claims; his favorite tactic seems ot be to state that "Iraqis say" or "many Iraqis say" without actually giving any evidence that they do. In fact, in many cases, I see no evidence at all that Iraqis feel that way, and it seems ot me that he is simply stating his preferences and attributing them to anonymous Iraqis who are probably also fictional;

"Many Iraqis complain about incomplete de-Baathification."

"Professional American diplomats and intelligence analysts may approve the snub (of Chalabi), but Iraqis say it strikes them as petulant and unprofessional."

"Not only those in the Shia south, but also many Baghdadis talk about voting 169, the position of the Iraqi National Alliance on the ballot."

And despite this, he seems to denigrate the opinions of those who question whether the elections can be held by pointing out that they are anonymous (unlike Mr. Rubin's many specific and well-publicized sources?). He than states that "It is time to listen to the Iraqis."

You mean to the Iraqi named - Michael Rubin?

Or is it Mike-Shill, as in Shill for Ahmad Chalabi?

That is all.

Art Spiegelman, With a Human Face for a Change

For my birthday (Thanksgiving in 2004), one of my presents was part II of the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. A graphic novel is a longer comic book published in hardcover or paperback rather than magazine format, for those unfamiliar with the term.
For those who aren't familiar with it, Maus is two stories: first, the story of his father, Vladek Spiegelman, and how he survived the Holocaust (Art himself was born after, in 1948). Second, it is the story of his relationship to his father as he interviews him about his experiences for this book.
The gimmick, or conceit, or what-have-you of Maus is that the character's nationalities are portrayed through replacing their heads with those of animals. Jews are mice (hence the title), Germans cats, Americans dogs, Polish pigs, French frogs, British fish, Norwegians (or is it Swedes?) as elk, and a few other animals representing nationalities that are not made explicit. When people tried to pretend to be another nationality (Polish Jews pretending to be Polish Gentiles in order to escape capture, for example) they were portrayed as wearing masks with the desired animal's face.
It should be noted that except insofar as it relates to nationality, race wasn't included in the metaphor; an African-American in one scene is simply portrayed as a black dog.
In any case, for those of you who wish to see what Art Spiegelman actually looks like without the mouse-mask, scroll to the bottom of this page. For some reason, he seems a little underwhelming; I always imagined him a more gaunt and with a moustache (probably from his portrayal of himself in his four-page comic "Prisoner on the Hell Planet," which dealt with his mother's suicide, and which appears in Maus I - of course, that portrayal was of him when he was twenty, so it is not surprising that it looks nothing like him now he's in his mid-fifties).
I think in some ways that Maus has been the moat moving portrayal of the Holocaust I have seen. Perhaps this is because the book utterly lacks a political agenda. Spiegelman wishes to show us what happened, not to use it to impose his ideas of how society should operate; infact, he specifically denies wanting to send a message in a little insert in the second book.
It also contains (although this may sound sappy) a moving affirmation of the human spirit, and triumph over adversity, etc. The will to survive of Vladek and his wife Anja during the Holocaust and their perseverance and final victory as they survive past the German defeat and find each other again is overwhelming. That there are people who could go through what they did and actually eke out an existence is simply amazing.

I think I'll close with a quote from Vladek (as best as I can recollect it) from the start of book I, when a young Art cries because his friends roller-skated away without him:
"Friends? You friends? Lock them in a room with no food for ten days, and then you'll see what it is, friends."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Merit and Mobility

I find it very interesting that this Economist article makes the assumption that a meritocracy would automatically produce social mobility. The possibility that merit may to a large extent be inherited doesn't seem to occur to anyone.

An American Blue Revolution?

Unfortunately, the nullification of the election in the Ukraine may have inspired the Democrats. Apparently, there is a move to challenge the Ohio vote.
I suppose I should be upset, but I'm too interested in seeing what all of the pundits who hailed the Yushchenko turnaround victory will say about this.
Likely, they'll compare it rather to Yakunovych's challenge of the new election results: Hack Kelly already seems to think that Yakunovych's challenge, not Yushchenko's, is the one to compare to Al Gore's challenge of the election in 2000:

"Yanukovich, taking a leaf from Al Gore's playbook, has refused to concede. But the handwriting is on the wall."

