Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good News

Due to a recent acceptance of a job offer, I will shortly (around the end of May) be removing my donation buttons, Amazon referral boxes, and other paid advertising from Glaivester and turn blogging back into a hobby rather than a potential way to make money (not that I made that much). I may still post "ads" for causes I support, but for free.

So Glaivester will soon be getting a lot "cleaner" and more streamlined in its look.

That is all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Iraq Body Count Article

Enjoy.

That is all.

Thoughts on Dick Morris

A few thoughts about this column:

(1) Dick Morris seems to be thinking that not intervening enough in the world is what led to 9/11.

In the interim, of course, came Sept. 11, when the nation found out why foreign affairs were vital to domestic peace. In the aftermath of the attack, only one-third of Americans thought we should "mind our own business."

(2) Dick Morris seems to think that not intervening by force or threat of force is the same thing as ignoring the rest of the world.

It is this feeling of wanting the rest of the world to go away, not any leftward drift, that is animating the drop in President Bush's approval ratings as the war drags on.

(3) Dick Morris seems to be taking the William Kristol-like stance that hoi polloi are a bunch of "Yahoos (although Krisrol wrote this in regards to immigration)," and that they will eventually be brought along to convert to the interventionist religion of the political elite, who (apparently) are wise beyond their years and who know what is best for us.

Isolationism is so discredited with insider opinion that nobody dares articulate its rationale in public. Like racism, it has been dismissed as a legitimate opinion by the elites, but not yet by the voters themselves. [emphasis mine]

Hmmmmm. I am as impressed with Dick Morris now as when I first heard of him back in 1996, in regards to this.

That is all.

Another Bit of Wishful Thinking

In a recent post, Penraker made this claim:

The war is not going badly. There was a bold provocation when the Golden Mosque was blown up. But despite the media's urgings, no civil war started. The Iraqis selected their prime minister today. The Iraqi army held off the surge of violence after the bombing of the mosque. They are learning every day, and getting better every day. Our casualties are on a downward trend. (The insurgents are making a special effort this month to kill Americans, since the number of killed shrank to 31 last month. So this months casualties will be higher. (They respond like clockwork to those sorts of things. Report that Fallujah is secure, and peaceful, a week later several bombs go off there. That sort of thing)

This is something that we often hear, that the insurgents are only responding to the media and are just increasing the violence to get media attention. The implication is that the insurgents are running out of steam, and that this is one last big push using all of the strength they have. Presumably, if they are putting on a special effort to kill coalition soldiers in order to distract from the downward fatality trend, then the downward trend should re-assert itself by next month.

In reality, though, a quick perusal of the statistics will show that other than enormous spikes such as those in November 2003, April 2004, and November 2004, which were followed by much lower (but still high) death counts. Whenever really large drops occurred (May 2003, February 2004, February-April 2005) they soon picked up again and stayed there for several months. There is no reason to assume that the recent death count increase will be any more ephemeral than the others.

It is just wishful thinking.

That is all.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Really Funny Movie

Anyone who remembers Square One TV will love the movie linked to on this page. (Safe for all audiences, but you will need the sound on to fully appreciate it, so only watch at work if quiet is not required).

That is all.

Please Don't Use Old Medicine

It is a very unwise idea to use medicine that is past its expiration date, or old medicine that you have been taken off. Someone I know recently took an expired pill from a blood-pressure prescription that he was taken off of a few years back (he had run out of the pill he is currently on and wanted to wait to buy more, and he hadn't gotten around to throwing the remainder of his old prescritpion away). He wound up fainting and breaking an ankle, and it could have been very serious had the ambulance not arrived as soon as it did.

In any case, the lesson here is, when they say not to take expired medicine and not to take pills from prescription you have been taken off of, there is a good reason. It isn't just smoke. They really mean it.

That is all.

Knowing a Man by His Enemies

For all of you who witnessed the recent "nerdfight" between the Poor Man Institute and myself (here are the posts - odd numbers are Poor Man posts, even are Glaivester posts - 1,2,3,4,5), let me direct you to these other esteemed posts at the Poor Man:

An Army of Poopyheads
Tony Snow Has a Gigantic Head.

Not that I am a fan of Tony Snow mind you, but if this is what passes for intelligent commentary, I don't see why these people's ridicule of me ought to make me feel too bad.

That is all.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Learning the Wrong Lesson, and Learning it Well

This recent interview of Michael Rubin contains at least one really bizarre analogy:

People often bring up the U.S.-supported coup against Prime Minister Muhammad Musaddiq in 1953 as a watershed moment. It was. It was, unfortunately, a triumph of realism. But while Musaddiq was no saint — his populism and willingness to use mob violence parallel the strategy of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti — we are paying the price for swimming against the tide of much of the Iranian public. This is why it would be such a mistake to make the same mistake again by holding out an olive branch to the current regime, which is as unpopular now as was the shah in 1953 and 1979.

Uh - the problem with the Shah and the coup against Mossadeq is that we helped to overthrow their government and to install a person who would do our bidding. We also helped to keep him propped up until 1979. That is not comparable to simply dealing with an unpopular regime and trying to make peace with them. If we gave the Iranian regime aid to keep the regime going, or gave them intelligence that would help them to crush dissidents, that would be one thing. If we actively helped the regime, that would be one thing.

The fact we are not actively trying to undermine the Iranian government is something else entirely. There is some concern that actively encouraging the anti-regime side in Iraq may discredit it, and there is a general concern that actions taken againt Iran may cause its people to rally behind the regime.

And of course, let's remember that Rubin is a shill who continuously claimed that anyone who opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq was enormously unpopular with the Iraqis, that the Iraqis were, in the beginning, overjoyed at the prospect of U.S. occupation Ahmad Chalabi was well-loved and the favorite son of the Shi'a, and who in general would state what appear to be his own opinions as the general Iraqi opinion.

Rubin has the general neocon tendency to assume that everyone thinks like them and chooses their allegiances and allies based entirely on ideology, with such petty concerns as race, nation, kith, and kin being put far on the back-burner.

In short, while what Rubin says is patently ridiculous, it is not anything that deviates from the usual neoconservative pap about freedom and about the solidarity that all people (other than the bad guys) feel as they strive for the common goal of liberty and human rights for all.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Penraker.

That is all.

Troop Reductions in Iraq?

This sounds like good news. But "The reductions depend on political and security progress in Iraq" does sound like they do have an out.

That is all.

Quelle Surprise

The Traitor-in-Chief wants a full-on amnesty for illegal aliens, including citizenship. So much for the leftists' belief that the Bush guest-worker program is designed as a way to keep them working without having to worry about them voting.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Lawrence Auster.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hypocrisy?

Kleinheider wonders: is the Small Business Administration loan program unfair "affirmative action" (based on business size) or simply an attempt at equal treatment with big business?

That is all.

Flip-Flop

A. C. Kleinheider and Bo Heyward make a good point.

If you changed your position on the war, either admit that you were wrong in the first place, or explain why things have changed so that your old position is no longer correct; there is no shame in saying "I supported the removal of Saddam Hussein, still do, but we did what we needed to do and now we need to get out. I supported the war, I don't support continuing it any longer, though, now that Saddam is out of power." Alternately, there is some shame, but only a little, in saying "I was wrong before. We should not have gone into Iraq. Let's get out, now."

But saying "we were wrong to get into war with Iraq. But it's not my fault," is a gross passing of the buck.

That is why Kerry was called a flip-flopper. Not because he changed his mind, but because he simply claimed whatever position would be politically advantageous to him at the moment.

That is all.

Ol' Sully Gets One Right

As Andrew Sullivan rightly points out, the discussion of the Mary McCarthy affair overlooks some vital context.

Note that in Caesar-con (as in, he believes that there is a dictatorship clause in the constitution like thee was in Rome) Andrew McCarthy's recent article on her, nowhere is there any notion that there is something wrong if we were, as Mary McCarthy claimed, interrogating suspects in prisons in foreign countries (allies in Eastern Europe, no less) without those countries' consent.

If it turns out that these charges [i.e., of our runing secret prisons in Eastern Europe] are unfounded, then that is one thing. But if they are correct, then one has to ask whether folks like Mary McCarthy are attracting so much bile because of true concern for the purposes of the anti-leak law and for national security, or because folks like Andrew McCarthy are upset that anyone would take any steps whatsoever to stop the U.S. from clandestinely doing whatever it wants, screw our allies' national sovereignty. (Although it is also possible that if such prisons existed, that they existed with the (at least tacit) consent of the home countries).

