Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Old Year

Figured I'd get in one more post before the end of the year.

Here's hoping for a great 2008!

That is all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Incandescent Light Ban

This is stupid.

And I say that as someone who uses only fluorescent bulbs - other than in a few places where the bulbs are on a dimmer or recessed (i.e. where the fluorescent bulbs say that should not be used, although I suppose dimmable and recessed-lighting safe fluorescent bulbs will probably soon be widelty available)* and for my Christmas decorations (I'll probably eventually switch to LEDs, after my current crop of bulbs dies out).

That is all.

*I have dimmable fluorescent bulbs for a lamp, but I don't know of any dimmable bulbs with traditional connectors.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Issues with a Co-Ed Military

Pregnancy, for one.

Yhis type of report indicates, if nothing else, that sexual integration of the military has not been as consequence-free as people would like to make it seem; which would tend to suggest that accepting open homosexuals into the military might also not be as consequence-free as its advocates claim.

That is all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tea Party Still Going

2 more hours.

Paul is at $5.2 million. Just a million more and we beat Hillary for one-day fundraising!

I donated $38.00. (On top of 4 previous donations for the 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, Guy Fawkes Day, and a small donation to get some bumper stickers totaling - let's just say well past reportable levels).

If you haven't given yet, dig deep! (You can also call 1-703-248-9115).

That is all.

Ovet $1.4 Million Raised Today so Far.

As of approximately 9:12 am EST.

That is all.

Halfway Decent Articles About Paul

Well, it's a start.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to LRC blog.

That is all.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tea Party

Dear readers:

Remember to donate to Ron Paul on Dec. 16 (Sunday) in order to help make the "Tea Party of 2007" the most successful fundraising day ever.

So far, more than 30,000 have pledged to donate $100 - if everyone of the pledgers does this, that would be $3 million.

Pledge or don't pledge, donate what you can on Sunday, either online or by phone using a credit or debit card (check donations can't be guaranteed to come in on a certain day, they are welcome, but they won't cause the same amount of buzz as a "moneybomb").

Sad to say, but I won't be able to donate too much this time around. I have had a number of bills come due and am too tapped out to give more than $10.00 or $20.00. However, I have alraedy donated enough to Paul that my donations will have to be reported to the FEC (I'll be no more specific than that), so I don't think that my asking others to donate can reasonably be seen as "do as I say, not as I do."

That is all.

On the Latest GOP Presidential Debate

James Wolcott:

Ron Paul, whose answers are concise, emphatic, and deviate from the establishment orthodoxy regarding the ever expanding reach of American Empire. His devotion to the Constitution has the spike of authenticity, whereas you can imagine Giuliani treating it like a Chinese menu, picking and choosing which articles he's willing to abide by.

Even leftists are impressed by Ron.

(I know I found this post of Wolcott's through a link, as I don't read him generally, but I cannot remember or retrieve the linking website, so thanx and a tip o' the hat to somebody).

That is all.

Iraqi Refugees Returning - Mixed News

Refugees are returning as things get more peaceful, but some of the returns are due less to homesickness than to the increasing unfriendliness in the refugees' host countries.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Alas, We're Morons

More fun from Alas, a Blog, specifically Rachel s.:

Disclaimer: I think racial DNA tests are absurd, and are based primarily on social notions of race, not actual distinct genetic and biological human categories.

Yes, because DNA tests measure social notions, and not biology.

So apparently it has not been discovered that he has 16 times as many black-origin genes as other whites, but has 16 times as much "social notion" as other whites.

On the other hand, Steve Sailer has a good reason to be skeptical of the test results: at the individual level, these tests are less reliable than when combining the tests of a group, because there is so much more "noise" the smaller the sample size.

Too bad, I was hoping Watson might be able to reclaim the term "octoroon" for his people.

That is all.

The Church of the State

Interesting musings on public schooling from the Mises Institute.

That is all.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Empirical Questions are Best Resolved through Name-Calling

Mandolin at Alas, a Blog displays typical leftism.

As usual, anyone who dissents is banned, and they continually attempt to answer scientific questions by to their holy book.

Full disclosure: I do think that there is an a gap in average intelligence between people of African and people of European heritage, and that some of that gap is genetic. On the issue of a whether or not there is a correlation between pedophilia and homosexuality, I have no position, because I have never bothered to study it in any detail and because most of the proclamations that I have heard from either side of the debate come from people who were too biased one way or the other for me to trust them without looking into the matter myself.

That is all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Progressive" DoubleThink

I have an interesting debate with some liberals about the nature of freedom and of imposition.

From his answers, it is obvious that "Tankard" either is being deliberately dishonest, or else he doesn't seem to grasp what I am arguing about. He is apparently under the impression that the issue I am arguing is whether or not embryos are people, whereas what I am arguing about is whether or not forcing a taxpayer who believs embryos are people to fund embryonic stem cell research is forcing one's beliefs on the taxpayer. My argument, it should be noted, is not based on what the basis of the belief about the embryo is, or on whether or not the belief is correct, or on whether or not the person supporting federal funding is right or wrong to do so. I am just trying to et soemone to admit that forcing a person to fund something he doesn't believe in is imposing your beliefs on him, and these people are either so obtuse or so dishonest that they cannot admit this.

That is all.

Paul on Sovereignty

An interesting article on the North America Union at WorldNetDaily.

That is all.

The Greatest Poem of All Time

Outside of the Bible, that is.

I vote for The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.

I really think that the five words would make a great book title or book series title:

"with terror and slaughter return."

That is all.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ron Paul's Next "MoneyBomb"

Sunday, December 16.

As I understand it, the other reported "Ron Paul Day," Saturday, December 15 (Bill of Rights Day), is a rally, not a moneybomb, so if you want your donations concentrated on one day, for the maximum media impact, donate the next day instead.

That is all.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sorry for Absence

I was a home (w/o internet access) from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until the Wednesday after, and on Friday (that is, yesterday, not the Friday after Thanksgiving) I had lithotripsy (they broke up kidney stone using soundwaves, what I like to call a "sonic laser"), and I am still recovering. So probably no or very light posting until sometime in the middle of next week.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Key to Ron Paul's Success

While there is a tendency for Ron Paul supportes to argue that his amazing statistics in terms of money-raised, and his recent surge in the polls (which is impressive given his initial status as a third-tier candidate) is just that he has a good message, it is, I think, more complicated than that.

The fact of the matter is, despite the de-centralized nature of the Ron Paul for President campaign (i.e. including the informal campaign, not just just the official one), it did not come out of nowhere.

The idea that Ron Paul simply spoke truth and suddenly people listened, while attractive, and not entiurely false, is not the whole picture.

Yes, Paul has good, attractive, ideas (I would argue that 90% or better of the time he has the right ideas), and that is what has attracted people to him and is the ultimate source of the enthusiasm for him. However, the idea that without any infrastructure, formal or informal, that he could have had the single biggest internet fundraising day of any candidate (or the bigges one-day fundraiser of any sort for a Republican if you count only actual donations and not pledges) is simply incorrect and, if you think about it, ludicrous.

What it comes down to is that the infrastructure for the Paul campaign has been building since at least 1999, when LewRockwell.com went online. Or perhaps even earlier in the mid-1990s when Antiwar.com was created. Or maybe in 1982 when the Ludwig von Mises Institute was founded.

The point is that for a long time, people have been working to build up a movement for Austrian economics and against foreign interventionism. This movement has slowly built up the infrastructure needed to support a movement toward freer markets, sound money, and non-interventionism abroad. We (by late 2000.early 2001 I had become one of them) already had enough infrastructure in place by 9/11/01 to be able to provide a counterbalance to the pro-statist forces that dominated the debate over the next year, and we were poised to strike at the arguments for the Iraq War and to critique the war in real time when it happened. (Not that I am happy for the Iraq War as a chance to pimp my political positions; but given that the war was going to occur, it was good that we were ready when the time came to disseminate our critiques of the policy).

