“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Western Civ 101

JR sends this link - Moral equivalence revived.

The money quote is, "Surely, we can talk about this." You'll need to RTWT to appreciate it. Go do that. ...

With that perspective, we are surely ready to talk about whether even considering sanctioning discrimination against taxi passengers who carry alcohol is moral relativism gone amok. We can discuss whether Target cashiers can co-opt their fellow employees to do the cashiers work because the cashiers won't touch bacon. We could even examine whether staging a disruptive pray-in to Allah in an American airport, and then praising Osama bin-Laden while boarding a flight, should be considered a bit over the top civilization-wise.

"Western" doesn't even enter into it.

Update: 7:30PM. Same point, different jurisdictions: Muslim Mau-mauing , Closeup of Aliville , It’s multiculturalism backsliding month! , Minnesota’s Multiculturalist Push

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Posting hiatus

I will be on the road much of the next 2 weeks, so posting will be intermittent at best.

Why Minnesota?

These Powerline updates on attempts by the Muslim American Society, aided and abetted byThe Minneapolis Star-Tribune, to institute sharia on the backs of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis is worth a read.

Sharia in Minnesota

It has not been a long time since these Islamist initiatives were kicked off, but it has certainly metastasized rapidly. Check the dates on TOC commentary:

Sunday, October 15, 2006
If I'm driving, you can't drink

Monday, October 16, 2006
Daniel Pipes update on MN Islamo-cabbies

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As American as Apple fatwa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Fly US Airways, it's safer

Saturday, December 02, 2006 (mainly about the grounded imams)
Minneapolis Airport plot moves forward

Sunday, December 03, 2006
A speculation confirmation and How the West will be lost

Sunday, December 10, 2006
Raging and Braying, Identity politics around the world

Monday, December 11, 2006
There's certainly smoke

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Fomentation in Minneapolis

Monday, January 08, 2007
Apropos of recent TOC posts

Saturday, January 20, 2007
Can't we all just get along?

Monday, January 22, 2007
Creeping Islamism

Sunday, February 25, 2007
Attack on the 21st Amendment

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Sharia vs. the Constitution?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Minneapolis. Muslims. Again.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
American Islamic Forum for Democracy - Cheers!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A slippery slope

(no pun intended)

Sam's "Gun Calendar Girl" picture (mentioned in March 24th's Day by Day cartoon) is a bit buried at Oleg Volk's site. Here's a direct link to Sam modelling some firearms, but you might also want to explore other parts of the Volk site.

Or, try this and click on the Human Details link.

The main point of this post, however, is occasioned by Chris Muir’s reference to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I was reminded of the problem Bloomberg’s gun-control escapades could present for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

TOC has already wondered about the former Mayor’s attitude toward the Second Amendment because of statements like these,

“You've got to regulate, consistent with the Second Amendment.” “…if you're talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it's appropriate [to have draconian restrictions on the Second Amendment]. You might have different laws other places, and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities making decisions. After all, we do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.”
To many, excluding honest New York residents concerned about personal safety, this paean to federalism will sound balanced and reasonable. In any case, Rudy is telling us that none of this East coast sophistry matters in fly-over country, right? Not exactly. Mayor Bloomberg is applying Giuliani’s definition of federalism in some, shall we say, creative ways. Bloomberg is, by his lights, pushing regulation “consistent with the Second Amendment.” He’s so good at this that he’s insisting those outside his nominal jurisdiction benefit, too.

Bloomberg's favor to us is demonstrating exactly where Giuliani’s slipshod patronizing of the Second Amendment leads; that is, what peril lurks in their definition of “a federal system of government.” Bloomberg illustrates what occurs when Giuliani’s principles are applied by through-and-through demagogues rather than simple statist wannabees. Bloomberg is suing Mom & Pop gun dealers in other states for creating a nuisance in New York City. Picking victims who can’t afford to defend themselves is always a good starting point for totalitarian ambition

Hizzoner has gone so far as to launch private sting operations - vigilante is an appropriate term - where civilian “investigators” have been sent to other states to make “straw purchases” of firearms. A “straw purchase” means you’re buying the gun for someone else, illegally. Completing such a purchase requires lying by definition. In this deceit, Bloomberg’s covert operators usurped the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and when BATF found out about it they were not well pleased.