"Why Isn’t She in Cuffs?" asks Andrew McCarthy.

He actually answers his question in the piece when referring to why the leak was such a big deal:

The so-called "black site" prisons were later publicized by Dana Priest of the Washington Post, jeopardizing not only the detainee intelligence stream but, just as importantly, America's relationship with the cooperating governments — on whom we rely because of our global dearth of intelligence assets, and who are now incentivized to cut-off information exchanges because they believe (with some obvious justification) that our intelligence community is not trustworthy.

Doesn't he realize that if Mary McCarthy is charged with a crime, it will reek of cover-up to all of these same allies, making them trust us even less?

Whether or not it would be appropriate from a legal and moral standpoint to charge her with a crime, it would severely damage our relationship with our allies. (Not in Thailand maybe, or in Afghanistan, but definitely in Eastern Europe).

That is all.

Burning a Hole in Uncle Sam's Pocket

Yearly costs in Iraq have nearly doubled since 2003, from $48 billion to $94 billion. According to the Mercury News, if this keeps up, the war will cost $660 billion by 2016. This is apparently based on the Whtie House's anticipated request for $50 billion next year.

It seems to me that that is an extremely conservative estimate; if current trends continue, I see no reason why the White House would only ask next year for a little more than half what it asked for this year. So it seems to me that the true number is likely well over a trillion by 2016, unless we start drawing down significantly in Iraq.

That is all.

Good News from Iraq - Shhhh! Don't Tell Anyone!

Apparently the military doesn't like "good news" stories about civil projects they are working on. Such publicity brings the attention of the insurgents to these projects.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Test Patterns (formerly Lunaville).

That is all.

Thoughts on the Issue of Rape

This piece by Murray Rothbard touches on an important point that I think we tend to ignore.

There is, I think, some level of amazement on the parts of politically-correct hoi polloi (I would say "the politically correct hoi polloi, but the word hoi already supplies the "the") as to why there is an innate tendency to take a woman's "virtue" (i.e. adherence to sexual norms) as a relecant factor in judging a rape charge.

Not that, on a poll, most people would admit that a stripper is given less weight than, say, a nun, but most of us have a gut feeling that this ought to be so, even if our rational conscious mind says otherwise. So if logically it would appear that there is no reason to distinguish the rape of a nun from the rape of a hooker, why the instinctual feeling that there is a difference?

Because, the reason why rape is considered so horrible a crime is because of the level of violation that it represents. Sex is an extremely intimate act, and therefore to have it forced upon one is extremely degrading. The degradation is not, whatever feminists tell you, simply about violence. It is about sexual violence. Very few people would consider having one's hand shaken against her will to be in the same league as rape.

In particular, rape represents an attack, not just on the woman's body or her will, but on her chastity, or on her monogamy. Therefore, to some extent there is an instinctual sense that the more casually the woman takes sex, the less seriously a violation forced sex would be; put another way, if sex is like a handshake, then why should forced sex be penalized more than a forced handshake?

This is not to say that it is right to view the rape of a hooker or stripper as a lesser offense. Rather, I am simply explaining where the tendency toward that view comes from.

That is all.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Where They Go Wrong

Interesting post at Feministe about "Blog Against Heteronormativity Day". I sort of like this quote explaining what heteronormativity means:

Nubian defined heteronormativity* in her precis post. It is not the individual condition of being heterosexual. It is the general condition of enforced heterosexuality, favored heterosexuality, heterosexuality as a necessary qualification for being fully human. That is heteronormativity: when heterosexuals such as yourself are normal, and everyone else is not. There’s [plain old] marriage and gay marriage, to pick just one example from so many.

Oh, so "heteronormativity" means reality.

This demonstrates the problem with large portions of the feminist and gay-rights crowd. Their goals, ultimately, are not merely to achieve acceptance of their group, or of other similar groups, by the larger society. Their goal is to change the entire larger society to fit into their peculiarities. Because there are a small number of people who do not feel comfortable with the sex that nature assigned them, or feel comfortable with their anatomical sex but not with the gender identification that goes along with it, we are supposed to pretend that gender and sex are unrelated. Because some males feel like they are really women but do not want to lose their penes, we are supposed to pretend that having a penis does not, in general, make one masculine.

The fact of the matter is, heterosexuality is normal. That is to say, it is the sexual behavior mode that the vast, vast majority of people fit into the most comfortably. Society does, and should, reflect that. This is not to say that gay people need to be made pariahs, and it does not touch at all on the question of the moral or ethical standing of homosexuality.

Ultimately, what this type of philosophy would do if followed would not be to normalize homosexuality; it would marginalize heterosexuality. There is a reason why people who belong to the vast majority group do not think of themselves as having a group identity the same way that people belonging to minorities do. Homosexuals are currently, and are likely to always be, in the extreme minority. This may be uncomfrotable, but is no reason to make heterosexuals have to feel uncomfortable in their identity by creating a norm-less society.

Is this unfair? Maybe. But it is reality. For people in margianl group to expect societal norms to be arranged around their predilections is, in the end, unreasonable.

That is all.

*The original posting said "homonormativity," but that was a typo, so I fixed it here.

Sowell on Immigration

Thomas Sowell makes some interesting points about illegal immigration. Although I am not particularly enamored of seeing illegal immigration felonized (it would likely make deportation more difficult), I do like his points about affirmative action.

That is all.

Torture, Torture-Lite, and the Search for Truth, or Useful Lies

An six-month-old post on Brothers Judd (note: I have found that their blog crashes or nearly crashes Netscape, so I only look at it in Safari) supports the use of harsh interrogation techniques (whether most of these qualify as torture is somewhat debatable) with the suggestion that we can check out the information so-obtained and thus avoid the problem of getting out false confessions.

The problem of course, is whether or not getting the truth is the goal. As Charles Dodgson suggests, very likely part of the goal of interrogation is not getting accurate intelligence, but getting useful prop-tel (propaganda "intelligence," to use to support claims we make).

Considering Orrin Judd's "lying is okay if it gets me the results I want" philosophy, one has to wonder whether he really would stop interrogating a prisoner if he found out they didn't know anything, if he thought they could be made to say something politically useful.

That is all.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Liar Calls Truthtellers Liars

Penraker attempts to debunk claims tha we went into Iraq with enough troops.

Well. let's deal with his arguments.

But Rumsfeld relied on the generals. The Generals have consistently said that we do not need any more troops. Sending more troops now is certainly not needed. Sending them long ago was not needed.

First of all, there is every reason to believe that the claim that the generals told Rumsfeld that they didn't need more troops is a lie. The original article is behind the subscriber wall, but you can still read the money quote in Andrew Sullivan's archives:

In contrast to the Pentagon's stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said [to a Senate committee] that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told Time that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat.

Of course, like a good warbot, Penraker simply worships Rumsfeld and takes his word to be the Word of God.

Immediately afterward, he makes this howler of a statment:

All that would have done is make us responsible for securing peace in Iraq, not the Iraqis. It's their country. They have to fight for it, not us.

The idea that the Iraqis ought to fight the insurgents for us is rather asinine. We conquered their country. One would think that we ought to be the ones to secure it. Unless, of course, you keep talking in Communist-speak of our conquests being "liberations." The fact of the matter is, once you conquer a country - which is what we did - you have the responsibility to keep order, unless you decide that you cannot handle it and pull out. The idea that letting their country go to Hell so that "they fight for it, not us" is a proper course of action either shows a total disregard for Iraqis in our so-called "liberation," a post facto rationalization of a mistake, or most likely both.

Next, Penraker admits that Rumsfeld nixed a larger force plan by Tommy Franks, but insists that Franks' plan was old and outdated, and essentially implies that there were no other serious plans that required more troops and that the whole reason for wanting more troops was due to the needs for the invasion rather than the occupation.

Frankly, James Fallows nicely dealt with this in an article (unforuntately, it is now behind a subscriber wall) in the Atlantic, where he pointed out that the administration basically ignored anyone who questioned their assumptions and that he would just cut troops out of people's plans in order to reduce the number of troops required - not necessarily calculating where they were needed and challenging the plans, but simply removing a few troops here and a few troops there. Moreover, a lot of the concerns were about getting enough troops to pacify the country, not just getting enough troops to be able to cut through Iraq's military and get to Baghdad.

After suggesting that yes, more civil affairs troops would be useful, but we didn't have any, Penraker makes some rather sweeping and counterintuitive assertions about the need for more general troops:

Would a 500,000 man army have solved all our problems? Nonsense. This is child's thinking. And by the way, people - if you are still worried about the looting of Baghdad, get over it. We would have needed much more than 500,000 to stop that. Think about it. Would having twice the number of troops that we had in Baghdad have stopped that? Of course not.

