Monday, February 28, 2005

Good Ol' Joe Farah

Joesph Farah gives me my link to explain the mindset I mentioned in the previous post:

"Honestly, I never really expected to see Lebanon so close to freedom and independence again."

Independence, yes. Freedom? The idea that Syria is the only thing holding back the Lebanese from freedom is ridiculous.

I predict a restart of the civil war.

Just as civil war has broken out in Iraq.

That is all.

Thoughts on Lebanon

If the Lebanese want the Syrians out, they should get out. They should get out of the government, and if the Lebanese want them to remove their troops as well, then the Syrians should remove them. If the Lebanese want the Syrians to stop interfering with their govenment but wnat the troopsto stay to stabilize Lebanon, then the Syrians should stop interfering with their government and then determine whether or not they still want troops in the country.

My caveat is: don't assume that without the Syrian troops, Lebanon will blossom into a democracy. I get the sense that some neocons feel that Lebanon would have stayed a wonderful democracy had not the Syrians occupied it; that it was Syria (and/or other Arab countries') fault that the war started in the first place.

I think that the war started because of demographic shifts, and that it would have happened without outside interference; and that unoccupied Lebanon will not revert to democracy but will fall back into civil war.

I'll try to find some links later to support these positions.

That is all.

Did Syria do it?

Gary Leupp offers an excellent argument that Syria did not kill Lebanese prime minister Hariri.

Chris Sanders argues the same thing.

I won't say that I agree with the simplistic analysis that the US or Israel did it, but definitely Israel and the US have benefitted from the assassination politically.

Who did it? My guess is that it was done by some Lebanese faction that thought its agenda would be served by Hariri dying and by Syria getting blamed for it.

That is all.

What Was Not Said

In the CNN report on the suicide bombing in Hilla, CNN neglects to mention an important fact:

Hilla is a mainly Shia city.

Civil war, anyone?

That is all.

Astounding! I Agree with David Frum Again!!!!

As much as I castigate him for his support of Chalabi, on gay marriage when David Frum is right, he is right. Gay marriage is already changing the societal attitudes toward marriage in Canada.

That is all.

Hostile/Non-Hostile Timeline

Iraq Coalition Casualties' Hostile/Non-Hostile Timeline for Coalition Fatalities now has the option of looking at just US deaths as well as total coalition deaths.

That is all.

Hack Kelly is at it Again!

The war in Iraq has been won!
Of course, he was saying the same things back in October of 2003, so don't put too much faith in him.

That is all.

Prisons and Ethnic Gangs and Rape

Steve Sailer weighs in on SCOTUS stupidity.

That is all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Costs of War

Charles V. Pena has an interesting point about the cost of the War in Iraq.

"Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has surmised that 'we will never achieve democracy and stability [in Iraq] without being willing to commit 500,000 troops, spend $200 billion a year, probably have a draft, and have some form of war compensation.'"

As I have said before, I have a feeling that if it comes to the point where the costs of the war are overwhelming, and if Bush is not willing to withdraw, and if he refuses to go to a draft, there is only one option: mass murder.

If it comes to that, I have a feeling that the administration will resort to simply firebombing Sunni Arab towns and massacring the survivors, until the Sunni Arabs are finally subdued or wiped out.

Of course, without hte Sunni ARabs, there is a good chance that other problems will appear in Iraq, but wiping them out would probably be the government's first step.

Oh, cynical am I? Surely, wonderful, Christian George W. Bush wouldn't commit genocide, would he?

Ha.

That is all.

Stupid Arguments

The stupidest argument about "gay rights" (i.e. antidiscrimination laws) is that they attract businesses, or conversely that not having the mscares businesses away.

"Companies may be hesitant to move to Maine because MAine doesn't have a nondiscrimination law," according to Betsy Smith of Equality Maine.

Poppycock.

A business that doesn't wish to discriminate doesn't have to.
So-called "gay rights" laws are simply more government regulation, people telling businesses and private property owners that they must hire or serve people whom they wish not to serve, and providing a greater number of charges for which people can fire lawsuits.
Does any business ever say "I won't locate in that state because they don't regulate me enough?"
Of course not. The idea that some companies are hesitant to locate in Maine because we do not tell them that they MUST hire homosexuals is stupid. If we had a law prohibiting the hiring of homosexuals, then yes, that would depress business, and a nondiscriminatio nact that repealed the law and allowed businesses to hire gays would attract new business.
But as businesses ae now perfectly able to hire gays if they so wish, there is no reason for a company not to locate here because Maine hasn't made the choice (to hire or not hire gays) for them.

People who believe that gay rights bill should be passed because it is just should say so. But they shouldn't use bogus and stupid economic arguments.

That is all.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Send John Paul Stevens to Prison

An excellent article on prison rape from about a year ago by the late Sam Francis.

I think that the Supreme Court Justices who vote against the 60-day segregation policy in California ought to be sent to prison themselves for a few days. Then let's see how they feel about it.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Supreme Court: Let the Prisoners get Raped

The idiots at the US Supreme Court have decided that "fighting racism" is more important than insuring prisoner safety.
If you want to know why I think this is outrageous, read this article by Nicholas Stix.
Particularly upsetting is John Paul Steves, who apparently thinks that if there is never a justification for segregation, and if a Black Panther and a Ku Klux Klan member were each in jail for racially motivated murders, it would be A-OK to put them together in a cell.
So much for sanity.
Oh, yeah, and I wish that Supreme Court people who put ideology above prisoner's safety get sent to prison themselves, so they have to deal with the consequences of their decisions. Especially John Paul Stevens.

That is all.

Mac-kers, be Polite

Unlike many Macintosh users, I feel no need to be mean to Windows users unless they are mean to Mac users.