Michael Battle, director of the executive office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice, warned the Bloomberg administration of “potential legal liabilities” for NYC if it continues, “without proper law enforcement authority,” to conduct sting operations that fall within the jurisdiction of federal agents. Bloomberg’s turpitude is further examined here: Bloom is off Bloomberg’s Vigilante Gun Shop Sting

It is unlikely that charges will be pressed against New York City’s Mayor, but here is a list of the laws that were probably (in the case of the first example, certainly) violated. Lying on question 12a, on BATF form 4473, about being the true purchaser of a firearm is a federal felony. It says so right on the form. Apart from the form’s explicit injunction, lying to the firearm dealer is a federal felony; using false identification or a false name is a federal felony; transferring a firearm in violation of the law is a federal felony; transporting an illegally obtained firearm over a state line is a federal felony; delivering that firearm to anyone is a federal felony; and participating in a conspiracy involving any of the above is a federal felony. See Federal Firearms Laws for more information than you want..

After having almost certainly committed all the above crimes, it should be noted that Bloomberg’s office turned over some tapes of their covert operations to BATF. From these tapes, BATF has determined that no crimes were committed by the firearm emporia. So, it would not seem as if we need new laws to mitigate New Yorker’s inconvenience, we just need to enforce the ones we have: Starting with Mayor Bloomberg’s office.

The BATF should certainly charge those who appear on tape committing obvious felonies. Even if no charges are brought against the Mayor, his being named as an "unindicted co-conspirator" would have an salutary effect on the defense of the civil suits he has initiated with illegally obtained evidence.

The problem for Rudy Giuliani is that Bloomberg is acting in complete accord with Giuliani’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Further, even if you agree with Bloomberg and Giuliani on guns, you have to wonder what happens if the arrogant billionaire decides to apply these principles to other areas. After all, isn’t it a nuisance for New York City residents to experience higher taxes because you eat inappropriate food or smoke? If you cause sea levels to rise by driving an SUV or use incandescent instead of fluorescent light bulbs, isn’t it a huge threat to NYC?

It seems to me that this entire effort to supplant the federal government could be better directed. New York City saw 3,000 people terminally inconvenienced not long ago, and if Mayor Bloomberg wants to “augment” federal authority maybe he could conduct privately funded, extra-federal sting operations against militant jihadist cells in New York, or even field a Special Ops team of private investigators in Waziristan. I’m sure these are felonious activities under federal law, but we already know that’s not a deterrent to gun criminals or the Mayor of New York.

Rudy Giuliani, for one, should have no problem with such an expansion of NYC’s “interventions.” It’s his legacy, and he’s standing by it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Runs of August

House Passes Military Funding Bill With 2008 Troop Pullout

Pelosi to Bush: "If we put 3.7 billion dollars of pork into a bill ostensibly intended to fund American troops who are in harm's way, we can actually persuade a bare majority of United States Congressional Representatives to vote to endanger those troops by giving the enemy a date certain - co-incidentally, just before the next election - when we will abandon the field. We double blue-dog dare you to veto it."

Save your ammo al-Qaeda, the House Democrats say it's over in August '08 no matter what happens in the meantime.

Even the Washington Post is disgusted:

...Altogether the House Democratic leadership has come up with more than $20 billion in new spending, much of it wasteful subsidies to agriculture or pork barrel projects aimed at individual members of Congress. At the tail of all of this logrolling and political bribery lies this stinger: Representatives who support the bill -- for whatever reason -- will be voting to require that all U.S. combat troops leave Iraq by August 2008, regardless of what happens during the next 17 months or whether U.S. commanders believe a pullout at that moment protects or endangers U.S. national security, not to mention the thousands of American trainers and Special Forces troops who would remain behind.