But then again, most of the neocons tend to believe that whatever they want represents the desires of all people of goodwill nationwide, so perhaps they are not being disingenuous.

Mackubin Thomas Owens Kissin' Rummy's Butt-Cheeks

A very good point made by Mac Owens on NRO.
Rumsfeld is not responsible for anything, and everything is someone else's fault.
Too few troops? It's Turkey's fault for not letting us use their country as a northern front, and the fault of the generals for not planning: "but Wilson reserves his toughest criticism for Army commanders who, he concludes, failed to grasp the strategic situation in Iraq and so not did not plan properly for victory." Presumably, he is suggestingthat the real problem is that we succeeded only too well, but if he is suggesting that it is the uniforms who underestimated the difficulty of occupying Iraq, he is dead wrong, as an article by James Fallows in the Atlantic monthly (sunscription required to see more than the first paragraph or so) revealed.
In any case, the knee-capping of General Shinseki when he suggested we needed more troops shows that if generals were reluctant to plan for a difficult occupation, they had good reason.
Mac also suggests that it's the fault of the uniformed military because they often exaggerrate troop requirements in order to stop wars they don't want to fight, and also lambastes war critics for criticizing Rumsfeld for under-manning the occupation because according to him, the argument has shifted since before he war: namely, it was originally suggested that we didn't even have enough troops to depose Saddam, which in hindsight was obviously false, and then the idea that it was the occupation that was short-staffed only became an issue after we won the initial combat phase of the war.
This ignores the fact that generals like Shinseki were concerned with troop levels because of hwo many troops they felt were necessary to hold Iraq while democratizing it, not with how many troops were necessary to depose Saddam.
In essence, Mr. Owens is suggesting that ritics of Rumsfeld are upset at him for not being omniscient or for not planning the war perfectly.
No, we are upset at him because his strategy for the war was based on the totally unrealistic assumption that as soon as we conquered Iraq, the people would rally to us, allowing us to democratize Iraq with very few troops. Only a person with optimism bordering on the moronic would have thought this.
It would be far more believable if Mr. Owens went the Newt Gingrich route and said that Rumsfeld's plans were perfect, but that those evil State Deptartmenters and CIA people wouldn't let us install Chalabi, who would have magically caused Iraq to quiet down and democratize. I mean, if you believe in fairy tales, why not go all the way?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Quitting is Illegal

An excellent article by Jeffrey Tucker on the nature of the modern military, and a chance to think again about our enemy, the state.

What if the Sunnis Don't Vote?

The christian Science Monitor asks an important question.
From his statements on Fox News, I have a feeling that Charles Krauthammer's answer is "screw them."
And if they decide the government is illegitimate and try to fight against it?
I have a feeling that sooner or later, the neoconservative answer will be more or less genocide or ethnic cleansing.
Of course, it will take a while before this answer asserts itself, but as it becomes clearer and clearer that you can't force a square peg into a round hole, and as indulging neocon fantasies gets costlier and costlier, eventually we'll be forced to choose between killing all or most of the Arab Sunnis or pulling out.
I fully expect the neocons to be willing to kill the Arab Sunnis to the last amn before they would consider pulling out.

That is all.

CIA Purge and Chalabolatry

The Washington Post has a very honest assessment of the CIA purge.
"It seems quite possible that the service is being punished for having been right, or at least unsupportive of administration policy."
Of course, to the totallyclueless Bush-worshippers who see the CIA's (and the State Department's) intransigence as the only thing holding back the wondrous Iraqi democracy from taking shape (and preventing the wonderful Ahmad Chalabi, beloved by Iraqis, from taking his rightful place as new ruler, the CIA was wrong, wrong, wrong, and the democracy would already be here by now and our troop levels greatly reduced if only we'd stuck to the original plan (i.e. installed Chalabi).