I think that this sort of thing (WARNING! OBSCENE LANGUAGE) is totally uncalled for.

That is all.

Conspiracy Nut

Michael Ledeen (I'll have to change the link later when a permalink becomes available) admits that the insurgency isn't necessarily jihadists. Also, he admits that they are not all of one group with a single agenda.
But he quotes an opinion on Iraq the Model that seems to me to be the result of Mohammed believing a very propagandistic broadcast to indicate that the real culprit is the undemocratic regimes of the region (particularly Syria). Apparently, the "terror network" we are fighting against is not united based on ideology or national interest, just on a hatred of democracy.

"We are engaged in a regional war against a terror network that cannot be reduced to a simple, ethnic or religious, element. The network is bound together by a common hatred of us and our friends and allies, not by a single religious fanaticism, and the terrorists come in all shapes and descriptions."

I admit that most of the various groups that oppose us are not bound by any particular element, but I also don't think that they operate in a coordinated fashion, nor do I think that there is some Syrian or Iranian svengali orchestrating their movements. Rather, for the most part each one independently operates to kill what they see as invaders of their countries (or manipulators of their societies and governments), and occasionally there are ad hoc alliances.

I doubt that Ledeen is stupid or that he is honestly mistaken in what he says. Rather, I think that he is lying in order to rovoke us into a war with Syria and Iran. (I also belive that he really wants a military war and does not truly believe that a little American goodwill will cause the Iranians to overthrow the mullahs). whether he is doing this because of Messianic democratism or an ulterior motive relating to Israel's interests I don't know.

That is all.

Why I Don't Like Seinfeld

I never got into Seinfeld. I guess the characters were just too shallow for me to care about them.
But something more bothers me.
There was an episode of Seinfeld where, in essence, there was a big joke that Jerry was afraid that his dentist and the dentist's nurse had raped him while he was under anesthesia.
I don't find that particularly funny.
(I checked the internet, and the episode is "The Jimmy.")

That is all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Just a Thought

Jonah Goldberg's post on the Corner is a fairly accurate description of Bill Maher.

That is all.

Call-Out to House Fans

I missed about 15 seconds of the show tonight. Unfortuantely, it was at the best part. Can someone tell me how marijuana relates to cadmium poisoning? Just put it in the comments, PLEASE!

Abu Aardvark and the Oil-for-Food Scandal

This post by Abu Aardvark highlights an important point:
A lot of neocons saw "conspiracy" written on the wall when Chalabi's ofices (or home, I forget which) were raided this summer.
They thought that the State Department wanted to get his files on the oil-for-food program because they were trying to help the UN cover up its complicity.
In reality, if we were trying to get files on Oil-for-Food, it's probably because we didn't want Chalabi to put them in his purple files (see fourth paragraph under "Government") to use later when he wanted something.

That is all.

Is Frum Blowing a Gasket?

After this celebratory anticipatory victory lap, I wonder how the little Frummer boy feels about THIS news.

That is hardly all, my friends, that is hardly all.

Condi NOT the Right Choice

For once, I am in total agreement with Joseph Farah.
A pro-choicer like Condoleeza Rice would be a terrible choice for running mate or for president.
Even forgetting the moral issue, she'd split the GOP in two. Unless, of course, big fat opportunists like Jerry Falwell (a) decided to sell out their principles to the GOP again ("who cares about abortion? Hillary! We'd have Hillary!") and (b) were able to convince their fans to follow them.

I wouldn't bet on it.

That is all.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

David the Liar

I'll say it explicitly. David Frum is a bald-faced liar. He wants to pretend that the Iraqis are the ones clamoring for Ahmad Chalabi. Considering that the elections appear to have been specifically designed to force the Iraqis into voting for him (at least, those who liked Sistani couldn't vote agianst him without voting against the entire Sistani list), the idea that the anti-Chalabists are trying to thwart the will of the Iraqis is ludicrous.
There is no evidence that Chalabi is popular among Iraqis.
If he really is so popular, how about he and other andidates facing off in a REAL election as candidates, rather than as selectees on lists whose contents are to a great extent not made public until just before the election and maybe not even then?

I think that ol' Dave is suffering from Michael Rubin syndrome.

That is all.

Onward to Iran?

Gordon Prather worries that Isrrael may strike Iran in order to stop its nuclear program.
Personally, I wouldn't care either way, except that we have troops in Iraq and if a major conflagration breaks out, they could well be in the crossfire.
Yet another reason to leave Iraq ASAP, which I am beginning to think is the only solution for us.

That is all.

Oh, this Looks Good.

Apparently, the new Iraqi parliament is considering scrapping the "Kurdish veto" provisions of the transition administrative law.

Oh, yes. Why oh why does anyone worry about civil war?

Let Someone Else Handle It.

Alan Bock has the right idea about Syria.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Another Incorrect Prediction by the Antiwar Crowd

The antiwarriors worried about a civil war breaking out in Iraq.
Of course, like they were about so many things, they were wrong about this.
I mean, Iraq had elections, is on its way to democracy, and there are no signs of civil war ANYWHERE.

That, my friends, is all.

Sorry for Light Blogging

I'm finishing up the first draft of my master's thesis, so I'll be blogging light for a little while.

That is all.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Watch Out, Iran?

This could be disturbing.

Jerome Corsi's commentary is even more so, as he seems to be pushing for us to go to war with Iran and Syria - both at he same time.

This would require either a draft, or the total incineration of those countries from the air, perhaps with nukes.

Along with Paul Craig Roberts, I think that the latter is more likely.

Perhaps ol' Gary Brecher was right?

That is all.

The Little Frummer Boy on Chalabi

Ol' Dave is shilling for the Chalabster again.