...The legislation pays more heed to a handful of peanut farmers than to the 24 million Iraqis who are living through a maelstrom initiated by the United States, the outcome of which could shape the future of the Middle East for decades.

...House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the endorsement of MoveOn.org but excludes the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates. It would heap money on unneedy dairy farmers while provoking a constitutional fight with the White House that could block the funding to equip troops in the field. Democrats who want to force a withdrawal should vote against war appropriations. They should not seek to use pork to buy a majority for an unconditional retreat that the majority does not support.
There were 14 Democrats who voted against the bill, Dennis Kucinich among them, apparently because the retreat requirement wasn't immediate. Welcome to MoveOn Nation.

A tally needs to be taken matching the pork with the voters, so that we will know exactly what it costs to suborn cavalier disregard for national security in a Congressman. In the case of spinach protection, we already know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hope for the French?

"It is hard to be loved by idiots..."

The far left French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has been acquitted on charges of insulting Muslims. A year ago, while certain Muslims were practicing uncivil disobedience over a few caricatures of Muhammed, Charlie Hebdo published it's own "defamation of the prophet"
(above) while re-publishing the famous Jyllands Posten cartoons. Charlie Hebdo's contribution was noted by TOC here. They were sued by The Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations. Charlie Hebdo won, in a French court.

H/T to ¡No PasarĂ¡n!, who have kindly republished the Jyllands Posten cartoons that sparked riots and murder in Muslim regions worldwide. Perhaps it will be calmer now that a French court says freedom of speech is OK?

Farm Support the Troops

If the Republicans are hopelessly fiscally irresponsible - and they are - the Democrats bring a whole new meaning to the phrase. Democrats think they won the last election because they oppose the war, and they appear to believe that their promises to be cost conscious if returned to power have succumbed to the influence of some form of Alzheimer's disease peculiar to "likely voters."

They've combined their delusion with their expectation of our dementia, to produce 3.7 billion dollars in pork-barrel spending attached to the war supplemental funding bill. Who knew there were emergencies in spinach farming and peanut storage requiring the immediate infusion of 99 million dollars in order to support the troops? You think maybe a lot of our soldiers in Iraq enlisted right off the spinach farm, and that there's a big contingent of National Guardsmen who work in peanut silos when they're not killing al-Qaeda? Where's the earmark for reducing the troops' carbon footprint through offsets from financing windfarms off Nantucket Sound?

It gets worse. The Club for Growth has the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Islamic Forum for Democracy - Cheers!

This is excellent, and probably somewhat dangerous for those involved. AIFD will be added to the blogroll.

Press Release: Not All Muslims Support CAIR Plan to Sue U.S. Airways on Behalf of Six Imams
March 13, 2007
AIFD Press Release


MARCH 13, 2007


Muslim organization believes that lawsuit filed by CAIR on behalf of local Phoenix imams is wrong for American Muslims and wrong for America.

[PHOENIX, AZ: March 13, 2007]: Wide media attention is being given today to the lawsuit filed by CAIR on behalf of six imams against U.S. Airways for their claims of discrimination against race and religion. Most of the imams are from local mosques here in Phoenix and were removed from a U.S. Airways flight on November 21, 2006 en route to Phoenix from Minneapolis.

AIFD would like the American public to be aware of our following positions representing an alternative voice from the American Muslim community.

1. We will not accept the victimization agenda of organizations like CAIR. Lawsuits like the one announced today exploit the climate of political correctness and at the end of the day are harmful to the Muslim minority in America. ...
Read it all at the link above.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Women's Rights at the UN

Last Friday, March 9, 2007 the UN wrapped up its annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Guess where they found a violation of women's rights? Among the hundreds of thousands of women who are dead, dying, mutilated, displaced or raped in Sudan? Among the million female migrant workers cowering in the basements of Saudi Arabian villas from the taskmasters who stole their passports the minute they got off the plane? Among the women stoned and hanged for "adultery" in Iran? The millions of women forcibly aborted in China? The thousands murdered or forced to commit suicide for the crime of "dishonoring" their fathers and brothers across the Arab and Muslim world?