Well, not all of our problems, but it would definitely make it easier to hold more than one city at a time against the insurgents:

(From the Time article, as quoted on the Sullivan post):

There are about 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, a number U.S. commanders in the region plan to maintain at least through the Iraqi national assembly elections on Dec. 15. But the battalion commanders, according to sources close to last week's meeting, said that because there are not enough troops, they have to "leapfrog" around Iraq to keep insurgents from returning to towns that have been cleared out.

As for the looting of Baghdad, I don't know what we could have done to stop that, other than shooting a few looters on sight to discourage the rest - which really, we were reluctant to do, for good reason. However, I am not convinced that having much larger forces on the ground would not have discouraged some of the looters a little just through intimidation, and it is not clear to me that twice as many troops would only translate to twice as many in Baghdad. More likely, we could quadruple our Baghdad forces and increase the forces in the Shiite south only slightly. But really, the real issue is that we would have been able to amke an immediat show of strength and clear out a lot of insurgents before they were able to take root.

In any case, if he is to argue that doubling our troop levels would not have made things any easier, why doesn't he argue that we should bring home half our troops? If 130,000 more troops wouldn't help much, why would 65,000 fewer hurt much? What exactly are all those troops doing that could not be helped by another hundred thousand or so?

Then he brings up the famous neocon canard:

Did the lack of troops allow the insurgency to take over and grow? No. It was the surrounding nation's efforts to make sure democracy did not grow that fueled this insurgency. Money and terrorists flowed into Iraq, but it took some time. That's why the insurgency started slowly, with a few ex-Baathists throwing around grenades for about a year. Then Iran was able to get a professional terrorist force in there, was able to funnel all sorts of support for the rag tag home grown insurgents. No, this is Iran's war on us, and to a lesser degree, it is Syria's and Saudi Arabia's.

Does anyone else notice that the people who say this never actually provide any evidence that the insurgency is mainly run and funded by foreign countries? The fact of the matter is, it is a homegrown insurgency. 90-96% of the insurgents are Iraqis. The neocons simply state that it is run by the other countries (a) to excuse themselves from being wrong about how much the Iraqis would welcome us and about how the Iraqi would all get along in a nice big, multiculti democracy, and (b) to set us up for the next war. I especially like the War Nerd's pointing out of why a little nobody like Zarqawi was made out to be such a big deal:

I said that our interests and Al Q's dovetailed perfectly here: we wanted to pin a local, Iraqi-manned, neighborhood-based insurgency on an outside agitator like Zarqawi, and Al Quaeda wanted to show its donors in Pakistan and the Gulf that it was the real force behind all the fuss in Iraq.

But even if we assume this to be true, wouldn't more troops have allowed us more people to patrol the border with Iran to prevent terrorists from sneaking in, or to patrol the borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia? With 3500 miles of border, an extra 70,000 troops could provide 20 troops per mile to keep the baddies out. An extra 140,000 would provide an extra 40 troops per mile. Blaming the insurgency on foreign fighters does not mean that more troops would not have been helpful.

After that, he apparently states that the one thing we did wrong in the war was not anticipate how much Iran and Syria would interefere in Iraq. That was apparently because they were not interested in undermining our efforts in Iraq until Bush started talking about democracy, which, it turns out, terrified them a whole lot more than the most powerful nation in the world occupying oneof their next-door neighbors.

Even if we believe that the democracy talk scared them, I still insist that it is ludicrous to say that this was not part of the propaganda effort all along. A lot of people insist, however, that Bush did not talk about spreading democracy until after Iraq was invaded (although I remember worrying about us trying to plant demcoracy in the Middle East way back in 2002 if not earlier) so I will have to do some research to show what the case is one way or the other [any links on this issue will come about later]. And in any case, if bringing democracy were such a necessary part of the War on Terror, why didn't Rumsfeld factor that, and other nations' reactions to that, into our plans from the get-go? Even if we assume that Bush didn't tout the democratizing aspect of the War on Terror prior to the conquest of Iraq, surely it must have been part of his plan all along. If, as Penraker states, But we have no other choice [than to democratize the Middle East]. So long as [middle eastern countries] remain dictatorships with growing young populations, we are in danger. Bush still did the right thing. It is only because we have studiously refused to look at the whole picture that we luxuriate in a narrow view of Iraq, and Iraq alone, then surely he must have realized how important it would be long before we were actually in there. Surely Penraker isn't suggesting that Bush never let Rumsfeld in on the fact that he was going to be pushing for democracy and that Rummy was totally surprised at that, and so had no time to plan for the reactions of other countries, is he?

After that, Penraker goes on about how wonderful things are going in Iraq, and about how we are making progress against the insurgency. Considering the recent upticks in the civilian death tolls, the increasingly deadly terrorist attacks, and what appears to be the end of a six-month decreasing trend in hostile coalition fatalities. In short, I wouldn't bet that we are going to be in a position a year from now where things are unambiguously better in Iraq.

But regardless of that, the argument that we didn't need more troops or that more troops would not have helped to pacify Iraq sooner and better is just stupid defend-Rumsfeld-at-any-cost-ism.

Not that we actually had more troops to send, or that firing Rumsfeld now would actually help us win this war. I think that getting into the war in the first place was a bad idea; I'm not sure we could win unless we define winning as setting up a U.S.-friendly dictatorship and unless we are willing to commit mass-murder to keep it in power. But let's not kid ourselves that we had enough troops, or that if we could have found more troops that that would not have helped.

That is all.

Whoa...

When I first heard the theme song to Sean Hannity's radio show, I had assumed that it was one of those pro-war anthems like "The Angry American" or "Have You Forgotten." It's actually a song about an abused woman who burns down her house (and perhaps her husband as well).

That is all.

New Link

I have put in my sidebar a link to the blog of the good Hitchens brother.

That is all.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What You Believe Vs. What You Do

Ilkka Kokkarinen at Sixteen Volts writes:

Abortion is another issue where I have no horse in the race. If some slutty cheerleader gets knocked up by the soccer coach behind the local gas'n'gulp, there is no point in forcing her to keep the baby but it's no skin off my back either way. I am pro-choice mostly for eugenic reasons, the same way that most people reveal themselves to be pro-choice if it turns out during the early pregnancy that their baby would have Down syndrome.

I don't know if I agree with the idea that most people are who would abort a Down-Syndrome baby are "pro-choice." There may be many people who oppose abortion but who are too weak to do the right thing if they discover that abortion would make their lives significantly more convenient. This doesn't mean that they don't think what they did is morally wrong, just that they decided to do it anyway.

If it could save someone I love and I thought I could get away with it, I might kidnap a homeless person and steal one of his organs, even kill him for his organs. Or I might pay a lot of money for someone in China to execute a political prisoner and give his organs to me. This does not mean that I am "pro-organ stealing" in the sense that I condone doing this.

In fact, that is one of the reasons for having laws preventing such things; that it it protects us from engaging in our worst instincts in order to benefit ourselves. The wise man supports a society that restrains him to some extent, whether through law or through custom and social opprobrium. The fool believes that he can provide all of the restraints himself.

That is all.

Jeffrey Tucker on Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is a racket, he says.

I wouldn't know. I use an electric razor.

That is all.

Why Proper Controls are Important

Steve Sailer mentioned this study in a recent post, with some very insightful, if obvious (but that is what Sailer does, points out obvious things that most people seem to ignore).

Essentially, the article says that putting black people on a jury trying a black man accused of a crime, but without terribly good evidence, makes the white people on the jury more likely to vote to acquit, and thus helps black defendants get a fairer trial. (If he had just found that putting blacks on the jury means that the black jurors vote in favor of a black defendant, that would hardly be news).

I can't help but notice that the ways the juries voted are not broken down by all-white vs. 1/3 black juries:

In this study, one all-white jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict, 16 groups reached a unanimous not guilty verdict, and 12 groups did not reach a verdict within the one-hour time limit.

Yes, but other than the guilty verdict, which were all-white and which diverse?

In any case, as Sailer pointed out, this is a very poor study because it doesn't contain anywhere near enough controls. For one thing, there should have been all-black juries as well, and also, I would think, juries with two whites and four blacks. For another, there should have been cases where the black guy was clearly guilty, to see whether the diverse juries were actually mroe fair, or whether black people just don't like to vote to convict black people. Finally, there should have been white men accused as well (the victim's races, whatever they were, ought to be reversed as well so that the cases are equivalent), both obviously guilty and with not terribly great evidence, to see whether the diverse juries are fairer than all-white juries, or are just fairer toward black people (and likewise, whether diverse juries are fairer than all-black juries).