"And in truth he's not an easy man to understand. He is subtle, sometimes guileful, working in the service not of the United States (though he has sought and accepted US aid), not of Israel (though he's often accused of that), not of himself (there are less dangerous ways of making a living than fighting Saddam Hussein) - but, to borrow a phrase of Charles DeGaulle's, of a "certain idea" he has had of Iraq."

Bull excrement. He may not be working for the US, or Israel, or Iran, but he is working for himself. There are less dangerous ways to make a living than fighting Saddam, but few have the ability to make him and his family the new scions of an oil-rich country.
The idea that Chalabi couldn't possibly be working for his own benefit because he can make a good living, and even be rich, doing something less hazardous than running an Iraqi opposition movement and then trying to get power in the new Iraq is absurd. People who are rich and powerful are generally interested in getting more rich and powerful. If all people ever wanted was enough, how come Hitler and Napoleon kept conquering more countries until they were stopped by outside forces?
As Steve Sailer has pointed out, the change of regime to enriched Chalabi's family.

"Iraq's new prime minister-designate, Iyad Allawi, is the cousin of the defense minister Ali Allawi, who is Chalabi's nephew. Whether Iyad and Ahmed will be clannish colleagues or relative rivals is impossible for me to predict, but clearly the regime we are creating will be rife with dynastic intrigues."

And don't forget nephew Salem Chalabi, who is invovled in the prosecution of Saddam.

There are two heories on why the neocons love Chalabi so much:
(1) Because he has promised to be friendly to Israel. This either means that the neocons are stupid (as Chalabi would, I believe, sell out Israel in a second if it furthered his ambitions) or else are confident that they can keep him on their side (if he was, as seems likely, leaking secrets to Iran, it is possible that this was because he wasn't getting the power he thought he deserved. In this case, they might think that they could buy him back with by promising him more power.
(2) There's another option that is mentioned also by Steve Sailer. If true, it's a serious charge, so I'll remain coy at this point. But it wouldn't surprise me if it were true.

That is all for now.

AIDS is a Contagious Disease, not a Disability

Scientists astounded.

(Okay, yes, I am channeling Llewellyn Rockwell here).

Jobs US Citizens Won't Do

An interesting insight on why Americans are not studying graduate-level science in greater numbers by Edwin S. Rubenstein.

That is all.

Debt? We Don't Owe no Steenkin' Debt!

Sean Corrigan has a solution for Third World indebtedness.

That is all.

On to Syria?

Justin Raimondo thinks that the Bush administration is pushing for a war with Syria. I can't say that I disagree. Matt Yglesias endorses the idea that we should take action against Syria if it turns out that Syria was involved in the murder of Rafik al-Hariri, although he doesn't say whether that action would include incasion and conquest.
I'm not certain that Matt is correct in this. Even if Syria were involved, I don't see why we have the responsibility of takinbg care of the problem.

The War Nerd thinks that Bush will attack Iran. No, he knows that we don't have enough troops and that we can't possibly afford such an attack. But he thinks that that is exactly why Bush will attack. Because Bush has no common sense.

On that cheerful note, let me say:

That is all.

Monday, February 14, 2005

More on the Iraqi Election Results

Matt Yglesias revises a previous statement about the Iraqi Transition National Assembly.
Apparently, a simply majority can do a lot of things, which makes the fact that the UIA didn't get a majority meaningful, contra my previous post on the subject.

So Steve Sailer's "Nelson Mandela thesis" is beginning to look more likely (as we now have a motive!)

That is all.

What's Wrong with Liberals

Nicole Colson on Counterpunch claims that pro-choicers aren't trying to force their beliefs on us, but I notice that she thinks that taxpayers ought to be forced to pay for abortions through Medicaid.
I also notice that she seems to think that suggesting that abortion is not entirely a good thing is anti-choice, and apparently thinks that it is oppressive that Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority feels that people should work for there to be fewer abortions (by which Ms. Smeal obviously means nothing more than that we should work to prevent unwanted pregnancies).
Apparently, Ms. Colson believes that we should work for there to be more abortions. And that's the problem with Counterpunch. I do sometimes (often, really) read it because of its antiwar stance. But they that write for it are mainly a strange bunch, and half of what they write is B.S. (albeit sincere B.S.). That is why they don't have a link on my links page.

That is all.

Learned it Yet?

More evidence that government tends to be counterproductive no matter what it does.

More Intersting News from Steve Sailer

At the risk of appearing to be a shill, Steve Sailer has an interesting article up on VDARE.

That is all.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Is the Fix in?

More thoughts from Steve on the historic elections.

UPDATE: Apparently, a simple majority does not have meaningful power in Iraq. That is, you need at least a 2/3 majority to agree to the Constitution, so there may not be any reason per se to care if the UIA had more or less than 50% of the vote.
UPDATE II: Actually, a majority may have some power after the 2/3 supermajority decides some things, according to the comments under the post I lonked to. *Sigh*. This is complicated.

Maybe They All Had to go REAL Bad!

Hear ye, hear ye.

The most influential piece of art has been chosen.

That is all.

May God have mercy on our society.

Hey, John Paul II, Bill Buckley Wants You DEAD!

As an evangelical, I am not particularly impressed with the Pope.
However, even I take shock at this.
Dale Steinreich has a theory as to the real reason why Buckley is hoping for the Pope's demise.

That is all.

National ID? H.R. 418 is Scary!

My favorite Texas Republican speaks out against this travesty.

That is all.

Iran in the Sights?

Charley Reese makes a good argument that Bush may very well be planning to invade Iran.
Scary stuff.

That is all.

Friday, February 11, 2005

February a Quiet Month?