Pat Buchanan's presidential runs, to some extent, and the founding of The American Conservative, came from a similar persuasion, at least on foreign policy, and wound up overlapping with much of the movement by the time TAC got off the ground. Definitely TAC is one of the more prominent publishers of paleolibertarians, and can be thought of as containing part of the extended infrastructure of the Austro-libertarian movement.

The point is, by the time that Ron Paul decided to run for the 2008 presidential election, there was already a large infrastructure (yes, I like to use that term) of supporters for the types of policies he espouses. These people were well-connected by the internet, and many of them were looking for someone to lead the movement or to run for president to try and make their ideas policy (and ultimately of course, we were/are looking for people to run for other political offices as well). To some extent, this grass-roots campaign selected PPaul as their standard-bearer and are the ones who encouraged him to run.

So what Paul has done to a large extent is tapped into the grass-roots infrastructure that already exists to support his ideas. Yes, he did this largely simply by expressing his ideas, which the grassroots agreed with. But, ultimately, were Austro-libertarians not already connected and semi-organized through the efforts of Llewellyn Rockwell, were anti-interventionist conservatives not united by The American Conservative, were both anti-interentionist libertarians not gathered by Antiwar.com, were not a thousand other similar sites up, all interconnected into a community, he could have railed all day against the Fed, the income tax, and the war and virtually no one would have noticed.

What does this prove, in the end? Well, if Paul's campaign wins the nomination, or even just does incredibly well in the process, it shows that organizing a grassroots movement around ideas, even "fringe" ideas with little following, can pay off - big time. So don't be discouraged if you fight for what you believe is right and it seems lonely. It seemed lonely for the Austro-libertarians at one time. But not anymore.

That is all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some Paul Proposals Too Good to be True?

Michael Dobbs questions the feasibility of Paul's income tax proposals.

This is a real concern. Not that I think that Paul is being dishonest, but he may have been using erroneous statistics initially and his actual budget plans may not have been formulated completely yet. However, if he does well enough in the coming weeks to become a real contender in Iowa and New Hampshire, I am confident that this type of thing will come up enough that he will become more specific.

In any case, I am still supporting Paul and have confidence that as he has more exposure his positions will, of necessity, get more polished and specific.

And none of this negates the great work he has done getting his issues (non-interventionism, sound money) a hearing that they would otherwise not get.

Added: And as some of the commenters in the thread pointed out, Paul would work toward the gradual reduction (moving toward elimination) of government health care spending and presumably a reduction of our military outside of the narrow issue of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Granted, I don't think that we could get rid of the income tax during one or even two Paul terms, unless of course we raised other taxes greatly, and I do not think that we could eliminate all income-based taxes (e.g. Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes) without some increase in our customs, tariffs, and excises, but I think that Paul would push us in the right direction.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

That is all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Devil is in the Details, and in the Dollar

Ron Paul on dollars and war.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to bbartlog on the comments at Henley's blog.

That is all.

How Cute

Dick Morris worries that the Rudy Giuliani might not get the GOP nomination.

As a Rudy-disliker, I am happy with this, of course.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Daniel Larison.

That is all.

The Editors at National Review Don't Get It

Being worried about Federal Reserve policy and its recent rate cuts, they neglect to understand that this is the problem with the Federal Reserve itself.

The rest of the world saw this capitulation to the market’s nervous Nellies as inflationary, and became less willing to hold dollars. If the Fed had acted correctly, responding to the state of the economy rather than to a state of mind, the dollar would be stronger today, and closer to its intrinsic value.

What does "the intrinsic value" of the dollar mean? The dollar is worth what you can get for it. If the dollar loses value, it loses "intrinsic value." There is no platonic dollar to which our dollar aspires. People often accuse goldbugs of not understanding money and of thinking that gold has some magic value that makes it "real" money (we don't, but that's an issue for another day). Obviously, some fiat-bugs have this problem.

Small deviations from free-market principle can have outsized consequences.

Government-imposed fiat money is a deviation from the free-market. Honestly, I fail to see how one can characterize any of our government's policies as "small deviations" from the free market. Unless one is an anarchist or severe minarchist, one will invariably be offering rather large deviations from the free market. It is ridiculous to portray the free market as delicate and at the same time advocate a large, activist government at any level.

In particular, once you accept a large, ultimately government-controlled bank as the institution which controls the supply of currency, how you can discriminate betwen their policies as free market and non-free market is beyond me. Arguing that its policy should respond "to the state of the economy rather than to a state of mind" is arguing about how it should interfere with the economy, not about whether it should.

That is all.

Surging On

Larison on the surge.

I think he makes some excellent points.

That is all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good Point at TPMCafe

One big reason for the housing crisis (specficially in this case the crisis for African-Americans), is that we were encouraging people to buy homes who shouldn't have done so - at least at the time (alternately, we encouraged those who had reason to buy a home to buy a bigger home than they could reasonably afford.

There's a great comment on the post pointing out that a house is a depreciating asset (i.e. not an investment in the traditional sense). This is why it is stupid to buy houses with the intent of making money on them. Yes, it is a good idea to make certain that when you buy a house, should the need arise you can sell it and so not "eat" the entire price of the house; but buying a house primarily with the intent to sell it when the price rises is, in most cases, insane. And in any sane economy, very few people are in a position where doing so is a reasonable plan.

That is all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More on the Gold Standard

I'll have to try to discuss these articles later, you know, after I discuss all of the other things I planned to discuss but never got around to.

Jim Henley, Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen.

Suffice it to say, I agree with Ron Paul and disagree with those cited above.

That is all.

Inflation

Mike Whitney and Ron Paul discuss the problems with our current monetary policy.

That is all.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Mitt's, Huck's, and Arthur Branch's friends are trying to repeat the November 5 success of Ron.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to LewRockwell blog here and here.

That is all.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Kucinich vs. Ron Paul

I have read a lot of people asking why Ron Paul is getting so much support but not Dennis Kucinich. After all, Kucinich's idea are not that much more "wacky" than PAul's, and he is also antiwar? Why the tremendous appeal of Paul to conservatives (and perhaps some liberal crossovers) but no such appeal for Kucinich?

I think there are several reasons, but the primary one is that Dennis Kucinich is not really to the Democrats what Paul is to the GOP. Kucinich is more like their Tancredo, a more purified. distilled version of what hte other Democrats believe, or claim to.

All of the Democrats in the race are antiwar or pretend to be (you can determine who you think is which for yourselves). At best, Kucinich can claim to be the more genuine liberal, sort of a reverse of Alan Keyes in 2000. Dissatisfied Democrats can still get a half-loaf with the other candidates with a better chance of winning.

But on the single most important issue of the last few years, the Iraq War, Ron Paul is the only candidate to speak up for the right wing antiwarrior. People who cannot stomach the Democrats but who want a humble foreign policy have only one choice. Listening to Paul at a Republican debate is far more electrifying than listening to Kucinich, because he stands against the entire pack of competitors.

Kucinich and Paul? Kucinich is, as far as I can tell, a good and sincere person, albeit one whose ideas are far more left-wing than mine. But he is not the Democratic version of Paul.

That is all.

When Farah's Right, He's Right

On the Robertson sell-out.

I totally agree with him about hte family channel. Some of the movies and shows they have shown on there since Robertson sold it do not belong on any network calling itself "family."

Granted, I am not denying that I watch some racy shows (Rescue Me, for example). But FX does not claim to be "family-friendly." I think that Robertson has sold everything out for power and influence.

That is all.

More on Constitutional Plan B

Ballot access for the Constitution Party as of 10/31/07, according to Ballot Access News:

us_nl1007a

Changes:

Petitioning for Missouri and Arkansas is done.

Iowa, South Dakota, and West Virginia are all further along in their petition drive, although this does not change the map color at all.

That is all.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Once More About Andrew Sullivan

A few months ago I wrote:

It is obvious from the context that he considers any Christian who actually believes the Bible to be a "Christianist," one who perverts Christianity into his own political philosophy, whereas authentic Christianity, in Sullivan's mind, is apparently that which okays whatever his "personal experiences" tell him is okay.