My gut feeling is that what we are actually seeing here is that people are more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to people of their own race (which would mean more likely to vote to acquit defendants of their own race or to believe victims of their own race). But I'd really like to see a study that tries to determine that.

That is all.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Okay, Let Me Explain Myself

Note: Some links were incorrect. They have been changed.

I got a lot of traffic from this posting on the Poor Man Institute for writing this post in a response to an earlier Poor Man post on immigration.

Having read their arguments (as well as their comments), I have decided that what I wrote was a little too hasty, used a lot of emotion rather than explaining my points, and that I painted "leftists" with too broad a brush.

So, let's deal with the issues one at a time:

(1) The original post on which I commented essentially imnplies that we ought to let any Mexican in who wants to come in, and should offer them a path to citizenship. He also implies that the Mexicans are facing famine in their home country, which is not true. Poverty, perhaps, but not death by starvation.

In short, we should allow large numbers of people from other countries to come here, gain citizenship, and be able to vote. The preferences of those who live here currently are of no consequence.

Why do I say that:

The fact of the matter is, there are two reason why the left wants open borders:

(1) To bring in more poor people from socialist countries in order to fill our countries with those who will vote for socialist policies.

(2) To make non-Hispanic whites become a minority as soon as possible, because they hate non-Hispanic whites and want us to be outnumbered so we can become the oppressed minority, because they feel we deserve it.
?

Essentially, giving citizenship to a large number of Mexicans or other third-worlders would almost certainly result in a much more economically leftist electorate. Anyone who thinks that huge, poor minority populations would not vote for a large welfare state and for large affirmative action benefits is delusional. Anyone who doesn't think that they would also vote overwhelmingly Democratic is delusional as well. Which is, of course, part of the reason why Democrats want them here.

As for disliking whites, let's be honest. A large portion of leftism is dedicated to the idea that whites should be ashamed of who they are and should spend much of their time begging the forgiveness of minorities. Look at how gleeful James Wolcott is about the prospect of the disempowerment of whites (specifically white males). Now, perhaps there are bastions of leftism that respect whites as much as anyone else, but I don't see a very active movement on the left against affirmative action or the like.

(2) As for my complaint that they don't see that there is more than one type of conservative, statements such as this quote from Bottle of Blog) were the impetus:

Republicans have a huge problem. They’ve had it for years. But your “liberal” media absolutely refuses to explain it to you, The People. Republican politicians get their jobs from the racism and xenophobia, and paranoia the Gee Oh Pee actively creates when talking about all the darkies who are flooding across our borders, taking our jobs, f***ing our pure white, Christian daughters, and sucking up our tax dollars without contributing a single thing!

What’s the Republican problem with this? The Republican problem is that Republicans are hiring these people–eleven million of them. And they’d like to hire more. Why would they like to hire more? So they can fire your Constitutionally protected, OSHA pampered, union organizing, vacation mongering, minimum wage insisting ass.

That’s the ugly hilarity of Republicans proposing an immigration bill. It’s that simple. These are people who make careers out of encouraging you to hate wetbacks for stealing your jobs, when what they’d really like to do is legislate you out of your jobs. These are people who get their jobs from scaring the bejesus out of you about open borders, when what they really want to do is pave a giant highway across the border.


The obvious message here is that the same Republicans who are trying to import a new generation of peons are the ones trying to close the border. My point was that these are actually two distinct groups which, increasingly, don't like each other very much.

Now perhaps I was a little hasty in likewise suggesting that all leftists want to import large numbers of Mexicans. There may be groups who are in faovr of stricter immigration enforcement. But, other than this one article by Niranjan Ramakrishnan in Counterpunch, I haven't seen that many (and that person may not even be a leftist; Counterpunch runs Paul Craig Roberts' columns).

(3) I also take issue with this statement in the Poor Man post replying to me:

What! Could this be? All of us here at the Joan Baez direct action/world music seminar were pretty well convinced that when the White House makes a move like proposing criminal status for illegal immigrants it’s because they deeply believe that ruining their fellow billionaire’s businesses is the moral thing to do. Surely, it can’t be some kind of “wedge” “issue” to ignite the base, backpedalled hastily back into its garage as enormous, unanticipated protests ignite across the country.

How can anyone suggest that the GOP would use this as a wedge issue? This issue divides Republicans, it doesn't bring them together. Moreover, if they wanted to rally the GOP base, wouldn't they pick an issue where so many prominent Republicans aren't on the other side? Republican idols such as Tony Snow, Fred Barnes, and William Kristol have all come out in favor of some form or other of amnesty, and Kristol's cases insulting those in the rank-and-file who want stricter controls as "yahoos." The president's position on this is far more liberal than the rank-and-file Republican's.

In fact, if this is meant to distract from the Iraq war, it is an absolutely stupid idea. I would suspect that amongst people who have a snowball's chance in Hell of voting Republican, the President's policies in Iraq are a Hell of a lot more popular than his amnesty - uh - "guest worker" program.

(4) I also have a quibble with this quote from Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez in the earlier article:

If you had any doubt what this faux-debate on illegal immigration has been about, or who has orchestrated it, this poll tells you all you need to know. The Big Brown Alien Frenzy was created by right-wing think-tanks who have studied the strategies of dictators throughout time.

Oh, as if the left's position on immigration does not take a page from Bertholdt Brecht's satire:

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?



That is all.

The "Liberation" of Fallujah

An interesting article in the Moscow Times about some hawks' plans for Baghdad and how they relate to the assault on Fallujah.

Of course, according to the hawks, this was a happy, joyful, liberation.

I'll let my readers decide which to believe.

That is all.

Yggy on War with Iran

Matt Yglesias explains why War with Iran is a bad idea. He also brings up the possibility that all of the hawks who insist on the non-necessity of an occupation to midwife the birth of a new Iraqi government might be trying to trick us into getting committed (and then when the occupation is necessary, tell us that it's too late, we have no choice).

Likewise, Jim Henley suggests that the whole idea of attacking Iran next is designed simply to be a raw and vulgar display of Yank power.

All of which is why bringing up mistakes that were made in Iraq is agood thing, and not merely "living in the past." It's important to force attention on our previous mistakes when we are about to make them all again.

That is all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Are They That Stupid? Do They Think We Are?

Any war-bot who agrees with Tony Blankley that it is wrong for military men to openly criticize the civilian leadership ought to shut the Hell up about how our soldiers support the war and love Rumsfeld.

Because if soldiers are only allowed to say good things, nothing they say has any credibility whatsoever. So the idea that the soldiers "knpow what is going on" or are more reliable than the press is stercus tauri.

That is all.

Do They Know What They Are Saying?

I wonder if people who talk about how we don't need more troops in Iraq because we can use technology to make fewer troops more effective (and also provide the enemy with fewer targets) understand that this will only work if they are willing to engage in mass slaughter of civilians in order to get the bad guys. Remote killing and large-scale killing are, by their natures, imprecise and prone to causing collateral damage.

That is all.

Bad Apples

In a post discussing the administration's predilection for avoiding accountability, Ol' Sully brings up the sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, and a concept brought up of the five standard excuses:

Sir Humphrey: Five, there's the Charge of the Light Brigade excuse. It was an unfortunate lapse by an individual which has now been dealt with under internal disciplinary procedures.

Andrew goes on to say:

Maybe when we finally get to the Charge of the Light Brigade Excuse, Rummy will be fired.

Abu Ghraib, anyone?

That is all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fred Barnes is a Moron

In a recent piece in the Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes said (on page 2):

So, if all goes well, the Republican party is on the way to claiming a majority of Hispanics, the fastest growing voting bloc in the country. A paleocon-inspired immigration bill would jeopardize this.

Not surprisingly, he repeats the absurd (and debunked) claim that Bush won 44 per cent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 (see here, here, here, and here).

Fred Barnes' (and other conservatives') belief that the Hispanics will become Republicans Real Soon NowTM and will help re-conservatize our country is either the greatest mendacity or the greatest stupidity our country has seen since the War in Iraq.

It is becoming very clear that the neocons can no longer win in the actual battle of ideas, and so are forced to take a page from the liberals and attack the paleocons as standing in the way of progress. Essentially, the entire article by Fred Barnes, not just the [part dealing with immigration, could be interpreted as a gullible moron chiding his friends for their shortsightedness in not supporting his latest series of get-rich-quick schemes. And there is also the obligatory call to "get with the program:"

Jump to the November election. What Republicans need more than anything else is unity. They have it when Bush's poll numbers are up.