So far, therethere have been only 16 coalition fatalities in Iraq this February (12 hostile, 4 non-hostile).

On the other hand, there is a lot of violence against Iraqis, much of it directed against those who want to sign up for the new security forces, and some of it directed against Shia (presumably by Sunnis), although I'm certain that Fox News will tell us that the violence is just directed against Iraqis as a whole for being so virtuous and democratic-minded.

I have a feeling that the general spin will be that this shows the insurgents' true colors, that the war is now being taken up against the Iraqis (who were always the targets thus showing how beneficient and pro-Iraqi we are and how anti-Iraqi the insurgents are, (so see, it was a liberation, there is no occupation, and the Iraqis love us except for those pesky Syrians and Iranians coming across the border).

The more realistic explanation is that we have pulled back to reduce our casualties, and the Iraqis are bearing the brunt of the chaos that results, either from Sunni terrorists looking to start a civil war, or from insurgents looking to kill the Iraqi National Guard as collaborators.

Fatalities dropped markedly last February, too. It didn't change anything long-term.

That is all.

Translating Rumsfeldian

According to this, Rumsfeld is blaming Syria and Iran for the Iraq insurgency.

Translation:

(1) Iraqis love us and love democracy and love Chalabi Allawi. The only reason why there is still an insurgency must be non-Iraqis.
(2) I want to attack Syria and Iran next.

That is all.

Mothers Against the Draft

An interesting website.
Link from the former Peroutka 2004 campaign.

That is all.

Interesting Articles

Here's an interesting article about the process of bringing us into the war in Iraq.

And here is an article questioning the elections.

That is all.

Sorry for Being Away

I would have posted more recently, but my mouse went kaput and I had to buy a new one. It has come to my attention that while Mac makes, in my opinion, better operating system software, and more secure and less buggy software, and presumably better towers (in lab, we once had a Dell that melted down 2 months after the expiration of the warranty), Mac makes inferior mouses and, to some level, inferior keyboards (they don't offer spill protection).

That is all.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The "Appeasement" Slur

I'm sick and tired of hearing folks like Joey bemoan "appeasement."
Apparently, if someone is pursuing a policy we don't like, we should never negotiate, never consider their point of view, never do anything but force them to submit to us by any means necessary.
(And of course, everyone else must always appease us).

No, I'm not saying that we don't sometimes have to stand up to other countries.
But can't we consider the issue based on the merits of particular cases, rather than based on universal slogans like "appeasement never works?"

That is all.

A New "Soldiers-in-Iraq" Scandal

All of this concern over the mud-wrestling scandal is stupid.
Slap 'em on the wrists and get on with it. This isn't a big deal. This isn't tying naked men up like dogs and forcing them to simulate sex. This truly is a mountain out of a molehill.

That is all.

An Interesting Article by Ilana Mercer.

Referenced in my previous post, here again is an article by Ilana Mercer that seems to offer evidence that the Bush administration has been les than honest about the reasons we went to war in Iraq.

That is all.

Ouch!

A take-down of Fox News by the inestimable Kevin Michael Grace.
Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Ilana Mercer for the reference.

A previous post of mine linking to an article explaining why Fox News is a good thing to have around.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ledeen's Faith in Iraqis

Michael Ledeen is confident that the Iraqi shiites want a secular government becasue they don't want the government to be run by the mullahs.

I'm glad that he interprets Sistani's position so very
accurately.

That is all.

Babs Lerner is Back!

(Note: This piece was in Draft Mode for more than a year before I finally got back to it and published it on April 1, 2006).

And once again, she's shillin' for Chalabi! (Note: This is a more detailed version of this post).

Let's analyze a few of her points:

(1) Chalabi is popular because he is on the winning list.
The problem with this is that we have no way of knowing who was voting for him and who was voting because of other people on the list. This is the problem with voting for lists rather than specific people; the government can be manipulated by those in charge of making the lists by putting unpopular people on a popular list (particularly when the exact composition of the list is not revealed until just before or maybe after the elections). As I recall, polls taken last year showed that Chalabi has essentially nil popular support.
It's obvious to me that the neocons are trying to manipulate the list to put Chalabi in power. They make certain that he gets on the most popular list and then claim that he is the reason that they were so popular.

This quote is a perfect example of her deception:

"The claim that Chalabi has no base of support in Iraq and no significant allies there will, likely, be put paid by the election results, and by his continuing relationships with Sistani, with the Kurds, and other Iraqi players."

Er... when no one voted specifically for Chalabi (or any other candidate, for that matter), how does the fact that people voted for a 275-candidate list on which he happened to be, prove that HE is popular?

Essentailly she is pulling a Michael Rubin; projecting her preferences onto the Iraqis.

(2) Chalabi gave us good intelligence, Gen. Myers said so.
I'll have to do some checking on that.

(3) Chalabi didn't try to lie us into war. Look, the CIA believed that there were weapons of mass destruction, so obviously we believed for other reasons.
Considering how skeptical the CIA was about the WMD claims, I think that the idea that it was the CIA who made the mistakes is ludicrous. Hack Kelly makes the same stupid claims. I don't know why George Tenet reassured Bush that the WMDs were a "slam dunk," but I have a feeling that he was put under a lot more pressure and thus was a lot more solicitous of the president than rank-and-file CIA members.

(4) Chalabi never betrayed us to Iran.
I think the explanation for why Iran used the broken code to relay the message that Chalabi had let them know the code was broken was NOT, as neocons claim, because he was a good guy and they wanted him out. I think that they recognized him for what he was, a person who was looking out only for himself (I think he'd work for the highest bidder), and they decided to take him down because they didn't trust him.