If you guessed "none of the above," then you'll enjoy coming on down to the UN. ...
Visit the link to find out what the UN considers to be worthy of censure in terms of the oppression of women.

Don't bother visiting the National Organization for Women on the topic, however. They have no comment. NOW is too busy lobbying the UN about employment discrimination in the US: NOW Scores with U.N. Human Rights Report. I include this URL only as provenance for the quote. http://www.now.org/nnt/fall-2006/UN_report.html It is not hyperlinked since I'm not interested in sending any traffic to NOW. If you want to check it, copy and paste into your browser.

In late July [2006], the U.S. Mission to the United Nations promised to examine the concerns of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (U.N. HRC) on sex discrimination in the U.S. That commitment marked an important outcome for women in the United States and for the NOW Foundation, which presented detailed documentation of employment discrimination against women in the United States and lobbied the U.N. HRC for a report that would prompt U.S. response.

The approach of using the U.N. human rights treaty review process to advocate for women's human rights is a new avenue for advocacy for NOW Foundation. In this case, the U.N. HRC assessed U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an international treaty designed to protect individuals' human rights and to which the United States is a signatory. When paired with the Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, human rights advocates call the two conventions the "International Bill of Rights." Both documents offer a more fundamental and complete protection of women's human rights than exists in the U.S. Constitution and statutes.
I realize it's the National Organization for Women, but give me a break - this outdated canard is more important for women's human rights than death by stoning or genital mutilation?

Apparently, NOW isn't even aware of these issues. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman of power and immense courage, doesn't merit any mention on NOW's website.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Libertarian despair

Two Fallacies that Cause (Excessive) Libertarian Despair:

I. The All or Nothing Fallacy.


II. Overstating the Importance of Recent Events.

Worth a thought - and a read.

Eagles 3, Doves 1

I started a post about Saturday's Gathering of Eagles and then realized I would probably come upon a great summary during my reading today.

I was right. Check out
Gathering of Eagles (GOE) as an Indicator of Old Media Decline
Bottom line: GOErs outnumbered protesters at least three to one. Remember what you just read here and will read at the center-right blogs, because you probably won’t see this “turnout rout,” which as far as I can tell is unprecedented, reported in the Formerly Mainstream Media.
Read the whole thing.

And check out this live blogging of the TV coverage: Blogging Gathering of Eagles

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Recommended reading

Amy Ridenour has some thoughts on:
Health Care Waiting Lists and the Stockholm Syndrome

Insight into why some feel compelled to defend waiting lists for health care services.

There's a label that applies when people defend forces that harm them: The Stockholm Syndrome.

This reminds me of the time my husband wrote a paper demonstrating that the Canadian health care system was not less expensive, per capita, than the U.S. system. Many U.S. journalists and politicians had been claiming it was. David's analysis found that the figures being cited as Canada's total health care expenditures left out many health care expenditures that American figures included.

For instance, the Canadian figures commonly being cited left out private expenditures on health care (items such as prescriptions, dental care, ambulance services, eyeglasses, private hospital rooms, cosmetic surgical procedures, and more), while the U.S. figures included all public and private health care expenditures.

I mention this because, when David had an op-ed version of this paper published by the New York Times, he received a great deal of angry mail from Canadians. (This was before the popularization of the Internet, so these folks had gone to the inconvenience of writing ink-on-paper letters.)