They don't when his approval rating tumbles--and it drops all the more when Republicans are criticizing him. With their issues unusually prominent this year, paleocons are likely to be critical. And the mainstream media likes nothing more than to play up conservatives who attack other conservatives.


In other words, shut up and ditch those pesky principles - we have an election to win!

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Daniel Larison for bringing this article to my attention.

That is all.

Thoughts on Duke Rape Case

In terms of the rape case itself, and not just the general issues that it raises, I have not commented much. Even when I have commented on other blogs, I have refrained from characterizing any of the participants and have restricted myself to commenting on the implications of the known facts of the case.

This is primarily because, unlike so many others, I have actually let the fact that I don't know a lot about this case prevent me from forming a concrete opinion.

That is all.

Thoughts on Auster and White Nationalism

Lawrence Auster has an interesting piece on white nationalist antisemitism.

My thoughts: I don't consider myself a white nationalist. I am more of a "citizenist."

While I believe that keeping a non-Hispanic white majority is important for maintaining the culture that has made the U.S. successful (Asians probably could be counted as "white" for these purposes), I don't think that we should run the U.S. with the primary goal being preserving the interests of whites.

That is, our primary goals should be to promote U.S. interests and to treat all Americans fairly. I do think that we will have an easier time doing this with a white majority, but we ought not to base our policies on "what is good for the whites - and no one else."

I think that it is hardly surprising that a lot of white nationalists are antisemitic or wink at antisemitism. After all, even the most European of Jewish groups, the Ashkenazi, have long been somewhat reproductivelky isoalted from other Europeans. This makes them somewhat ethnically distinct, and it is not surprising that a lot of white nationalists therefore would want to separate themselves from Jews just as they do other ethnicities. Particularly as a lot of liberal Jews have been in support of policies whose results are somewhat anti-white. I admit that this doesn't explain, e.g., David Duke's embrace of Arabs against the Jews, but I think that it is rather naive to be surprised at all that white nationalism tends to be tolerant of antisemitism.

The big problem with white nationalism is that, as I understand it, it involves not just whites being concerned with their own group interests, but also being unconcerned with the interests of non-whites, and unconcerned with making certain that other groups have a reciprocal right to worry about their own goals. Put another way, as I understand it, white nationalism would involve tolerating non-whites at best; they would be here at our sufferance. That would not be a good thing. True, it is likely a similar ideology to what a lot of minority interest groups have; I am not at all be convinced that the NAACP would care about racial equality were blacks in charge. But as the majority group, we ought to set an example rather than live down to our worst fears about minorities by becoming what we are scared they might be.

There would be some benefit in whites adopting a reciprocal racial consciousness; that is, a pride in our ancestry and a willingness to defend our interests, provided that we do not steamroll other groups to do so, and provided that we put the good of the U.S. as a whole above our ethnic desires. To a great extent, we really ought to be more interested in suppressing attempts to foster anti-white racial consciousness than in raising white racial consciousness, because we do not want to contribute to the Balkanization of the U.S. But having said that, we need to do so from a position of strength. That is, no whining that the Congressional Black Caucus is racist and pleading with them to allow whites in, or trying to use the law to accuse them of discrimination. Simply saying that whites, as the majority, will not tolerate attempts to use racial consciousness against them. In return, any racial consciousness in the white community ought not to involve considering that the interests of minorities are irrelevant.

In short, I am all for different ethnicities in the U.S. all considering their ethnic interests provided that we all respect each other. And to be honest, enforcing this respect will likely need to be the job of the white community, both in terms of policing other groups and ourselves. At the very least, we will need to instigate it.

That is all.

Casualties

I notice that this (warning: PDF file) analysis by the Brookings Institute is getting a lot of press in the pro-war community.

What is interesting is that while the numbers on coalition hostile deaths are close to those of Icasualties, and the numbers on Iraqi police/military fatalities agree exactly, the civilian figures (on same page as Iraqi police/military fatalities) are totally different. As they are greater for most months, this could be attributed to better knowledge on the part of the Brookings people in many cases (Icasualties relies entirely on news reports, which likely miss some deadly incidents). However, the numbers for March from the Brookins Institute are half that of Icasualties (446 vs. 901) unless you seriously want to suggest that half of the news reports are fake or that they greatly exaggerate the death toll, the Brookings Institute's numbers for March must be bogus (perhaps they only counted the first half of the month or something).

So don't trust reports on how calm Iraq is that rely on the Brookings Index.

That is all.

Rhineland, Czech-land, Munich, Everyone Talkabout, War-Music

I find it interesting that Hugh Hewitt claims that the anti-war side "does not understand history. Perhaps in reality they just understand that not every war is World War II all over again.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Penraker.

That is all.

The Crudity of the Pro-Warriors

Don't you love the fact that people who don't like Rumsfeld are referred to as "insurgents," thus suggesting that they support the other side in Iraq? Isn't it wonderful how nuanced the pro-war people can be?

That is all.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Visit "Dave in Boca"

Dave in Boca is an interesting blog that I have made my "blog of the week," although it will probably hold that title for much longer than a week. I don't agree with him on the war, I think (he seems much more pro-war and I am quite anti-war), but he is interestin to read.

So come on, click on the libnk in this post or on the "Blog of the week" icon in m title bar, and look at his blog. Make another blogger's day.

That is all.

Dumb News from Iraq

Bill Crawford has posted another one of his patented "Good News from Iraq" articles (he licensed the patent from Art Chrenkoff, I presume).

I won't do a point-by-point of everything in the article, but some stupid things he says that I notice immediately:

(1) Bad Analogy First, talking about how it's not a big deal that a government has not yet been formed, he says:

For a little perspective, travel back to the States, to the U.S. Senate and watch the immigration debate in the Senate. We've been doing democracy for several centuries now, and we can't get 100 politicians to agree on one issue. Considering we're the pros, we could cut the Iraqis a little slack as they continue to get the feel of this democracy-project thing.

Uh - yes. Taking a while to come to a deal on an issue is just the same as trying to actually, you know, FORM A GOVERNMENT. This is more like if we were not able to choose a speaker of the house than not being able to resolve a particular issue.

(2) Ignoring Bias In order to refute the criticisms of Rumsfeld by retired generals, he quotes a military assistant to Rumsfeld and an officer who just returned from Iraq. To prove that he is not just talking to officers who parrot the Pentagon line, he also refers us to a statement of how well things are going by a marine (as we know, enlisted men are much more independent than officers and feel absolutely free to say what they feel without fear of reprisal). Finally, he refers us to an Iraqi officer.

I don't see how any of this really counteracts the credibility of the generals who criticized Rumsfeld. All of these people are interested parties who have a vested interest in making Iraq seem to be going as well as possible.

It's one thing to claim that a lot of people in Iraq think things are going well. It is one thing to make sure that the interested parties' opinions are heard. It is a whole other thing to portray their words as sufficient rebuttal to criticisms by parties whose interests one would normally think run contrary to their statements (i.e. retired generals not giving the military the benefit of the doubt).

That is all.

"Muscular Multiculturalism"

Daneil Larison critiques this article by Rich Lowry.

What is interesting is that when I first heard the phrase "muscular multiculturalism," I assumed he was referring to the need to force the different sects and ethnic groups in Iraq to give up their particularisms in favor of unity. That is, the need, if we are to have a unified Iraq, to forcibly suppress all of the cultural differntces and/or animosities between the different factions.

Although Lowry was actually discussing our need to know more about other cultures (although, as Dan points out, such a policy is somewhat contrary to war-hawks' goals, as understanding of foreign cultures might make us more humble about what we can accomplish by intervening in them), the policy I thought he was advocating is, in fact, the policy that some hawks actually promote.

One of my nemeses, Babara Lerner, wrote an article a while back that insisted that the mix of people in Iraq made it easier to democratize, as a diverse society has more competing interests so no interest will have enough power by itself to form a tyranny. This, of course, is BS. Democratizing a country is actually made easier by homogeneity, as the people have a motivation to work together and not against one another. Of course, that homogenous populace must consist of people who want a liberal society, so homogeneity does not insure democracy, but it makes it more likely than heterogeneity, aka "diversity." In this context, "muscular multiculturalism," if it meant "multiculturalism imposed at gunpoint" would probably require a great deal of "imposition at gunpoint," indeed.