(5) The charges of bank fraud were entirely politically motivated.
I can't directly say, but I think there is just as much chance that the prince allowing him to flee from Jordan was politically motivated. We shall see, I guess.

(6) The CIA hates Chalabi because Chalabi was right about everything.
This assumes that Chalabi didn't play a role in the secuirty breach that he told the CIA about. Also, Lerner's insistence that "The CIA was contemptuous of him, and of his claim that a majority of Iraqis hated Saddam and would welcome his overthrow but, once again, the facts proved Chalabi correct" is less than totally accurate, considering that the Iraqis did not, in fact, welcome the overthrow of Saddam in the sense that they threw flowers at us and greeted us as liberators.

In short, it's more of the same ol' Babs.

That is all.

Babs Kisses Chalabi's Rear End Again

Barabara Lerner once agian shills for Chalabi.
I'd have to do some research to write an exhaustive post about her article, but let's go over the most obvious issue.

Barbara obviously believes that the success of the UIA list means that the voters want Chalabi, as he was on that list.
Bulls**t.
Polls out earlier showed Chalabi as having no particular popularity in Iraq. Rather, he managed to get himself onto the most popular list, so that Shiites who wanted to get behind Sistani's list had no choice but to vote, in essence, for Chalabi.
It's exactly the highly-manipulated result I worried about here.

The whole reason why they voted for lists instead of candidates was so that the US could manipulate the results.

Also, Babs is channeling Michael Rubin, who always states his opinions under the claim "Iraqis feel."

This is definitely NOT all.

Antiwar.com Expanding?

I can't help but notice that AntiWar.com is asking for $60,000 this quarter, up from about $20,000 or so 3 or 4 years ago.
I suppose this is a good sign, that they can get more money, as the amount they have asked for has steadily increased and they have always made their goals.

That is all.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I Will not Watch the District Again

I recently began watching Craig T. Nelson's new show, "The District," about a Police Commissioner in Washington D.C.
In an epsiode aired recently (as a rerun, though), a consultant to the police gets mugged, and wants to have the Commissioner sign paperwork so that he can have an exception to the gun ban.
Craig won't give him one, and in the end, the friend acts as if getting a gun were a stupid idea in the first place.

Bulls**t.

I firmly believe that some people shouldn't carry guns for defense because they aren't going to use them responsibly, but I believe that we can rely on these people to determine that for themselves. People for whom carrying a gun in self-defense would put them more at risk know who they are and are the best arbiters of whether or not they should carry one.

"The District," however, clearly gave the impression that we should just rely on the police, because letting citizens carry guns is dangerous.

I hope that Congress passes that legislation repealing the stupid Washington, D.C. gun ban.

And I hope that Craig T. Nelson's character gets exposed for the fascist he is. (If he were unwilling because he was afraid of the liability he might incur, that would be one thing, but there was no indication that he disagreed with the stupid DC gun ban in the first place).

That is all.

UPDATE: Greg Cochran disagrees and has some good poitns against John Lott. I guess I will say this: I don't trust the government to tell people they can't have guns. I also do not agree with the idea of many gun rights groups that everyone should be armed, including people who do not wish to be armed. My point about people who hsouldn't carry guns knowing who they are was basically that even if the statistics are true that more gun ownership reduces crime, in the US gun owners are a self-selected group. In other words, we have little to no evidence that forcing people to cary guns has any positive effect (and I would also think that there would be a trend of diminishing returns as more people were armed, as those who most need guns would presumably be among the first to get them), so I have no desire to shame people for not wanting to have guns. Of course, some may argue that letting people who want to carry guns carry them doesn't reduce and m ay increase crime. Cochran seems to suggest that in many cases it has a deleterious effect. I will concede that I haven't studied the issue thoroughly enough (nor have I spent a lot of time on it recently) to make a really effective argument. I tend to think that more freedom is a good thing, but I concede that I don't have the data to back it up, at least not right now.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ads - Good, Bad, and Ugly

I have found that some advertisements are mindlesly stupid, while I genuinely love others. And some can be painful to watch.

A list:

Good:
The Bacardi and Cola commercials are all funny, but I like the "breathless in Mardi Gras" best (the women isn't getting any beads, so they tell her to take a deep breath (which enhances her chest, thus causing her to receive a whole bunch of beads)).
The commercial with the praire dogs looking out of their holes, and the guy thinks of co-workers sticking their heads out of their cubicles.

Bad:
I dislike the ad where the husband and wife keep trying to one-up each other to get to the Mercury first in the morning. It's too mean.

Ugly:
The commercials for Leann Rimes' hosting "Nashville Star" are not flattering. Bright white light makes her look too ruddy-faced. Also, the blouse she is wearing when interacting with the wannabes is hideous.

That is not all. I will update later.

Self-Referential Post

Searches that have led people to the Glaivester blog:

"Barbara Lerner" "neoconservative" (Google)

warren cuccurullo scandal photo (Google Hungary)

warren cucurello (Google)

Juan Cole (Technorati)

If this stuff interests you, click on the Sitemeter icon. My stats are an open book.

Antiwar Bias or Prowar Bias?

Dr. Teresa Whitehurst suggests that the stereotype of the antiwar mainstream media may not be accurate.

Considering that we usually hear the neocons claiming that the mainstream media is a bunch of Gloomy Guses because they don't portray the war as being a wonderful success, this is an interesting point of view to think about.

That is all.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Charley Reese on the Elections

An interesting piece by Charley Reese about the elections.
One big disagreement I have with him:

He states that there is a strong nationalist sense in Iraq, so we can forget about civil war.
Perhaps with the Arabs we can stop worrying about a Sunni-Shia battle.
However, I still think that the Kurds want their own country.

