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.
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