As I recall, the Canadian letter-writers were especially angry because David mentioned Canada's long waiting lines for health care services. I would think people subject to waiting lines for health care would be angry because the lines exist, not because their neighbors noticed they exist.
Read the whole thing at the link above. Scroll down for a TOC post on a related anecdote: Waiting for Trudot.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Powerline has an update on fatwa doings in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis sharia update

In the latest installment of Sharia comes to Minneapolis, Star Tribune reporters Chris Serres and Matt McKinney go all out to convey the impression that ringing up pork products creates a bona fide religious conflict for Target's Twin Cities Muslim cashiers. Target, however, is responding in some way for the moment to customers who prefer cashiers willing to do their jobs:
Click the link to read the rest.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pino even Noirer?

The Feds and Professor Jihad

"...evidence that Pino has been engaged in pro-terrorist activity using KSU resources"?

H/T Democracy Project

Waiting for Trudot

I have a friend, spending his winter in Florida, whose back is giving him substantial grief. He sends this note regarding a close encounter, occasioned by his ailment, of the rude kind:
I was introduced to a Canadian at a cocktail party by a neighbor who thought we might have something in common, as the poor fellow also has a bad back.

Indeed he did. He said the pain was so bad he could not dress himself or drive a car; he went on to say he was going to have surgery. I asked where, and he named a huge city in his home Province. So I asked the obvious question - how long do you have to wait?

At this point he suddenly became rude and angry, telling me that he was waiting 11 months, but it was free, and he was sick and tired of "stupid Americans" who did not understand how good Canada's health system was. (That's not word for word, but very close). I was taken aback by his attitude, but recovered after a couple of seconds and told him that I found him ignorant, supercilious, and insipid. I then informed him that if he were twenty years younger, I would knock him on his ass and he could get his broken nose fixed for free sometime in 2009.
This prompted a chuckle and a few thoughts.

A) Canada's health care system works so well that the "stupid" Supreme Court of Canada has declared such "wait times" unconstitutional. Yell at them.

B) Rationing, which is exactly what this guy's 11 month wait is, produces skewed statistics from which he probably takes comfort. I'm sure he felt smugly superior when he read that Canadian coronary bypass operations are cheaper than those in the US for statistically identical outcomes. One question not addressed by that study, however, is; How many Canadians died while on a waiting list? Of a certainty, including them would change the "outcome" calculations. If you have to ration heart surgery, as does Canada, the sickest people will die before they ever get to the operating room. Darwinian socialism at work.

C) Apparently this Canadian considers his time, and specifically his time spent as an invalid in severe pain, to be without value. That's heroic of him. However, I don't want his socialist martyrdom to be the standard for my health care, or anybody else's. It should be noted that he does expect his fellow Canadians to gladly accept his judgments on this.

D) Apparently, he considers insurance paid for through exorbitant taxation to be "free." Why, then, does he not advocate that Canada provide "free" car insurance? Well, maybe he does. So...

E) Would he be happy if Canada did provide free car insurance, but for 5 months he had to drive a car on the 401 with an accident-damaged drive shaft his Government-of-Canada-employed physician mechanic tells him might fail catastrophically at any moment? If he is not happy with that scenario, why not? It would, after all, be "free" ... unless he felt compelled to rent a car from a private enterprise in the mean time.

F) Would he feel differently if he had prostate cancer and had to wait more than a month for critical radiation treatments?

... or died because he could not receive timely cardiac catheterization? (this link contains links to many other TOC posts on Canada's health care system)

... or had to fly 500 miles to give birth while having contractions every 4 minutes?

G) If he's tired of "stupid Americans" asking obvious questions, WTF is he doing in Florida where he is exposed to such mental anguish that he feels compelled to insult a stranger? I mean, Cuba is even warmer, is a popular Canadian vacation destination, and has a health care philosophy even more advanced than Canada's. I'll admit Cuba is less able to execute at present, but it's only a matter of time until Canada achieves the same level. It goes from 11 months to "never." Check the UK.

H) At least when he gets home he can commiserate with his countrymen who are waiting for knee replacement surgery. The wait has become so long for these operations that Canada's Government health-care Czars are considering a little privatization - Ontario mulls private knee operations
The Ontario government is reviewing a proposal that would pay a private hospital to perform 1,500 knee replacement operations -- a move that comes as the province struggles to reduce lengthy queues where some patients wait as long as one year for surgery.