In any case, I do think that the elections ar less important than the neocons claim they are, but we shall see what we shall see.

That is all.

It's Not All About Israel

Lawrence Auster makes a point that I have made myself, and that I hint at here.

Despite all of the talk about neoconservatives being interested mainly in Israel's interests (which I think is true in the case of Richard Perle and perhaps Michael Ledeen), a large number of neocons (Paul Wolfowitz, Clifford May, perhaps Bill Kristol) are actually not as interested in Zionism as in messianic democratism. These neocons would gladly sell Israel's interests down the river if it helped the world democratization project.

There are also those who simply want to project American power to produce an American one-world government (James Woolsey, Jed Babbin, Richard Poe). I'm not entirely certian, though, whether I would consider any of these neocons or not (and some, like Richard Poe, I definitely would not consider neocons).

There is probably a lot more I want to say, but for now -

That is all.

Elections, Iranian and Iraqi

Jonah Goldberg recently attacked Juan Cole for his position thaty Iran's elections in 1997 were more democratic than Iraq's recent ones.

Juan Cole responds.

Ouch.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Llewellyn Rockwell.

NRO Finally Getting It?

Veronique de Rugy begins to understand that Bush is not, in fact, a fiscal conservative. This is a fact that is often brought up, but rarely dwelt upon in neoconservative circles, and it has never seemed to lead to people questioning their Bush-worship.

Dare I hope that this will change?

Friday, February 04, 2005

IPods and Me

For some reason, I am not at all excited by the IPod.
Perhaps I am behind the times technologically, but I am interested in Macs as computers, not as music players.
So all of the buzz about the IPod has not moved me much.
But I still love my Mac.

That is all.

Gay Marriage, Again

I want to restate a point I made earlier:

The reason why it is especially bad for gay "marriage" to come to the US through court decisions rather than through legislation (although I don't support gay "marriage" or "civil unions" myself at all), is that the legislature is a body of choice, whereas the courts a body of necessity. This means that forcing the acceptance of gay "marriage" at the courts creates a tide that cannot be stopped, unlike in the legislature, so we are going to wind up with polygamy, group marriage, and incest marriage.

In other words, if gay marriage were seen as an issue to be settled by legislation, then the legislatue could say "this far, and no further," with no other justification than "we find gay marriage okay, but we don't like polygamy."

However, when phrased in terms of rights, once you say that any two people have the right to be married, and htat that right cannot be abridged by a social more, then you lose all principled opposition to abridge that right by other social mores.

Why not allow brothers and sisters to get married? Or if the concern about inbreeding develops, why not homosexual incestuous couples, where such is not a concern, or heterosexual ones that agree not to have children with each other? Why not polygamy? All of the arguments against polygamy ultimately boil down to "because we don't like polygamy," or , as Steve Sailer says, because civil rights "don't apply" to the groups of people whom we think of when we think of polygamy, which, in the end, is not a good enough reason, and sooner or later, the courts will say that.

That is all.

More Sailer

Steve Sailer ponders the Iraqi elections.

That is all.

Attacking Syria Isn't Enough, Apparently

If you think that my proposal regarding Mexico is extreme,

Look at the one by Joseph Farah.

The invaluable Wendy McElroy comments on the madness of Farah.

Not that we shouldn't do something about Mexico dumping its poor on us, but conquest would hardly solve the problem and would instead create new ones. If 1-3 million illegal Mexican immigrants a year are a problem, why would we want to, in essence, adopt all 100 million Mexicans at once?

I'm thinking wall, myself.

Free Tyrone Williams - Why Not?

On VDARE, Bryanna Bevins has commented the case of Tyrone Williams, who is facing the death penalty for his role in the deaths of Mexican immigrants who were smuggled over the border. The Mexicans who were involved are not facing the death penalty, becasue they are in Mexico, which refuses to extradite people for death penalty offenses. Apparently, more recently one of the criminals in custody in Mexico
has been set free, although three others, US citizens, are still in the pokey.
Other mentions here and
here.

My feeling?
Free Mr. Williams.
The people who died were all Mexicans, as I understand it. Our government has no obligation to them, particularly if their own government doesn't care to prosecute those that killed them.

We should tell Mexico, "You don't care about your people? Then why should we? We have enough to worry about prosecuting those who kill US citizens and other legal residents, we can't afford to spend time prosecuting those who kill illegal immigrants, at least not if you try to put up roadblocks.
A very public release of Mr. Williams along with a very public statement that we have decided that the dead Mexicans aren't worth prosecuting someone over, SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE Mexico itself doesn't care, would do a whole lot to put pressure on Mexico.

(Preferably this should be done before jeopardy is attached, so it can be done "without prejudice," that is, so we can decide to try him at a later date if the Mexican government comes to its senses).

But seriously, I think that any country that refuses to extradite murderers to the US because of squeamishness about the death penalty ought to be told that we won't protect their citizens from murder when they are in the US. It's time that they were made to pay the penalty for their decisions on OUR murderers.

That is all.

The Situation in Iraq

Currently, the coalition has had 5 hostile and 1 non-hostile deaths during February 2005.
The past month had 74 hostile and 53 non-hostile deaths, or 64 and 63, depending on whether the plane of British troops that crashed was accidental or an enemy action.

Previously, I asked whether or not things were getting better in Iraq during January.

I would now say probably not, at least from the standpoint of monthly coalition death tolls.

I'll try to make a more detailed posting later.

That is all.

More of that Sailer Good Stuff

Once again, the indomitable Steve Sailer has a bunch of important insights.

The dancing Iraqi Shiites are not celebrating democracy, they are celebrating victory over the Sunni Arabs.