Well, in a recent post, Sully approvingly quotes a reader:

Your reader is right to say that Jesus came to bring division to the land. The problem with this fellow is that he is on the wrong side of the divide. Jesus did not condemn homosexuals. He stands with them, not against them... I empathize with your reader's dilemma in attempting to be a good Christian while asserting the immorality of homosexuality, but in the end, this is not possible. He is trying to be good. Unfortunately, he is simply wrong, as are those portions of the Bible which make such charges.

In other words, to be a good Christian, you must reject certain portions of the Bible. How you determine what these portions are is not mentioned, but I have a feeling that any passage that doesn't celebrate every possible sexual expression is fair game.

There is also more of the inane equating of love with approval:

[Jesus] stands in radical contrast to these attitudes. He did indeed bring about division, by rejecting intolerance and embracing the approach of unconditional love.

Jesus never preached unconditional approval of all personal behavior, which is what this person is equating with love. Nor was he particularly tolerant. In fact, in areas where he reinterpreted Old Testament Law (reinterpreted from the standard interpretations present at that place in time) he often interpreted it more strictly than was common in Israel at that time. (Don't look with lust, don't yell at your neighbor).

If this is apparently what passes for Christian teaching amongst a lot of people in the U.S. today, we are in for some serious problems.

That is all.

Strange Case

This is a strange case. Apparently, a judge decided that raping a prostitute constituted simple theft.

The argument for this, of course, is that she had already agreed to have sex with him, he just made her do it without getting paid, so in essence he simply took her money away. Yes, a woman can change her mind, but she didn't change her mind about the sex except to the extent that she didn't want to do it without pay. So in essence, the only difference between what she would have done and what he forced her to do is the lack of pay.

I think the relevant distinctions here are (a) the man took out the gun to force her to have sex rather than after sex in order to force her to leave without getting paid. So in essence, he didn't rob her of money, he forced her to do work after she said she would not. Forcing service under the threat of bodily harm is more akin to slavery than theft. (b) He forced to have sex with four men when she had only agreed to have sex with two. Seeing as she had never consented to having sex with more than two men, it cannot be said that she would have if he had paid her; therefore, the net effect may have been more than just taking away her revenue.

That is all.

Dishonesty at WorldNetDaily

The gist of the facts presented in Aaron Klein's article on WorldNetDaily are that by going to foreign countries and bad-mouthing our president, celebrities are doing things that plese terrorists.

But Aaron Klein's use of the term "urging terrorists on" obviously gives the implication that these celebrities are actually telling terrorists to attack us, which is a lie.

There is also the not-so-subtle implication that criticizing Bush is tantamount to supporting the terrorists.

Despicable.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wizard of Oz Fears

I am watching (on and off) Bravo's "100 Scariest Moments in Film."

They mention The Wizard of Oz, and I can't help but remember the scene that terrified me as a child, and which in fact, as I recall, made me quit watching once or twice.

It wasn't the monkeys, or the Winkies (the Yeo-he-ho soldiers), or the Witch.

It was the poppies.

Why? Because they were described as "posion," and I was terrified of poison.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Andrew Sullivan's Strange Theology

This line from Andrew Sullivan's recent post on ex-gay McClurkin's appearance at an Obama rally:

No, he doesn't say anything homophobic as such. He uses the usual formula of loving those he wants to be other than they are - which is a very funny kind of love.

Does Sullivan think that it is impossible to love someone and at the same time believe that they have flaws that need to be corrected? He seems to imply that either you condone everythign a person does, or else you do not love them.

Of course, maybe his disagreement is that he thinks that homosexuality is not a thing you do, but who you are. But even if we assume that to be the case, can only morally neutral or morally positive attributes define one's identity? Do not people with tendencies that Andrew would agree are destructive exist (e.g. alcoholics, pedophiles)? Are these tendencies not part of the identity of such people? Would he insist that we encourage them not to change who they are? Alternately, would he insist that they should change, but that in saying so, he does not love them, and furthermore that he only loves them when they do?

Or does his idea that it is strange to claim to love someone and want them to change only apply to homosexuality?

It is one thing simply to claim that McClurkin is wrong to consider homosexuality sinful. In such a case, there is nothing inconsistent of unusual about McClurkin's position. There is nothing unusual about him loving people and at the same time wanting them to change aspects of their identity he considers sinful. This is not inconsistent even if the things he wants to change are fundamental aspects of their identity. The only issue here is whether his belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality is accurate or erroneous. Even if McClurkin is wrong, it does not make his love "a funny kind of love," it just means that his good intentions and love are directed erroneously due to a doctrinal error.

However, Andrew has gone beyond simply disagreeing with McClurkin about one piece of doctrine; he is essentially saying that if you love someone, you must condone everything they do. This either means condoning all behavior or not loving people until they measure up to whatever moral standards you believe exist.

Andrew is the one who is defining "love" strangely in this post.

That is all.

It IS Unfair that California Only Gets Two Senate Seats

Obviously, it should be split into smaller states so each will have two Senators.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More on the Constitution Party

Here is the electoral breakdown of this map.

On ballot: 157 electoral votes
Gathering signatures: 65 electoral votes
Not yet started: 148 electoral votes
Cannot start yet: 163 electoral votes
Uncertain status: 5 electoral votes

That is all.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Duncan Hunter

I must say that after the debate on Sunday, my opinion of Duncan Hunter has changed somewhat.

Despite the fact that I don't think I exactly agree with him on trade (I'm more toward free trade myself, although I think we may need some tariffs for revenue purposes), I think that his discussion of trade policy, particularly "mirror trade" did add something to the debate that was not added by any other candidate. So he is more than a shadow of Tancredo.

That is all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Constitution Party Ballot Access 2008

On the off chance that Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee, I am still following the Constitution Party. (And givning it donations from time to time).

My only concern about the Paul campaign is that if it sucks up all of the money that would go to right-wing third paties, then the third parties might not have a chance to get ballot access if he is not nominated.

So here is my ballot access map as of August 2008. Data is from Ballot Access News.

us_nl0807c


Not bad for 15 months ahead of the election.

That is all.

Ampersand Likes to See Whites Get Beaten Up by Blacks

He "really doesn't like" this Ted Rall cartoon, presumably because he finds it annoying that Ted Rall brings up the fact that the adolescents charged in the Jena Six incident BEAT A GUY UNCONSCIOUS.

He then prints a sappy passage from an "excellent post" by Elle PhD where Mychal Bell is referred to as "a child."

Apparently, Ampersand doesn't really care much about the victim of this beating, and probably thinks that he deserved it for being a privileged white guy. At least, he doesn't want anyone to bring up any inconvenient facts into his narrative of white = evil oppressor black = angelic victim.

That is all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thomas of RedState: I'm a Whiny Little Coward

Wah, wah, wah.

That is all.

Alas, A Blog Shows the True Face of Unadulterated Leftism

After asserting essentially that genetic differences between the races cannot even be considered, at least when talking about intelligence, Mandolin proceeds to prove my comment on evo-psych deniers:

Whenever someone denigrates evolutionary psychology, what they really mean is "I thought the whole point of evolution was just to deny God. I didn't think it was actually supposed to tell us anything."

And of course, the thread has the usual moderation disclaimer to make certain that they don't havce to deal with anyone questioning their precious suppositions (becausse leftists think that any disagreement must be due to the magical state called "privilege."

And, wouldn't you know it, Mandolin confirms one of John Savage's theories.

That is all.

Interesting...

Was David Kelly murdered?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to LRC blog.

That is all.

African-American

I am starting to think that "African-American" (or "of African descent" when referring to non-Americans) is a better term to use than "black," despite its origins in politcal correctness.