Of course, Lerner doesn't really want "democracy." She wants Chalabi in charge:

Bush and Rice are right to champion democracy; they are wrong to insist that support for democracy automatically translates into support for elections. In reality, supporting democracy in the Middle East means supporting democrats there, the way we supported democrats like Walesa, Havel, Sakharov, Bukovsky, and Sharansky during the Cold War. In countries where such men speak for substantial numbers of their fellows as Walesa and Havel did, it makes sense to press for elections. In countries where they are more akin to lone voices, crying in the wilderness, it does not.

Which is another way of saying "democracy means puppet government." And the person she wants as the puppet is, of course, Ahmad Chalabi (whether he will actually be a puppet is another matter).

But I digress. The point is, "muscular multiculturalism" is one of those phrases, like "our ally, Ahmad Chalabi," or "good news from Iraq," which should set off one's stercustaurimeter.

That is all.

The Idiotic Left

Obviously, the people at the Poor Man Institute cannot get it through their thick heads that there is more than one type of conservative.

They quote a bunch of articles in this post, asserting two things:

(1) The GOP are hypocrites, pushing for stronger law enforcement to stop illegal aliens from getting through.

(2) The GOP are focusing on immigration issues to distract the public from Bush's bad economic policies.

What these idiots fail to see is:

(1) That Bush is on the liberal side in the immigration debate, pushing for more aliens to be let into the country rather than fewer. So there is no attempt here by the conservatives to distract the public from Bush's dumb policies, as letting in lots of illegals is one of Bush's dumb polciies.

(2) The GOP who like to use illegal labor are often the GOPers who are in favor of massive immigration.

The fact of the matter is, there are two reason why the left wants open borders:

(1) To bring in more poor people from socialist countries in order to fill our countries with those who will vote for socialist policies.

(2) To make non-Hispanic whites become a minority as soon as possible, because they hate non-Hispanic whites and want us to be outnumbered so we can become the oppressed minority, because they feel we deserve it.

I'm sorry, but I hate the leftists. They want nothing more than they want to destroy white people and to destroy capitalism, and I am sick of it.

That is all.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

NEXT!

Dennis Dale discusses people getting to his blog through the use of the "Next Blog " button.

That is all.

Victor Davis "MMMMMMM-Bop" Hanson

Hanson once again regales us with assurances that Rumsfeld did the best he could.

Most of what he says is old hat: Al Qaeda and Saddam were best buds, really! See, it wasn't about oil, 'casue gas has gone up! WE're in the war now, and whatever we should have done differently 3 years ago, we're doing everything correctly now! All our other wars were just like this one, and if the people would sgut up and kiss Bush's ass, everything would be peachy!

There are only two things to remark on here:

(1) First, Hanson is trying to suggest that if you supported the War in Afghanistanm, you have to support the War in Iraq, but he actually winds up making Afghanistan seem bad rather than making Iraq look good by comparison. He apparently thinks that this will encourage people to say "Well, Afghanistan was necessary, even if it's going somewhat poorly. If we are willing to put up with it there, then we should persevere in Iraq, too. Iraq isn't so bad after all." In reality, people are probably going to start questioning the necessity of the War in Afghanistan, or at least the necessity of staying in there.

(2) Second, Hanson says this in defense of using technology over troop numbers:

If hundreds of billions of dollars were invested in sophisticated smart shells and bombs, drones, and computers, to ensure far greater lethality per combatant, then must traditional troop levels always stay the same? How many artillery pieces is a bomber worth, with ordinance that for the first time in military history doesn't often miss?

But he is ignoring the fact that "not missing" and pinpoint targeting accuracy still do not mean pinpoint lethality when dealing with 500-pound bombs that "cannot destroy a building without damaging adjacent houses and killing people therein." (Cloughey, whom I quote here, goes on to say that "Anyone who imagines or declares that this is possible is a liar or a moron or both.")

He ignores the fact that bombers are not the proper tools to use in counterinsurgency warfare, unles the goal is genocide, or terrorizing the civilian population into submission.

Large troop levels are helpful because they leave a lot of soldiers to patrol, provide secuirty, and to root out insurgents. High-tech bombers and whatnot are essentially good for killing large numbers of people if you are not picky about whom you kill.

Hanson is in essence admitting that the strategy is going to involve what amount massive reprisals by the U.S. against Iraqi civilians (if not in intent, the effect is much the same).

This brings me back to my post from last month where I go into detail on the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties.

So Hanson is, in essence, expressing approval for a policy that may very well be the reason for the high estimates of unreported civilian fatalities in the Lancet study.

Funny, that.

That is all.

Hating the Honky

James Wolcott says:

Norman Mailer has described the Iraq invasion as the last stand of the white male ego, and the immigration battle may be the white male ego's last gumless roar.

Why do liberals, even white liberals, hate whites so much?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Steve Sailer.

That is all.

Hey, Glaivester Readers!

I have a few extra Spider-Girl comics that I don't need (mostly some issues from 91 to 97). If any Glaivester readers would like them or know someone who would, drop me a line with an address (email glaivester@yahoo.com) and I'll send you some. Free.

(My main goal here is to get more people interested in one of my favorite comics so as to save it from cancellation).

That is all.

Happy Easter to my Readers!

HE IS RISEN!

That is all.

Judas Judas Judas

A blog post by Daniel "Eunomia" Larison led me to this article by the "Bad Hitchens" (as opposed to the "Good Hitchens."

In essence, Christopher Hitchens is saying that the new "Gospel of Judas" really makes a lot of sense, moreso, apparently, than the four canonical gospels.

Hitchens apparently has decided to anticipate some of the arguments of the other side, and responds to this quote from Adam Gopnik:

The finding of the new Gospel, though obviously remarkable as a bit of textual history, no more challenges the basis of the Church's faith than the discovery of a document from the nineteenth century written in Ohio and defending King George would be a challenge to the basis of American democracy.

by saying:

Can Gopnik not discern the difference between George III and Benedict Arnold, let alone the difference between a man-made screed and a series of texts sometimes claimed to be inerrant and divinely inspired?

Unfortunately, Hitchens misses the point entirely. What Gopnik is pointing out is that a single manuscript with unorthodox ideas withotu a lot of other copies or other evidence to suggest that it was written much eariler than the script we have found is a poor basis for overturning established history. If suddenly a manuscript appears giving a very different account of the American Revolution than we have been told, the fact that this writing exists does not mean that there is a good reason to take it seriously or to let it greatly change our interpretation of history.

Next, Hitchens says:

But never mind these trifling failures of analogy. The Judas gospel would make one huge difference if it was accepted.

Well, first, these imprecisions of analogy are irrelevant to Gropnik's point, which was that the account is not particularly reliable, not about the specific events to which the account refers. Secondly, well, yes, Hitch, everyone agrees that, if accepted, the "Judas Gospel" would make a huge difference. The point Gopnik was making is that there is no reason to give the "Judas Gospel" much credence, and that it doesn't change things as it only brings up an already well-known heresy to which it provides no new evidence.

Next, Hitchens engages in a long wish-fulfillment rant, where he discusses how nice it would be if Christianity became less, well, Christian. He of course brings up the old "Passion story is antisemitic" schtick.

With that, I will dispense with Hitchens and address another issue, misunderstanding people have. A lot of people assume that if Judas' betrayal were necessary for Jesus to die for our sins, then how could be condemned for doing it? The answer is, because he did betray Jesus; he was not deliberately giving him over to the authorities because he wanted to see Jesus complete His mission. He wanted Jesus dead because he didn't like that Jesus was not agitating for rebellion against Rome, which is what he expected the Messiah to do. Gollum's final act of stealing the One Ring from Frodo may have saved Middle-Earth, this doesn't make him a hero. Likewise with Judas.

That is all.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What the &&*!!#@$$??ing HELL?

REleasing Jonathan Pollard in a swap for Barghouti?

Let the Palestinian Fatah leader rot. Why the Hell do we give a damn?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to The Belgravia Dispatch.

That is all.

Thoughts on the Danish Cartoons

Another piece from way back I wanted to get out.

Here is Bruce Ramsey's article on the Muhammad cartoons in Denmark. Here is a link to the cartoons.

My feeling is that, in essence, much of the controversy here is ridiculous. I agree that I would be circumspect about printing cartoons that actually make fun of Muhammad or that portray him in a disrespectful way, because even aside from concerns of safety I don't generally approve of being disrespectful toward the deeply held religious beliefs of people who take their faith seriously (i.e. I have no problem poking fun at people who belong to a faith with no real beliefs, e.g. Unitarian-Universalitsts, or who are ecumenical to the point of absurdity). (I will point out if I think that a person's faith is wrong, or in some cases, ridiculous, but I think that this can be done in a respectful way).