The neocons will turn on their heretics like wolves; they want to make criticism of neoconservatism taboo, as the example of Francis Fukuyama shows.

Bush wants to be another FDR, just more friendly to welfare for the rich. He is no conservative, if conservative has anything to do with limited constitutional government.

There is much more. That is not all.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ward Churchill, Joe Sobran, and Gay Marriage

Ward Churchill's defense of his remarks about 9/11.

His essential point was that he doesn't see why we have a double standard in how we view civilian deaths. Why do we not see the 9/11 civilian fatalities as collateral damage of attacks on the Pentagon and the CIA office in the World Trade Center?
(Personally, I doubt that the CIA office per se was the target in the World Trade Center as much as the civilians were).

Another point brought up, apparently elsewhere (I don't immediately see it in the article I cited), is why we don't see any moral outrage at attacking, say, Dresden in World War II. Why is it wrong for others to target the civilian infrastructure of our enemies, and not for our enemies to target ours?

I will admit that the situation is somewhat more complicated htan that, because not all countries or governments are morally equivalent. Yet, we can't allow moral superiority to become a blank check for us to excuse anything we might do to win or end a war.

This reminds me of a quote by Joseph Sobran (I'll admit that he can be an unsavory character, but when he isn't indulging his semi-antisemitism, some of his insights are profound):

"I’ve always believed there’s really no such thing as a double standard. When people appear to apply a double standard, it means they are actually applying a hidden single standard — one they don’t want to admit."

In this case, the single standard is that the US's interests or desires justify any action; we can do things that we would condemn in another nation because we are the good guys, dammit, and so we don't need consistency.

This is sort of similar to the argument of why gay marriage won't lead to polygamy. All of the arguments in essence boil down to the idea that polygamy isn't nice; that it isn't practiced by the people we wish to emulate. There is no fundamental reason why, if people have a right to marry someone of the same sex that they can't marry more than one person. It's an issue of preference.

Note that this would not be the case if the gay marriage issue were seen as one of legislation. If the legislature decided to allow same-sex marriage on the basis that they thought it was a good idea, then it still means that the legislatures have the power to define civil marriage, and if they choose to define it for same-sex partnerships but not polygamous ones, then that is the choice they made. There would be no need for an argument for any restriction on marriage other than "well, we like gay marriage but we don't like polygamy."

But once you translate it into an issue of rights, then the burden is on those who would put any restriction on marriage. There is no principled reason why polygamy not be allowed once same-sex marriage is allowed. The only reason for the double standard is the true, single-standard: "because we (the liberal elite) like same-sex marriage, and don't like polygamy, and because we get to define rights any way we like, dammit!"

So the position that Churchill criticizes - that the US can do what it wants, and doesn't need to worry about anyone else's rights - is the mirror image of the position that same-sex marriage is okay, and has nothing whatsoever to do with polygamous marriage.

I somehow doubt that Ward Churchill would like having those positions compared.

That, my friends, is all.

A Social Security Solution

Of course, the government does actually have assets which it can consider to be "investments" from which it can withdraw money in order to pay off Social Security.

If Social Security starts paying out more money than it takes in, we could always begin to sell off the national parks, or office space in Washington to pay its obligations.

The Problem with Private Accounts

The problem with looking at private accounts as a panacea is that unless benefits are cut by more than the amount that people will be putting into private accounts, the deficits will still occur, just on a smaller scale.
What the private account supporters are apparently planning is to invest 20% of Social Security taxes in private accounts, reduce Social Security benefits by, say, 30% (at least for those who choose to use the investment option), and then hope that the private accounts can grow 50% more than what the benefits would othewise be without the accounts.

That is all.

The Truth About Social Security

Brian Riedl and David John make the essential point about the Social Security "Trust Fund".

All of the talk about the Social Security "trust fund" ignores the fact that, in the end, when we "draw down on the trust fund" the money will have to come from the taxpayers.

And of course, the liberals don't see there being any Social Security crisis because they don't see any problem in raising taxes until the businesses, corporations, and rich people scream, because they don't seem to understand that that would devastate the economy and destroy the very wealth that they intend to redistribute.

Sigh.

That is all.

A Draft - or Mass Graves?

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone thinks that a draft is just around the corner.

"Another war, critics warn, would push the all-volunteer force to its breaking point. 'This damn thing is just an explosion that's about to happen,' says Rangel. Bush officials 'can say all they want that they don't want the draft, but there's not going to be that many more buttons to push.'"

Sure there is. It's called keep a skeleton force of 20,000 in Iraq, and keep order by using bombs and flamethrowers to raze any town that causes trouble. And oh, yeah, any time a soldier is killed, kill 500 Iraqis, including the perpetrator's own family if it's possible to identify him.

No, I'm not advocating this, but I think that if the choice were between a draft and the coalition filling mass graves in order to keep order, we'd start the mass graves up again.

That is all.

A Sunni Arab Problem

Pat Buchanan has an interesting article about the problems we face in Iraq. According to Pat, our presence both stimulates the insurgency and prevents it from taking over (I'm not entirely certain myself that the Sunni Arabs would win a civil war).
So apparently he thinks that we either leave now and they take over, or we stay and prevent them from taking over, but in the process keep making them stronger so that they will be in an even better position to take over in a year. The only solution he sees is to train an indigenous force to fight them.
However, it seems to me that there is a more likely answer to how the administration will deal with the insurgency. If it continues to be run mainly by Sunni Arabs, then eventually the conclusion might be drawn, no Sunni Arabs, no problem.
After all, guerillas can't keep recruiting new members if there is no one to recruit from.
Being a little less hyperbolic, I don't see genocide per se as happening, but a huge campaign to suppress and subjugate the entire Sunni Arab population of Iraq does not seem unlikely.
Of course, once the threat of the Sunni Arabs is gone, will the Kurds and the Shiite Arabs be so willing to bear with us? And are they participating in the elections because they share our goals, or because they see it as a way to achieve their own?