This is because it frames the issue of race more appropriately, as one of ancestry rather than one of one particular physical difference. So people can't keep saying "duh- so you are saying that having darker skin causes behavioral differences?" No, darker skin is just one marker for race - which is about who your ancestors were, not about skin color, or hair shape, etc.

That is all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SubPrime Mortgages

Reading this, a cartoon came to mind that I read a few months ago on a liberal blog.

Looking at the cartoon, it is interesting to note the subtext: Everyone is entitled to a house and one cannot be secure without one, but not everyone is able to afford one under reasonable conditions (i.e. without paying astronomical rent). Therefore, everyone should be given a house, either in whole or in part (that is, subsidized), presumably by the government.

That's not exactly what is said, of course, but that is what the message amounts to.

The possibility that not everyone needs a house and that people ought to wait to get one does not appear to be the dominant mode of thought.

That is all.

Thoughts About the GOP Race

Accoding to this, Sen. Brownback is planning on dropping out of the GOP race.

I think that this is a good idea. Moreover, I think that Brownback ought to endorse Mike Huckabee, as they seem to be the closest on the issues.

As I see it, Brownback and Duncan Hunter are essentially lesser versions of Huckabee and Tom Tancredo, respectively, and they do not add anything to the race. Therefore, unless they can show significant polling numbers, I see no reason for them to keep running (whereas if they had unique interesting positions, I could justify their staying in the race despite low poll numbers because of what they added to the debate; for example, Tom Tancredo brings up the big picture on immigration in a way that no other candidate does and Ron Paul brings up monetary policy and non-interventionism).

Hunter should drop out and endorse Tancredo, in my opinion.

It is, of course, more likely that Brownback will endorse one of the big three in hopes of kissing up to power, which is sad, because I think that Huckabee would add something interesting to the race if he could consolidate the "compassionate social conservative" vote.

Update: Andrew Sullivan seems to be suggesting the same thing as I am about Brownback vis a vis Huckabee.

That is all.

Th Insipid Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson wants to overturn Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion via a lawsuit.

Completely ignoring the issue of whether or not the SCHIP expansion is a good idea, ths strikes me as a totally asinine move.

The fact of the matter is, there is no legal requirement that the president let any SCHIP funding bill pass. Health care is not guaranteed as an inalienable right to be protected by the governemnt in our constitution.

So there is no legal standing for Governor Richardson to sue. It is not as if Bush signed the bill and then used executive orders and whatnot to undermine it. His power to veto legislation is enshrined in the Constitution, and ihe has the power to veto whatever he wants.

If you read the article, you will discover that nowhere in the article does Richardson explain the legal basis for his suit. That is becuase there is none.

So it is a totally asinine move. The obvious political reason is that he is running for President, and as a governor he does not have the power to directly counter Bush (by voting to override his veto) the way that Obama or Hillary do.

So he is trying to jump on the "me, too" bandwagon with this ridiculous lawsuit.

That is all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thoughts on Turkey's Genocide Denial

While I can understand that at this time we wouldn't want to alienate them by actually passing a resolution, if we are going to softpedal Turkey's mass-murder against the Armenians, I think we ought to shut up about Ahmedinejad's Hoilocaust skepticism, unless of course we are just intending to use six million dead Jews as a prop to launch an aggressive war against a country that was not involved in their killing. (In which case we are announcing to the Armenians that they might as well go and screw themselves).

That is all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

McCain and the Magic Word

Not that I would ever vote for him, but McCain made a very important point in the economic debate on Tuesday.

As one of the main things I hope for with the Paul candidacy is that he will bring isues to the floor that no one else will touch (e.g. the Federal Reserve), I must give credit when someone else brings up a point that no one else wants to explain.

In the debate, when McCain talked about ethanol bio-fuel, he said the magic word that needs to be said whenever anyone wants to seriously think about ethanol as a supplement to our energy supply.

Sugarcane.

Any realistic attempt to get any benefit from ethanol bio-fuel will almost certainly require us to use sugarcane-based ethanol - which will almost certainly have to be imported. Corn is simply to inefficient.

That is all.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dinsingenuous Atheism

People who claim "I don't believe in labels" tend to strike me as rather pretentious. Generally it seems to me that this is a disingenuous attempt to avoid associations with an idea or categorization that is unpopular, rather than standing up an owning it.

In this vein, I find the speech by Sam Harris that Andrew Sullivan is quoting rather unimpressive:

Attaching a label to something carries real liabilities, especially if the thing you are naming isn't really a thing at all. And atheism, I would argue, is not a thing. It is not a philosophy, just as "non-racism" is not one. Atheism is not a worldview—and yet most people imagine it to be one and attack it as such. We who do not believe in God are collaborating in this misunderstanding by consenting to be named and by even naming ourselves.

Ah, but atheism is a thing.

It is a category.

While atheism is not a worldview or a philosophy, it is certainly a legitimate category of worldviews or philosophies. Atheism is a category of beliefs that share one common element: the denial of the existence of God. Not labelling "atheists" as such is a rather Orwellian way of trying to define the terms of the debate.

Certainly there are other categories comparable to atheism that, while not a philosophy or worldview, nonetheless do exist within clearly recognizable borders.

Monotheism and polytheism come to mind. Sam Harris himself offers one: non-racism. For that matter, fatalism, belief in reincarnation, pragmatism, and a hot of other things can also be called categories, even if they do not represent the entirety of a worldview or philosophy.

I am not sure where this aversion to naming one's self came from. But unlike Andrew, I find it intellectually dishonest to eschew labels (although it is perfectly sound to be opposed to a particular taxonomy of labels, e.g. the current understaning of "conservative" and "liberal").

That is all.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Not All Criticisms of the Surge Are Correct

This post by Andrew Sullivan on September 10 has him complaining that the surge only reduced attacks to the levels of eighteen months ago.

While I believe that the surge will not reduce violence long-term, this is not exactly a fair attack, because it ignores the larger picture, which is not the number of attacks in a particular month, but the trends.

That is, his complain only has validity if the violence has stabilized at that level. As long as the violence is trending downward, there is always the possibility that it will bottom out at a level at or below what we saw in 2003 and early 2004, when the war was still fairly popular.

Certainly the trend in hostile coalition deaths is still downward - for now.

That is all.

Withdrawal Isn't that Hard

We keep hearing how it will take a year or more to leave Iraq even if we started getting out right now.

Greg Cochran explains that that is baloney and that we could get out in mere months.

The gist of the article is that most of the "logistical problems" come from the belief that (a) we cannot leave behind anything, including non-combat equipment (e.g. furniture) (b) that soldiers must be taken directly to America to be "out of Iraq," and (c) leaving by land is more dangerous than it actually would be.

The only presidential candidate so far to mention this is Kucinich.

That is all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pravda News and General Petraeus

Glenn Greenwald makes some good points about the Brit Hume "interview" of General Petraeus.

That is all.

A Laughable Line

While I can certainly understand why the top-tier candidates would have a problem going to the Values Voter Debate, and I am not outraged that they did not, I do find this quote in their defense, by Michael Barrett of Strattanville, Pa., hilarious:

They just see this 'debate' for what it is, a 'Christian' ambush of the top four candidates with Farah as the hired hitman/moderator. You want to have an honest debate with a fair moderator, such as [Sean] Hannity or Brit Hume, [then] they would have shown up.

Right. Hannity and Hume are known for even-handedness.

That is all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Choose "Separation of Church and State" or Big Government. You Can't Have Both.

As Barry Loberfeld masterfully explains.

The way that liberals get away with pretending that they believe in "separation of church and state," as opposed to an atheocracy, is by defining atheism and secularism as inherently non-religious in nature and therefore immune to the First Amendment (e.g. it is perfectly acceptable for the state to annound atheism as the established church), or by defining "religion" so narrowly that "freedom of religion" is simply the freedom to claim a faith and to practice it in one's own head. The right to actually practice one's faith in one's life is dependent on its servility ot the values which the state wishes to impose.

So they pretend to believe in separation of church and state" while believing in big government, ultimately working toward the oppression and suppression of religion.