However, when a person is insulted merely by the portrayal of a religious figure, that's a different story. It is one thing for a person to feel that it goes too far to print a picture of Muhammad with a bomb for a turban, but it is far different to be upset at the cartoon which shows him with a crescent moon around his face and a star for his eye.

In any case, though, it doesn't excuse anyone for threatening violence because they are offended by the cartoons.

Here and here are Pat Buchanan's thoughts on the isse, where he basically see Islam as an ally (incorrectly, in my view) against the secualr nihilists.

In any case, I would not have condemned the papers for printing the cartoons. I would condmen those who threaten violence against the newspapers; this would include not only many of the Muslim protestors but also some of the European governments that threatened to investigate the papers, as if printing such cartoons is or might be against the law.

In any case, the reason I have not shown the cartoons myself, or linked to them until now, is that I didn't want to link to them merely to "stick it" to the Muslims. I know some Muslims whom I consider friends, and I did not want to link to or publicize the cartoons in a gratuitous way, just to deliberately offend people, which I think too many people did at the time. I will link, however, for reference when it is appropriate, as it is now.

I am perfectly willing, however, to insult people who need insulting. So those who threaten violence against those papers for printing those cartoons - they ought to be deported or incarcerated immediately. And if one of them actually kills someone over it - they should be executed with a dynamite suppository.

That is all.

Hmmmm....

Michael Fumento is in Iraq.

Michael Fumento wanted to be embedded with troops going to Ramadi, so he could see the heaviest fighting in the most dangerous areas. The military decided to embed him in Fallujah. Although Fallujah is a lot less quiet than the last time he visited (people have returned, including insurgents) we seem to have the place mostly under control.

Hmmmmmm..... Anyone wonder whether there might have been a reason the Army kept him out of Ramadi. He certainly doesn't question it.

That is all.

Good God, I Hope He's Lying About the "Not a Joke" Part

Udolpho is apparently looking for a date who - well, let's just say that John Derbyshire would say she's in her salad days.

Sorry, Udolpho, I like you, I link to you, I appreciate that you link to me, but man, this creeps me out.

That is all.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Stats from Iraq

486 war-related civilian deaths in Iraq so far.

35 coalition hostile deaths.

And yet (back to my first link, the one for the civilian deaths) only 82 Iraqi police/miliitary deaths.

Assuming these trends continue, the stats for April will be 1041 Iraqi civilian deaths, 75 coalition hostile deaths, and 176 Iraqi police/military deaths.

This would mean that Iraqi civilian deaths have skyrocketed since November 2005 to their highest level since August 2005 (and their second highest level since Icasualties started recording in March 2005) and coalition deaths would be higher than they have been since October 2005, but deaths among the Iraqi police and military have been stable at betwen 150 and 200 since October 2005.

In fairness, a coalition hostile death toll of 75 for a month would not be inconsistent with the death tolls from May 2005 to October 2005, but it owuld not be combined with such high civilian casualties.

In any case, there is something strange about the Iraqi security forces not dying in larger numbers when violence against civilians is exploding, and about the Iraqi Security Forces not experiencing the same fatality rate increase as the coalition forces.

I predict that before the year is out we will have increasing reports of both elemetns of the Iraqi Security Forces being behind a lot of the mayhem in Iraq, and of the ones who are not actively causing problems being unwilling to fight against the insurgents and preferring to stay in areas where it is safe, but where they accomplish little to nothing.

That is all.

But Men and Women are the Same! It's the Patriarchy, I Tell You!

I find some of the sexual assumptions of this article funny.

Apparently, we are to believe that there is a huge untapped market for picture so for naked men and for heterosexual male prostitutes. Apparently, a large number of women are clamoring for these things and it's only the partiarchy that prevents them from getting it, while men have a lot of opportunities to sate their desires.

That is all.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It Need Be Said

I have said this before, but it bears repeating.

Any meaningful immigration reform that is not essentially an amnesty will result in a lot of people who want to come here not being able to come here. People who try to deny this fact by claiming that the immigrants who are here illegally "should have come here legally" or that "they are against illegal immigrants, not immigrants," as if the only issue were paperwork, are not doing anyone any favors. (Some are presumably lying, although some may actually believe what they say).

The fact of the matter is, the issue isn't immigrants who come here illegally vs. those who come here legally. The issue is immigrants who are a net benefit from thsoe who are a net detriment. Or, put another way, those immigrants we want vs. those we don't.

What I would say is that "I am not anti-immigrant, I am against those immigrants who do not in my opinion improve our society." I am, of course, against ilegal immigration, but part of the reason is that it confounds our ability to keep out those whom we wish to keep out.

It is wrong to pretend that those who are here illegally will be welcome under the new system as long as they go back to their country and then decide to come here legally. Many of them will simply never get back into the U.S. This claim gives people false hope and will eventually earn their wrath at our duplicity. Moreover, it allows people to avoid dealing with the fact that a restricitonist position will cause some suffering.

Yes, I admit that immigration restriction will keep some people out of my country, and will thereby cause suffering amongst some who wish to come here, suffering that could be alleviated by just letting them in. I think that that is an acceptable price to pay. You can call me heartless, or cruel. But I am honest about what restriction will entail.

In the end no good will come from fantasizing that we can restrict immigration levels without someone getting hurt in the process. We need to have truth on our side if we are to prevail.

That is all.

Abu Ghraib

Aaron Glantz claims that Abu Ghraib-style abuses in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq have not ended. And this is not including the accusations of torture in Iraqi-run prisons.

That is all.

Choices

Zbigniew Brzezinski cuts through the crap and explains what the real choices in Iraq are.

"Stay and win or leave and lose" is a flase choice, and indeed, the whole idea that "victory is our exit strategy" or any other idea that involves simply lauding "victory" in Iraq without explaining actual practical strategy to achieve said victory (beyond "stay the course") is asinine.

That is all.

Attacking Iran

An interesting article from Gary Leupp way back in January which suggests (but only suggests, mind you) an attempt to falsify evidence for WMDs in Iraq after the fact (but one that apparently neer went anywhere of even had much chance of going anyhwere).

More important are his predictions of what might happen in terms of building the case for attacking Iran.

That is all.

A Rebuttal to the Claim that Previous Waves of Immigration Were Just Fine

Chris Roach points out that a lot of the problems with the country can be partly blamed on earlier waves of immigration.

So claims that "things will be fine, earlier waves of immigrants assimilated jsut fine," are a little bit suspect.

I will probably trot this link out again later in future rebuttals of pro-amnesty columnists.

That is all.

More on the Value of Human Beings

I have previously stated that I do believe in some starting fundamenltal equality of human beings (the final value can be greater or lesser depending on how they effect other people - in other words, we all have equal intrinsic value, our instrumental value varies).

Nonetheless, this doesn't mean that people ought to act as if all people have equal value in all cases. The "equal value" is based on God's point-of-view (which I truly believe in, although to some it is just a metaphor). I think that valuing the members of one's own family or one's own country more than those who are unrelated or foreign is perfectly acceptable.

How does this square with my notions of equality?

Simple. Because it is reciprocal.

I don't think that in some cosmic sense that my family is more valuable than another's. I just think that they are more valuable to me and that the greatest good for all is ultimately achieved by my behaving as if they were more valuable. Likewise, I would expect someone fom another family to feel the same way about his or her family.

Likewise, in foreign policy I feel that, all else being equal, I ought to hold American lives more dear than foreign ones (which does not necessarily mean that foreign ones are worhtless; sacrificing one American to save three hundred Iraqis is not necessarily a bad trade, and sacrificing five American soldiers to save an Iraqi who has a high instrumental value [say, he can get a group of other Iraqis to sop attacking us] may make sense).

Does that mean that I think that Americans are more valuable in an objective sense? No. Because I think that it would be perfectly appropriate for a French soldier to save French people or to pursue French interests before he pursues American ones. And French people ought to be more valuable to aa French person. In the end, this is better for all of us.

This is not to aruge that these are absolute principles. There are cases in which treason to one's own is morally better than "Sticking with one's own kind." It would be very moral for a German to be a traitor during World War II, for example. But in general I think that having a greater love for one's own, combined with a respect for those not one's own having a greater love for their own, is appropriate.