Something tells me that the neocon oversimplifiers who look at this as simply democracy vs. non-democracy are in for a BIIIIIIG surprise.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Viruses? What are Those?

Whenever I hear these ads about viruses and about how important it is to protect your PC, I think: "Viruses? What are they? Oh, yeah, they're those things that PC-users worry about."

I luv my Mac.

That is all.

Bravo to Jim Pinkerton

An excellent article elucidating what exactly Bush, and more particularly Bush cum Blair, really is.

Link from Lawrence Auster.

That is all.

No Whore-Makers?

The story about the German woman being forced to work in the sex industry seems to be bogus.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Is Glaivester Picking up Speed? Self-Referential Post

The past two days I have had over 50 visits, and my sitemeter stats have usually been over 20 for the past week or so, often hitting 30. For most of 2004 (by which I mean since September 30, when I started blogging), my visits rarely went above 20.

I now have been linked to by Colby Cosh and Clark Stooksbury in addition to people who have previously linked to me:

Gene Expression
Steve Sailer
Kurdistan Bloger's Union
Iraqi Thoughts

I think that my recent (relative) explosion in traffic is due to Steve Sailer's recent mention of me in his blog.

So thank you, dear readers, and thank you, Steve Sailer, and I'll try to keep blogging for everyone, and I hope that I will blog well!

- The Glaivester.

More on Those Elections

An interesting post about the Iraq elections on the AntiWar.com blog. It includes links to more interesting articles.

The gist is that the pro-warriors tend to make lots of claims, and then only acknowledge the ones that came true, or they ret-con the position of the anti-warriors:

"For example, who among us ever claimed that the Shiites and Kurds wouldn't vote en masse?"

It's an interesting position, and a post well-worth invetigating.

That is all.

P.S. ret-con means retroactive continuity. In fiction, it is the practice of changing background facts in the story. For example, if the main character in a TV show has been portrayed as a divorcee in the first season and then in the second season it is stated that she was never married, that is a ret-con.
By "ret-con the positions of the anti-warriors" I mean that they pretend that the arguments they made were different than they were.

Gaffney Doesn't Know his Murphy

Frank Gaffney is against us having any particular timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Indeed, he believes that we need to base our troop reductions on on the situation on the ground. In other words, no timetable for troop withdrawal, or even for troop reduction.
What he ignores are three facts:
(1) Without some timetable, Iraqis will presumably become convinced that we intend to occupy their country forever.
(2) A deadline will give us more urgency in working things out in Iraq.
(3) All work expands to fill the time allowed. (See unnatural law # 54). Give them forever to pacify Iraq, that's how long it will take.

That is all.

Question about William F. Buckley

If agents of a Middle-Eastern government were agitating to get Fox News shut down, would William F. Buckley be so sanguine about it?

That is all.

You Can Tell a Lot by a Headline

James Glaser (with help from Carol Watson) gives us a list of headlines from Sunday about Iraq.

That is all.

Bias?

Antiwar.com has an interesting post on biases and the nature of bias.

Apparently, disclosure of an analyst's bias doesn't necessarily help the people listening to him to compensate for biases. It may even make the biases worse, as disclosure reduces the analyst's concern that he be fair; after all, if everyone knows where you're coming from, why bother hiding your biases? (Not mentioned but also possibly important- I'm speculating here, folks - would be if people using the analysts become more confident that they are correcting for the analyst's biases and so become more careless about doing the correcting).

That is all.

Vox Day on Iraq

Vox Day is worried about
(a) whether we are going to manipulate the Iraq election and
(b) whether an Iraq ruled by the majority is a good thing.

He makes an interesting point here:

"I was a little surprised when Colin Powell assured the world that the Sunni minority, which may or may not be boycotting the election, would be guaranteed positions of power. If you're not running for office and no one voted for you, then how democratic is a system that grants you electoral office anyhow?"

On the other hand, in a district-based system (like in the US), it doesn't necessarily matter which party gets the most votes overall, or what percentage of people in a district vote; for that matter, our Senate guarantees that 500,000 Wyomingians have the same representation as 30,000,000 Californians.
So guaranteeing represnetation isn't necessarily anathema to representative government; particularly when it may be necessary to soothe ethnic tensions.

On the other hand, he is very right that there is something wrong if we are trying to game the system in order to put our man (according to Day, Allawi, although Chalabi might be in the running as well, heck, with separate Prime Minister, Premier, and Presidential positions, we could have both as well as a third guy - Pachahi? Talabani?) in power. If we are gaming the system to make certain that one Iraqi group doesn't become the lepers of Iraq, that's one thing, if we're just exercising control in order to fill the government with our puppets, that's quite another.

In any case, if the Sunni Arabs boycott the election, one has to wonder about the wisdom of saying "tough beans." After all, maybe they don't want to be in the same country as the Shiite Arabs and the (mostly Sunni) Kurds. Rather than punish them for non-participation, maybe they need to be partitioned. Of course, if their goal is not just not to be dominated by Shia, but to dominate the Shia; that is, if they want rule over the entirety of Iraq rather than just self-rule, that is a problem.

And, of course, there is the problem of what happens if the Shia, encouraged by Sistani, decide to make the government semi-theocratic. Vox Day has a big concern that there will be a trade-off between allowing the Iraqis to have true self-rule and keeping them a relatively liberal society; perhaps even between allowing self-rule and keeping them a society that doesn't threaten us.

I concur with him.

That is all.
There was an error in this gadget