That is all.

Webb Amendment Fails

The "longer deployed than at home" policy is policy for the near future.

So the next time McCain or anyone like him talks about "support the troops," tell him to shove it and to say what he really means:

"BOW BEFORE THE GREAT GOD DUBYA!"

That is all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sorry for Light Blogging

I suffered a repetitive motion injury last week at work. It didn't really lay me out, but my shoulder blade hurt all weekend (as in, I couldn't turn my head or get comfortable enough to sleep for more than three or four hours). It's all better now, but I just haven't felt like blogging much.

That is all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Troops in Vietnam

Most of the arguments that we were betrayed in Vietnam are based on the idea that Vietnamization worked and that all we needed to do was to provide funding and bombing runs to keep South Vietnam viable.

Proving that he in insane, Norman Podhoretz appears to imply in his latest bromide that Nixon should have kept U.S. ground troops there en masse:

In 1972, Richard Nixon was elected by landslide to a second term as president, but in campaigning against George McGovern's call for us to withdraw from Vietnam, Nixon did not sound an opposing call to fight on to victory. On the contrary: He too promised to get us out of Vietnam. The difference was that he also promised to accomplish this with our honor intact.

In other words, we should have kept fighting on the ground. I suppose that Podhoretz is disappointed that we didn't keep up the 1968 level of casualties throughout the 1970s.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Thing That Would Be Interesting to See...

...Would be 1 minute of the broadcast on September 11, 2001, right before the terrorist attacks and then see how the report first came out. All the videos I have seen so far start with the attacks themselves. I never saw the new break originally (I didn't hear about the attacks until all of the planes had crashed and both towers had collapsed) and think it would be interesting to see how it suddenly broke into the morning news reports.

That is all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

All Arabs/Muslims Are the Enemy

Stanley Kurtz makes a valiant attempt to equate the Sunni insurgency with Al Qaeda, largely in response to this piece by Andrew Tilghman.

Distilling his piece to its essence, he makes 3 points:

(1) The primary goal in Iraq is to stay there so as to fight entities in Iraq that will threaten us. There is no "victory point" that we are working toward. We are staying in order to stay. [Presumably he also wants Iraq as a forward base so that we can do the same with the entire Middle East].

(2) All Sunnis are the enemy and any Sunni who commits violence is Al Qaeda.

(3) Long-term bribing of various populations to be quiescent is an acceptable status quo.

The problem with most of his arguments is that he automatically assumes that any Iraqi who deals with Al Qaeda must have desires outside of Iraq. He assumes that anyone who is interested in the local conflict must also be interested in the global conflict of Al Qaeda vs. the U.S., or the broader conflict of the Muslims vs. the west.

This quote epitomizes his problem:

Although surge-supporting analysts say that AQI drafts Baathist insurgents to carry out terror attacks, Tilghman favors analysts who say it’s the other way around. The truth, says Tilghman, is that native insurgent forces are “coopting a steady stream of delusional (AQI) extremists seeking martyrdom” into their local feuds. What Tilghman doesn’t get is that this is how the tribal game is always played. Every player thinks he’s the one cleverly making use of his duller allies for his own ends. And of course, every player is in part correct. To a degree, AQI is using the locals to support global jihad, while the locals are also using AQI to support narrow tribal or sectarian ends.

Yes, to a degree Al Qaeda is co-opting the locals for its own ends. But those ends are local ends even for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda's main goal in Iraq is to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq - not necessarily to get us to leave, but to bleed us there and to take away resources. There is little to no evidence that the Iraqis using Al Qaeda for their own local ends have any interest in helping Al Qaeda beyond the mutual goal of hurting the U.S. military forces in Iraq (although some of the Iraqis almost certainly want us to leave, which Al Qaeda may not want). Put another way, the Iraqi involvement in "global jihad" is likely limited to the part of "global jihad" happening in Iraq - there is little Al Qaeda could use them for if our troops were not there.

A given players own primary identity or ends don’t necessarily stay fixed. A truly successful charismatic religious leader — and a militarily successful jihad — heightens a tribesman’s identification with pan-Muslim jihad.

But do we have much evidence of this? Do we actually see Iraqi tribal leaders becoming terorist leaders?

Essentially, Kurtz wants to blur all distinctions so that all Arabs or Muslims are Al Qaeda, and so that completing crushing the entire Arab/Muslim world and holding it under our heel is the only way to protect us.

I think that this is a very foolish way of thinking.

That is all.

Friday, September 07, 2007

An Very Interesting Article on Ron Paul

From the Wall Street Journal.

That is all.

The Link Between Immigration and Poverty

Much of the "growing inequality" of the U.S. comes from the fact that we are importing poor people. This is true independent of whether or not increased immigration is a bad thing; if you add poor people to the country, the nominal poverty rate will be higher even if everyone is better off, because the new poor people's incomes are suddenly figured into the statistics, and their previous lower incomes in their home countries are not counted.

Roert J. Samuelson makes this point in Newsweek, which is terribly important at a time when we are being told how awful our growing inequality problem is.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the VDARE blog.

That is all.

A Liberal Appreciates Ron Paul

Richard Blari, though not a Ron Paul supporter, is nonetheless jazzed by the grassroots effort behind the Paul campaign.

I'm sure I found this via the LewRockwell.com blog, althoguh I don't have the permalink right now.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wow.

The highlight of the debate was the Huckabee-Paul exchange.

That is all.

Craig vs. Giuliani

Personally, I'd like to see Craig stay in office and the "resroom" business just go away. I don't care about his personal life as long as he doesn't flaunt any peccadilloes or peculiarities and try to normalize them.

Which is why I find Giuliani a lot more offensive than Craig. Giuliani's problems he airs out in public and wants us to accept them. He shows no shame, no sense of sin or repentance, or realization that he has done wrong. He is a pathetic little man, whose assault on traditional values is much worse than the alleged hypocrisy of Craig.

That is all.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Dave Mangan

Takes an utterly stupid (unless he is being consciously evil) position on the DNC's justified retaliation against Florida.

The reason for having Iowa and New Hampshire vote first is so that the candidates can actually campaign for a little bit in small, low-cost states, so that there is at least a chance for the little guys to compete against establishment, big-money candidates.

Obviously, folks like "Dumb (or devilish) Dave" just want us to be restricted to the establishment buffoons.

Of course, he seems to be excited about Giuliani potentially doing well in Florida, and if he's one of the "Giuliani'll kill the ragheads and that's good enough for me!" crowd, then that explains everything.

That is all.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Summary:

The government should stop looking at links between obesity and health problems because we want to pretend that such links don't exist.

By the way, the person writing the report is pro-infanticide blogger Maia.

That is all.

Friday, August 31, 2007

On the Lighter Side

Best 1980s cartoon bad guy names:

Lord Darkstorm - Visionaries
Blackthorne Shore - Inhumanoids
Starscream - Transformers
Storm Shadow - G.I. Joe

That is all.

In Senator Craig's Defense

Lew Rockwell quotes Paul Craig Roberts on Larry Craig. Good point. It is possible that Senator Craig was set up by someone who didn't like his politics.

That is all.

Ron Paul First Tier?

These folks think so.

Thanx ad a tip o' the hat to Lew Rockwell.

That is all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Good for the Democrats!

For fighting back against the earlier-and-earlier primary madness.

Stripping Florida of its delegates if it moves the primary up is just the sort of thing that needs to be done in this case.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to WorldNetDaily.

That is all.

Ron Paul - Multiple Straw Poll Champ

Various sraw poll results produce exceedingly good new for those who like Ron Paul.

That is all.

Rhetoric Over Reason, and Emotion Over Accountability

Do you want to know why people hate the Bush administration so much? It's not because of some stupid "Bush Derangement syndrome." It's because Bush and his entire administration seem hell-bent on making a "friends" and an "enemies" list, and on using rhetoric and emotional appeals to avoid actually discussing the issues that we need to face. It is also their attempt to avoid accountability for anything they have done.