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

WND vs. PRC

Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily apparently believes that it is time for the US to threaten to go to war with China.
I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Farah's primary problem is that he is insane.

That is all.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Stingy First World?

I disagree with the guy who characterized developed countries as stingy, particularly in the case of the US, but I refuse to get worked up over it - first, when tens of thousands or more people are dying, you don't always think clearly. If a fire were destroying my city, I might get angry at the firefighters for not putting it out immediately, even if they were doing as best as they could. Secondly, his statement may well have played a role in the increase in aid given by developed countries (including the US) that day or the next. If his goal was to get aid as quick as possible, then he probably succeeded (that is, he succeeded if his words were the impetus for the increase in aid) and I won't begrudge him an inaccurate accusation or two that he made in desperation in order to get help for his people as quick as he could.

If we want to get angry at foreigners, how about getting angry at the butt-wipes in Europe and Canada who won't extradite murderers because they don't like the idea that we execute?

Libertarianism, Yglesias, and the Tsunami

Matt Yglesias wonders why no libertarians save the Ayn Rand institute are up in arms about the government prviding aid to the victims of the tsunami.
My answer - the amount of money involved is very small, and the cause for which it is being spent is rather benign and is an isolated, unusual occurrence. Even if it is wrong for the government to spend money on aid on principle, sometimes you have to choose your battles. It doesn't mean that libertarians have abandoned their principles, just that we have more pressing issues to focus on that aren't as bad PR.
Sure, on some level you should believe in your principles even in extreme or minor situations, but with limited time and political capital, sometimes it's better to focus on things that are big and that you have more of a chance of convincing people on. If there were no war in Iraq, threatening to expand, no abusive criminal justice system that is more concerned with convictions than with justice, no indirectly government-imposed quotas and destructive war on drugs or any of those other truly destructive impositions of the government, then there is no question that we should be fighting to end state-sponsored aid and to privatize relief efforts for things such as the tsunami. But for right now, this is simply not the best battle to fight.

That is all.

More from LewRockwell.com

Good ol' Llewellyn has another interesting column on his website:
Neal Zupancic explains why liberals aren't necessarily the best critics of the war.
Of course, I don't think that he is correct about the WMDs (he thinks that Bush's apparent belief that Saddam had WMDs was both sincere and logical) , but he is right that many of the liberals come at this issue from a position that is not entirely consistent.

That is all.

Right to Choose?

On Llewellyn Rockwell's site Scott Rosen has an interesting article that explains very well the libertarian position on pharmacists who refuse to provide birth control or other conroversial medications.
In short, whoever owns the pharmacy has the right to determine the policy.

That is all.

Lifetime

I don't know if this is appropriate for a male paleoconservative, but I really like the Lifetime Channel, particularly Strong Medicine. I can't help but wonder what a crossover with House, M.D. would be like.

Sorry about a relative lack of political posts recently. When something big that I can find an interesting opinion on happens, I'll try to post.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Addition to my Links

I am adding Clark Stooksbury to my links on the lefthand column. He's listed by his last name, though, so if you look for his name, it's after Steve Sailer (who is listed by his first name). At some point, I will try to make my links more standardized, but not right now.
Mr. Stooksbury has some thought-provoking posts and seems to be a good paleoconservative. Check out his blog.

That is all.

Happy New Year

A good way to start the New Tear - watching "Last Call with Carson Daly."
His show had some Canadian singer, Avril something-or-other, Maroon how-much-have-you, and the some sort of dolls singing for New Yorkers on New Years Eve.
But who cares? The show also featured also had Duran Duran.

One nitpick, though - Duran Duran haven't come back after 18 years - Duran Duran has been playing more or less continuously and put out the album Pop trash 4 years ago - well, 4 1/2, really now. The Classic Lineup of Duran Duran us what has returned - John, Andy, AND Roger Taylor, with the constant members Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes, with Warren Cucurello gone to pursue his own projects.

So reach up for the sunrise, fellow Duran-fans!
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