Of course, this brings up the question of who is "one's own?" Personally, I think that for the most part, when all else is equal nationality ought to trump race (Citizenism) but not one's immediate or near-immediate family. Where shared ideology fits in is largely dependent on what and how different the ideologies are.

That is all.

A New Tuskegee Study?

This story is disturbing, although I would pass over the Duesberg angle.

And it ought to be pointed out that the woman who was apparently killed by improperly safeguarded drug trials was probably black (her son's name was Jemal, do the math), and I would be willing to bet that she was probably poor and relatively uneducated, based on her status as single-mother and the fact that she did not think it would be unusual that she might have contracted HIV.

In any case, this statement:

But soon a chorus of condemnation was turned against those who were sensationalizing Hafford’s death and the growing HIVNET controversy to condemn nevirapine, which had been branded by the AIDS industry as a “life-saving” drug and a “very important tool” to combat HIV in the Third World.

So-called community AIDS activists were sprung like cuckoo birds from grandfather clocks at the appointed hour to affirm the unwavering AIDS cathechism: AIDS drugs save lives. To suggest otherwise is to endanger millions of African babies.


makes me wonder if the reason for this drug was to improve the quality of life for HIV-positive Americans or for HIV-positive Africans. Perhaps we should have done the tests on the Third-Worlders if they were the ones to get the most benefits.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Harvey Bialy on LewRockwell.com.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lew Takes on Frenchy

An interesting article by Llewellyn Rockwell.

That is all.

Glaivester's Law and Illegal Immigration

I'm sure most of you are aware of Godwin's Law, which states that any Usenet discussion, if it goes on long enough, gets someone to bring up Hitler and the Nazis.

I notice a similar trend in the arguments I make. If they go on long enough, I make an analogy to rape.

So here goes.

In a recent posting, Andrew Sullivan points out that a lot of us had ancestors who came into this country illegally (although I would hesitate to call them, as Andrew's correspondent does, "immigrants," as a lot of them were actualy colonists). So this, apparently, ought to make us more understanding of illegal immigrants.

Well, does that also mean that if you or one of your direct ancestors was conceived during a rape, that you have to excuse rape as an act?

The fact of the matter is, we need to have border control, whether or not this offends our sensibilities in terms of where we come from.

That is all.

Two Scandals I Haven't Talked a Lot About

I have not really said a lot about the Larry Franklin/AIPAC scandal or about the Valerie Plame/Joseph Wilson scandal, primarily because there is a lot of stuff on both sides and I have a hard time judging it all. I really don't want to come out with a forceful statement one way or another without doing my homework, and frankly learning all of the nuances of these scandals is a little boring to me. Which is not to say that they are not important issues, I'm just not certain that I can muster the necessary interest to make an informed opinion.

With that in mind, Larry Johnson at TPMCafe has a summary of the Plame issue. If I have any thoughts about it, I'll try and post them on my blog.

If anyone has a good quick summary of the AIPAC/Larry Franklin scandal, comment here and I'll try to get to it.

That is all.

Blog Thread

If you check out Jim Henley's ironically self-referential post "Blog," be sure to notice my first comment on it, as well as my little five comment thread, which begins here.

That is all.

Interesting Factoid

Over the last four days, civilian deaths in Iraq have fallen.

On the other hand, American hostile fatalities are already higher than they were last month. I'll try to make a day-by-day graphic later.

Unless there are huge attacks during the rest of April this will pretty clearly imply that the reason for our low fatalities recently was indeed that we were simply leaving the Iraqi civilians out to the wolves. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it sure shows that the narrative that our casulaties are decreasing because we are training the Iraqi Security Forces to replace us, or because the insurgency is waning, are pretty much bunkum.

UPDATE: Oops. Spoke too soon.

That is all.

Kilroy Raimondo Was Here

Paul Belien reports on a former Soviet dissident who claims that the EU is becoming another USSR. Justin Raimondo, interestingly enough, made this point nearly five years ago.

Which shows that the right-wing pro- and anti-warriors are sometimes in agreement on these things after all.

Update: I just realized that this report is a month-and-a-half old.

That is all.

Pledge Time (Updated)

Thank you to the kind reader who sent $10.00.

Anone else want to show their support of me in a financial sort of way?

Dear readers:

If any of you would like to donate some money to the Glaivester weblog in appreciation of all of my commentary and linking to interesting articles, here is the place to do so. You can use either Paypal or Amazon to give donations.

Alternately, you can buy advertising space on Glaivester (contact me through my email address glaivester -at- yahoo -dot- com or leave a comment on this post).

Or, you can purchase a product advertised on Glaivester.

I don't carry any "pay-per-click" ads, so don't bother clicking on anyhting you are not interested in.

Thank you very much.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Linda Chavez on Immigration

Linda Chavez recently wrote an article called "Immigration misconceptions." It attempts, in essence, to allay any fears that high levels of immigration will cause problems in the U.S.

Let's deal with the assertions one at a time:

First, she states that illegal aliens are not necessarily criminals (unless, of course, they have committed crimes in addition to being in this cpountry illegally), as their offenses are civil ones. True, asnd as I said before, I don't want to change that. I want deportation, not incarceration.

Second, she states that illegal aliens got here the same way that immigrants (and other aliens got here in the past, "until the success of the immigration restriction movement in the 1920s." Although she doesn't say so explicitly, her implicit message is that the real problem with illegal immigration is not people coming in without permission, but that we are too stingy about letting people in.

This ignores the very salient fact that this is not the 1920s, and things have changed. Immigration, like other things, is more regulated because we have a more complex society that requires it to be regulated, and because there are so many things that immigration effects that would not have mattered 100 or 200 years ago. Plus, to be blunt, a lot of the ways that we used to do things weren't as good as the way we do them now, which is why they have been changed. Would she likewise disparage recent clean air regulations, because they penalize behavior that was considered inoffensive in the 1920s, or suggest that it is foolhardy that we are not as free-wheeling with hazardous chemicals as in the 1920s?

The fact of the matter is, we have affirmative action and quotas now (which, whatever ou have been told officially, are the inevitable consequence of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). We have the welfare state and greatly-expanded public services. Education, hospital care, etc. etc. are not just available but are considered to be rights, at least to the extent that when a person who comes here illegally and is unable to pay the hospital cannot deny him service on the public dime.

So things are different and the system needs to be different.

Moreover, as I have said before, illegal immigration isn't the real issue. The real issue is who and how many foreigners we want to let into our country each year, both temporarily and permanently. Illegal immigration per se is only an issue to the extent that it prevents us from being able to achieve the immigration numbers that we determine to be best. In other words, if we can't control our border, any policies reagrding who, and how many we let into our country (and for how long) will be moot because we won't be able to enforce them. Curbing illegal immigration is important because it is necessary to be able to bring about whatever policy we determine to be best.

Next she argues that illegal immigrants pay taxes, and so are not a burden on the economy. In fact, they are a benefit, as they overpay income tax, being scared to get refunds.

This ignores a lot of costs associated with illegal immigrants that doi not accrue to the immigrants themselves. For example, the cost of providing an education to school-age American-born, citizen children. The argument that they pay property tax also ignores that a lot of illegal rent small spaces and house a lot of people there; we're not talking about huge amounts of rent here paying taxes on a huge number of apartments. Talk of slaes tax revenues asumes that the immigrants spend a lot of money here, rather than sending it to Mexico. There is the problem of emergency room treatment for uninsured illegals eating up medical resources. I'll try to do a more detailed post later, using some of the articles of Edwin S. Rubinstein for back-up, but you get the idea.

But there is another fundamental flaw in Ms. Chavez's post. If illegal aliens are paying extra taxes because they are afraid to apply for refunds, won't that benefit end if the illegals are made legal? That is, once they are made legal, they will apply for income tax refunds, and they will pay much less, if anything, in income tax. They will also escape Social Security taxes once you take into account the earned-income tax credit. If anything, this is an argument that legalizing illegals is costly.

This line is hilarious:

Do these facts mean we ought to ignore the problem of 12 million illegal aliens living in the United States? Of course not. It's bad for all of us when laws are so wantonly flouted. Those who have entered the country should pay some price for having violated the law — a heavy fine, for example, which is the usual penalty for misdemeanor offenses.

So in other words, give them a slap on the wrist. She should just say that she doesn't really care, rather than pretending to.

And this last paragraph is priceless:

The more difficult question is how to stop more people from coming here illegally — and the best way to do that is to increase border security and change our current, inflexible laws to make it possible for more people to come here legally.

Yeah, you wouldn't get raped so often if you said "yes" more!

That is all.
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