No better example of this is recent days than the interview of former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleishcher by Mike Barnicle (sitting in for Chris Matthews) on the August 22 episode of Hardball. See the transcript of the episode here, and search for "FLEISCHER" with case sensitivity on.

Among the things that upset me are his desire to avoid acountability:

Mike, it is not about the 2002 decision to go into Iraq. It‘s about terrorism that exists in Iraq today... The 2002 debate is an old, stale debate about why we went into Iraq with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction... Mike, you‘re stuck in the 2001-2002 timetable and debate. It is so far beyond that debate.

In other words, "do not hold us accountable for past mistakes, and do not judge our present predictions by our accuracy in the past." No one tries to elide over the past as irrelevant unless they did something wrong. Does anyone thinks that he would trotting out the irrelevance of 2001-2002 if we had found WMDs?

When asked how to repair the "broken military," Fleischer offers no solutions as to how to deal with the stresses, instead saying:

Mike, I don‘t remember anybody—I wasn‘t alive, but during World War II, saying, We can‘t fight unlimited amounts of time. There‘s no limit. I don‘t remember in the cold war people saying, Let‘s quit because who knows how long this will go.

So he doesn't actually offer a plan except to elide over the problem. Presumably he would perfectly okay then with simply extneding tours to 18 or 21 months and letting the soldiers work themselves to death as long as they were willing to sign up.

Then comes this doozy:

Mike Barnicle, clearly annoyed tha Fleischer won't actually offer plans on how to solve the overextended military problem, asks Mr. Fleischer:

Ari, do you remember reading about Franklin Delano Roosevelt asking the country to make sacrifices for World War Two? Do you remember that?

Fleischer, unbelievably, responds:

I think everybody in this country is making a sacrifice.

We all do every time a soldier loses his or her life.


When pressed, he continues:

No, Mike. You‘re missing the point about this military is all of our military, both the people who oppose the war and the people who are for winning this war. And every time a life is lost, we all lose. We all have made a sacrifice, some more than others.

WRONG. This is stupid rhetoric, along the lines of "no one is free when anyone is oppressed." All of the soldiers in Iraq could be tortured to death, and it would still not hurt me in any way that I would consider to be a sacrifice on my part. Sacrifice by proxy is a ridiculous concept, and all that Fleischer is trying to do is to make Bush into an FDR-like inspiring war-time leader by declaring things to be true by mere rhetorical turns of phrases.

Ari Fleischer is an a**hole.

That is all.

Way to Go, Threebs (Warning: Link Contains Strong Language)

One thing that annouys me about the health Nazis (and I say this as a celibate, non-drinking, non-drug-using, non-smoker) is the hypocrisy and inconsistency. I did a quick Google search of a few terms to find something that illustrates this point, and I think I've found it.

Dan Savage, a gay sex columnist, wrote a diatribe about smoking helping to spread HIV by weakening the immune system (warning: language, particularly in the comments section).

What I like about this article is the 3rd comment, where a person known as "threebs" points out other risky behavior that one could criticize for spreading HIV. Naturally, Dan goes ballistic at the idea that the pleasures indigenous to his community should be put under the same scrutiny as those indigenous to the smoking community.

What happened to tolerance, Dan?

That is all.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Funding for Paul going Up this Quarter?

That's the case according to this article. This sounds like good news, although there are no numbers on funding there to back it up.

On the other hand, it does mention his large number (36,000) of meetup groups. It would be interesting to see a campaign that rises from the bottom up rather than coming from the top down.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Brave New World Watch

This will soon be my new blog of the week this will be the first time in more than a year that I have a new one.

That is all.

Immigration and Inequality

This post on TPMCafe and the New York times article it is based on both neatly manage to miss the likely most important cause of our growing income inequality and our lowered average incomes: the immigration of poor people to the U.S.

Between 2000 and 2005, lots of new immigrants came to the U.S., disproportionately those of lower incomes. This is going to skew the statistics on average income even if no one lost any income.

To do a study like this fairly, either everyone who immigrated to our emigrated from the U.S. during those time periods needs to be removed from the statistics, or their incomes in the other country need to be included.

That is all.

The Seven Soldiers

While these seven soldiers denying that the surge is working are an interesting case, I do not think it is wise to accept their statements at face value immediately, any more than I take the word of someone who says how smoothly the war is going and how much the Iraqis like us.

If I have a little more time, I'll try to write down some more thoughts and a deeper analysis.

That is all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

But We Trust Our Propaganda

Jonathan Finer's editorial on Iraq visits by officials (Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Daniel Larison) reminds me of the dismissive attitude taken by many pro-warriors when Sean Penn wanted "to investigate the war for himself" and went to Iraq.

Yet we are somehow supposed to believe that when our country is in Iraq and when our Iraqi friends are in the goverenment, somehow we will be getting the unvarnished truth, without the facts being manipulated to serve the goals of the administration.

That these same people are now chiding people such as James Webb for not knowing what is going on because he has not visited Iraq personally is too much to bear.

That is all.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

AntiWar.Com

While I disagree with Wendy mcElroy's anti-Ron Paul sentiment in this post (continuing a recent trend of my blogposts being defenses of Ron Paul), she is right about Antiwar.Com. It needs our help.

I've just donated $100.00, and I encourage all my readers to do the same.

That is all.

On Hiroshima

I do think that the information discussed in this post puts a much more positive light on Hiroshima.

On the other hand, this does not answer the question as to whether negotiating a surrender by the Japanese (rather than demanding an unconditional surrender) would have allowed Hiroshima to be avoided, which in the end is I think the great moral question and the one that has the most relevance to how we should conduct future foreign policy. (This is really the big question of Hiroshima, after all, not so much whether or not to beat our chests and wail over the Japanese civilians we killed, but to question what lessons we should learn for the future).

That is all.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Draft

This is an interesting article detailing the draft issue(Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Antiwar.com).

All assurances about how much more effecdtive an all-volunteer military is are really moot if we need a bigger military than we can obtain voluntarily. No one who thinks a draft is coming thinks so because Bush or military has given indications of wanting a draft, they think it because of the enormous pressures that are currently being put on our military.

Stories of meeting recruitment quotas are also meaningless, because with 15-month deployments and 12-month rests, it is obvious that if we are meeting the quotas, they are much too small for the current demands that we are putting on our military.

We need to either expand the military or else reduce its duties. Do't get me wrong, I am not calling for an increase in the size of the military; however, I do think that those who support the war ought to be pushing for such an increase; because I think that they need to confront the public with the true costs of our current policy.

That is all.

Desperation

The traditional pro-war storyline to put out after incidents like these is that the terrorists are trying to make a disruption before the big report on Iraq (this time, the Petraeus Report), with the implication that we are winning but that they are going to get enough propaganda to offset it.

The implication is always that the terroorists are losing, but that they can make one last show of might in order to discourage us.

The problem with this storyline is that they have done this several times. Eventually, one has to admit that if they still have the ability to pull these things off, then pehaps they are not losing. This can't just be a lucky break or a last-ditch effort every time.

That is all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Question about Wendy McElroy

More on Ron Paul:

And PLEASE don't give me the f*cking line that he believes this matter should be left to states as though that position is some sort of benign argument. States' rights or perogatives do not exist any more than federal rights and perogatives exist; only individuals have rights. What exists is my body and my right to everything that is beneath my own skin. I am not such a blithering idiot as to believe that a politician who wants a smaller government (a local or state government) to absolutely negate my self-ownership is a benign friend while someone who wants a larger government to do so is my vicious enemy. Both are morally equal as enemies, both are politically equal as dangers.

Is she saying that she objects to the fact that Paul wants the states to restrict abortion, or is she saying she objects to the idea that the federal government should not prohibit the states from restricting abortion (that is, she thinks it is legitimate to use a more global level of governemnt to restrict a more local level)? I will agree that while Paul's stated position (that the ferderal government should leave it to the states) is substantively the same as Harry Browne's, what they think that the states should do (Browne wanted, as far as I can tell, the states not to regulate abortion, although he didn't think that the federal government was the proper vehicle to prevent them, while Paul pretty clearly wants the states to outlaw at least most abortions) is obviously different. (I'm not dealing with the question of Paul's consistency on federal regulation of abortion here because it was not the issue brought up in Wendy's post).

So does she support the federal government tying states' hands on abortion, or does she simply disagree with Paul's idea of what he would like to see come next?

That is all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ron Paul and Good Timing

If there was ever a time, it is now.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the Lew Rockwell blog. (I'm not going to go back and see if I can find the specific post right now, though).

That is all.

Much a I Have No Use for Daily Kos...

...I gotta love this illustration.

What's that you say? Why do I read Daily Kos? I don't. But I caught a glimpse of this picture while watching a news channel (I think it was Fox) talk about Kos, and I had to get on to link to the picture.

That is all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More on Wendy McElroy and Ron Paul

In the interests of giving time to the Paul skeptics, here is another post by Wendy McElroy, detailing an anti-Paul (or at least skeptical of Paul) email that she had received.

Her correspondent raises some good points about Paul from a purist standpoint, (together with some that I think are based on mistaken assumptions).

In any case, I'm still voting for him myself.

Reasons:

(1) I am not a libertarian when it comes to immigration and I am just as happy for Paul not to be libertarian on the issue as well.

(2) On the declaration of war - it was always my understanding that Paul's goal was less to get Congress to declare war because he would have supported a declared war than to force Congress to take an explicit position on the war. In this article he made it very clear that he was anticipating a "no" vote if Congress were to vote on declaring war. In other words, he was challegning the pro-warriors to commit themselves constitutionally. I will admit that he doesn't clearly say this in the speech linked to by McElroy's email corrspondent.

(3) I don't think Paul was calling gays a social problem as much as the question of whether or not to recognize marriage being a social problem, in the sense of a controversy that needs to be resolved. Having said that, I do not think that homosexuality is a net benefit to society nor do I think that the recent moves toward normalizing it socially are good. (If I were in control, society would sort of view it as a private vice or peculiarity, people would be more or less discreet in public, but harassing or picking on people for their sexuality would be condemned as boorish, rude behavior [and in cases where the law comes in to play to protect people from harassment and assault, these laws would be as vigorously enforced for those harassing gays as for those harassing anyone else).

(4) I don't know enough about Paul's absence for the FISA/Wiretap bill to comment.

(5) On the healthcare issue, I do not see his YouTube video as particularly offensive. I do see problems with "health savings accounts" as they would be managed under a governmental system, but they would be a lot better than what we have now. As for him intimating "that he agrees with Bush on health care," I think it is more accurate to say that he agrees solely on the issue of medical savings accounts (2:40-2:50 minutes in). The correspondent is explicitly mistaken in his assertion that "[Paul] says he doesn't want to cut the deficit." What Paul actually said is (3:35-3:50 minutes in) "I would tide people over by literally saving a lot of money from these overseas expenditures, enough to even cut the deficit, and at the same time not put people out on the streets." So he is in favor of cutting the deficit.

Why We Like Ron Paul

Watch his Iowa Straw Poll Speech.

By the way, that's a "Texas Longhorns'" symbol, not a "devil" symbol he makes at the beginning.

That is all.

CNBC on the War Ron Paul Wants to Fight

Against the Federal Reserve.

That is all.

HKtSNatGEfM

This acronym refers to a certain type of person, attitude, or statement about Rudy Giuliani that says something along the lines of "Sure, he's a liberal/phianderer/louse who doesn't agree with social conservatives anything, but he'll be tough on terror."

This doesn't necessarily mean anything about actually preventing terrorism, as Lawrence Auster points out, but rather refers to the fact that he will likely carry the neoconservative goal for empire even farther than Bush, as evidenced by his choice for senior foreign policy advisor. So they support him out of a believe that he will teach "those damn Muslims" a lesson by bombing more of them into oblivion and making "The Norman Conquest" Podhoretz's dreams come true.

More simply, what I always translate this attitude into is this:

"Who cares? He'll Kill the Sand-N*****s and that's Good Enough for Me!"

That is all.

Iraqis Making Their Own Weapons

Scott Horton compiles the evidence that it is not, in fact, all orchestrated by Iran.

That is all.

War Lies

Glenn Greenwald gets to some of the truth behind the O'Hanlon/Pollak "fraud".

It's Kenneth Joseph all over again.

Thanx and tip o' the hat to Mona at Unqualified Offerings.

That is all.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On Ol' Sully and "Christianism"

Reading posts like this or this by Andrew Sullivan tend to make his statements concerning "Christianism" risible.

It is obvious from the context that he considers any Christian who actually believes the Bible to be a "Christianist," one who perverts Christianity into his own political philosophy, whereas authentic Christianity, in Sullivan's mind, is apparently that which okays whatever his "personal experiences" tell him is okay.

I am less bothered by his "buffet approach" to Christian doctrine than by his constant desire to demonize those as "Christianists" who do not take his approach (or at least who try not to, we are all I think guilty of ignoring passages that put demands on us that we do not like).

This also relates to the term "Islamist," which one in the end could define as "a Muslim who actually believes in a straightforward interpretation of Islam."

The overall goal here seems to be to deny to each faith the truth of what it is, to warp the belief system into something that makes secualr moderns comfortable, and then to demonize those who have not seclarized into something other than true adherents of the creed that they follow.

That is all.

Unintended Consequences

They apply as much to laws regarding domestic abuse as to any other law. Perhaps mandatory arrest was not the best way to deal with the problem.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Feministe.

That is all.

Wesley Pruden is not Wesley Prudent

An interesting article on "progress" in Iraq.

My thoughts:

I find referring to pulling out of Iraq as "surrender" to be rather base propaganda. We would not be declaring that we could not "win" in the sense of crushing those in Iraq with whom we are fighting, nor would be be giving up our country to them. We would just be declaring that trying to create a client state or a democracy in Iraq is not worth the cost. As Justin Raimondo said:

The American people are not "defeatists" on Iraq: they realize that we could, if we wanted, station a million-man Army in Iraq, change the rules of engagement to permit much more "collateral damage" (i.e., war crimes), and pour half the Treasury into Bill Kristol's grand scheme to remake the Middle East. But you know what? They don't think it's worth it.

Pruden also only gets hald of the point in this statement:

Americans are fed up with the Iraq war not because they think resisting jihad is wrong, but because they think the leaders at the top may not necessarily be serious about winning without apology.


This is another Diana West moment, where he not so subtlely suggests that we just start killing those darn ragheads everywhere we find them in Iraq. Well, yes, a lot of Americans probably would love it if the government decided to go the genocide route. But there are a lot of others who just don't see Iraq as being central to our fighting against jihad. Very few people are saying "we must allow the terrorists to grow and take over the world." Most people just don't see fighting in Iraq as being especially helpful to defeating jihadists.

The rest of the article includes some interesting points, including Democrats who actually do seem to fear good news from Iraq (obviously, if the war goes well, it will be bad politically for those who opposed it and good for those who supported it). However, he also seems to place inordinate trust in anyone who claimsthings are going well and seems to reject the possibility of any pro-war bias by General Petraeus or by the Brookings Institute (although mercifully he did not imply that the two were antiwarriors forced to change their mind by the situation on the gournd, as so many columnists have either cluelessly or dishonestly done).

I do grate, however, at his implication that anything other than a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve victory is disloyal, or that one cannot be patriotic and want to withdraw for prudent, if incorrect (in his opinion) reasons:

A loyal opposition could persuasively argue that the president erred in trying to do too much with too little, forgetting, as generals and presidents often do, that wars can't be fought on the cheap with airplanes and diplomats.

Also, let us remember that we have been hearing about how successful things were goiong in Iraq since the war started. Pardon me if some of us are skeptical now.

That is all.

Paul and New Hampshire

Could he win? What would happen?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat the The LewRockwell blog.

That is all.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ron Paul and Partial Birth Abortion

This is the statement Ron Paul made back in 2003 concerning his vote in favor of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.

I will try to analyze this in context with other statements he has made in a future post, but tonight it is Friday and I am too tired to do so. For now, let me say that, as far as I know, the only persons criticizing Paul's position on abortion who specifically referred to his votes on a federal ban are Wendy McElroy and one of her readers who brought the issue to her attention (I'll put up the links later). Most of the other libertarians have seemed to indicate that his opposition to Roe v. Wade was enough, making this article accurate for most cases.

(In any case, while this vote would not appear to be in keeping with Paul's general strict constructionism, I am not going to stop supporting him for occasional lapses of principle, of which there are not that many, in my opinion).

That is all.

Interesting Thoughts on Ron Paul

Here.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

TomDispatch on the Surge

The other side (as opposed to that of O'Hanlon and Pollak).

I also find the implications that the "good news" reports come from those who are looking at Potemkin villages to be interesting.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

That About Sums it Up

The American people are not "defeatists" on Iraq: they realize that we could, if we wanted, station a million-man Army in Iraq, change the rules of engagement to permit much more "collateral damage" (i.e., war crimes), and pour half the Treasury into Bill Kristol's grand scheme to remake the Middle East. But you know what? They don't think it's worth it.

-Justin Raimondo

That is all.

McCarthy is at it Again

Once again, Andrew C. McCarthy attacks the notion that the Constitution limits the President's powers. Indeed, only the opther branches of government can overstep their authority.

While he distracts people from the larger issue later in the article by talking about foreign-to-foreign communications (which I agree the President needs no warrant to intercept), in the first half of the article he makes clear that he believes that merely by invoking "national security," or a "foreign threat," the President has the unquestioned authority to spy on anyone at any time.

Why does anyone publish this clown?

That is all.

"Micromanaging the War"

If there is any aspect of this war that is a mess, it is the militarily stifling mess created by the micro-managing politicians who think they know something about warfighting and the classic principles of war
-W. Thomas Smith Jr.

This phrase apparently refers to doing anything other than bowing before the Great God Dubya and letting him do whatever he wants.

That is all.

Scott Adams, GO TO HELL

Or to Mexico, if you think that Mexicans are so much better than us.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to VDARE.

That is all.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

More on the Lies About O'Hanlon and Pollack

Here.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Brad at Wendy McElroy.com.

I still like 'em, even though I disagree vehemently on the immigration issue.

That is all.

Wendy McElroy on Ron Paul and Immigration

Listen, I like her, and I respect her decision to oppose Ron Paul, but on immigration she either doesn't think or is one of those "let justice be done, though the world be destroyed" types.

Read this:

Immigration is another issue. Perfect world is one where state welfare doesn't exist. But it does exist. So until one violation of rights is erased (welfare) Paul supports another violation of rights (immigration controls). A measure that is good is abandoned because it is not perfect.

Translation: allowing millions of people into our country who will use our welfare system, and who will eventually get citizenship status and then vote to expand the welfare system, is more libertarian than preventing these people to come until we can get the welfare system revoked. The idea that somehow we are to destory the welfare state while importing more people who will use it and support its expansion is stupid.

Those are the choices: restrict immigration or let the welfare state expand erxponentially.

Wendy has chosen to let the welfare state expand exponentially.

That is all.

Chuch Baldwin on Prophecy, Christianity, and America

Christians have a duty to stand up for what's right, not just for whoever's in power, says the pastor.
That is all.

Executive Privilege? It's a Lie.

Kevin R. C. Gutzman explains that this supposed Presidential power is not legitimate.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

War Lies

Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon were never antiwar, as Glenn Greenwald points out here and here. They were always on the side agitating to keep us in Iraq. So all of the talk about how they were "war critics" who were convinced in spite of themselves that Iraq was winnable because of how wonderful things were going duing their trip is so much B.S..

That is all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ron Paul and Abortion

One thing I'm not certain I understand are the libertarians who look at Paul's pro-life stance on abortion as a reason not to support his candidacy.

Yes, he probably would favor laws restricting abortion, but only at the state level, and that's not the level of office he is running for. Yes, he would want to appoint Supreme Court justics who would overturn Roe v. Wade, because he believes that abortion should not be an issue to be decided federally, but then again that was also the position of Harry Browne, the 2000 Libertarian Party nominee for the presidency. (The major difference is that Browne did not want state-level regulation of abortion either, but he didn't think it was within the federal government's legitimate power to restrict a state from doing so).

For those who did not support Browne in 2000, that would make sense, but for people who supported Browne in 2000 to use abortion as an argument against supporting Paul suggests at least that they need to articulate why they differentiate the candidates.

That is all.

Raimondo on Paul

Here, here, and here.

That is all.

...And The Biggest White Lie Is

Leftists will be happy with anything less than the total eradication of white people.

That is all.

Voter Fraud and the U.S. Attorney Firings

Two things come to mind when reading this piece by John Fund:

(1) If the Bush attorney firings were due to the attorneys not pursuing legitimate cases of voter fraud (as opposed to charges being dreamt up out of thin air and the attorneys pressured to pull a Nifong, as the Democrats have implied), then the Bush administration ought to come out and make its case more forcefully. If it were to go on the offensive rather than try to cover everything up and not answer quetions, it could turn this thing around.

(2) I can't help but notice that no voter fraud involving non-citizens voting was mentioned. This could mean that this was not a big issue, or that Bush did not pursue such cases, or that the Wall Street Open Borders Journal doesn't want to talk about it.

That is all.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

G.O.P. YouTube Debate - Who Will Come?

Reading the LewRockwell Blog and Sully, I came across some links about the upcoming G.O.P. Debate on September 17.

Apparently there is a good chance the Giuliani and Romeny won't participate. Only McCain and Paul have said definitely that they will.

Here are some articles on it:

GOP: YouTube too Scary for Us
Running Scared
Scared, Stampeding Elephants
More articles at PrezVid

That is all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Absolutely the Best Book Series About 23rd-Century Biocyborg Wizards There Is...

Has anyone who reads my blog read The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy by Jeanne Cavelos? (It's a Babylon 5 tie-in, by the way). It's apparently very difficult now for people to get their hands on the second book, but I got all the books and read them all when they first came out.

Anyone else know the series? Anyone else want to discuss it with me?

That is all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Diana West Wants Us to Commit Genocide

Looking at her account of her talks with Arlen Specter that is my conclusion.

She certainly nowhere indicates that it would be unacceptable, and appears to look at any concern for Iraqi civilian casualties as to be a sign of being "impotent." note that she never sets a number of civilian casualties that would be too high for her.

As Lawrence Auster points out, the course of action she is promoting would ultimately mean wiping out the entire Sunni population of Iraq (and probably a lot of Shiite and maybe some Kurdish areas). But I suppose Ms. West thinks it makes me a wimp to be squeamish about killing ragheads.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Productive Discussion with Mr. Carafano

At this post and its comments.

That is all.

LadyJade3 - Far More Impressive than Silly Crushes

I think that this simple video is far more interesting than the silly little song and dance routines by Obama and Hillary supporters.

Of course, if you must have music, try this - and it's far more compelling a video than some tart inserting herself digitally into his media appearances and cooing over him while making Lesbian jokes.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yes, Fatalities are Down in Iraq this Month

So far, 31 hostile and 12 non-hostile fatalities for July (for the entire coalition, not counting Iraqis) (or 57 hostile and 22 non-hostile fatalities for the month if we assume a steady fatality rate - actually, the numbers could be lower than that if the relatively low death rate of the past few days prevails).

This is down from the highs of the past three months, and if the predicted data is correct will be the lowest hostile death toll since July of last year.

On the other hand, July tends to be a lower fatality month compared to the ones surrounding it.

Nonetheless, this is good news, even though it is likely temporary.

That is all.
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