...The Ontario government has been working feverishly to reduce some of the lengthier queues. Although progress has been made -- waits for knee replacement, for example, have dropped by 18.9 per cent or 83 days since August/September 2005 -- queues remain staggeringly long.

Specifically, 90 per cent of patients requiring knee replacements had them done in just under a year -- within 357 days -- according to Ontario figures for October and November of 2006.
Indeed, "stupid Americans" don't "get" Canadian health care. It's a good thing we don't - in either sense.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Minneapolis. Muslims. Again.

Ethanol and pork. If it wasn't for the details, you'd think it was Congressional legislation.

Some Muslim workers at Target refuse to handle pork

It's OK if you can't handle pork. But if you can't, don't take a job where it's a requirement for everyone else. They aren't getting paid to do your job.

If you're the empoyer start asking, "Is there any grocery item that you will have a problem touching?"

Warm-mongers rebuked

Global Warming Myths

Orson Scott Card on the Holy Grail of Anthropogenic Global Warming: The Hokey Stuck Hockey Stick graph.

This is why the acolytes don't bring this up much anymore.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Parsing the return of the "vast, right wing conspiracy"

Clinton: Vast right-wing conspiracy in New Hampshire

Translation: "I caught Bill with Monica again -- in Concord."

Getting it

Iraqi thugs are getting it, and while USA Today probably isn't - at least they're acknowledging it.

Coalition forces have detained about 700 members of the Mahdi Army, the largest Shiite militia in Baghdad, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Monday.

The militia, which is loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and has clashed with U.S. troops in the past, has mostly avoided a direct confrontation with American and Iraqi government forces, Gen. David Petraeus said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Some of the militia's top leaders have left the capital, and Iraqi government officials are negotiating with al-Sadr's political organization in an effort to disband the militia, Petraeus said.

The Washington Post is definitely getting it, and is giving it to the Democrats. RTWT.

The Pelosi Plan for Iraq
It makes perfect sense, if the goal is winning votes in the United States.
THE RESTRICTIONS on Iraq war funding drawn up by the House Democratic leadership are exquisitely tailored to bring together the party's leftist and centrist wings. For the Out of Iraq Caucus, which demands that Congress force a withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of this year, there is language that appears to deliver that mandate, albeit indirectly. For those who prefer a more moderate course, there is another withdrawal deadline, in August 2008. Either way, almost all American troops would be out of Iraq by the time the next election campaign begins in earnest. And there are plenty of enticements on the side: more money for wounded veterans, for children's health, for post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction.

The only constituency House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored in her plan for amending President Bush's supplemental war funding bill are the people of the country that U.S. troops are fighting to stabilize. The Democratic proposal doesn't attempt to answer the question of why August 2008 is the right moment for the Iraqi government to lose all support from U.S. combat units. It doesn't hint at what might happen if American forces were to leave at the end of this year -- a development that would be triggered by the Iraqi government's weakness. It doesn't explain how continued U.S. interests in Iraq, which holds the world's second-largest oil reserves and a substantial cadre of al-Qaeda militants, would be protected after 2008; in fact, it may prohibit U.S. forces from returning once they leave.

In short, the Democratic proposal to be taken up this week is an attempt to impose detailed management on a war without regard for the war itself. Will Iraq collapse into unrestrained civil conflict with "massive civilian casualties," as the U.S. intelligence community predicts in the event of a rapid withdrawal? Will al-Qaeda establish a powerful new base for launching attacks on the United States and its allies? Will there be a regional war that sucks in Iraqi neighbors such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey? The House legislation is indifferent: Whether or not any of those events happened, U.S. forces would be gone.
...and to itself. RTWT.

Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy. The conventional wisdom in December held that sending more troops was politically impossible after the antiwar tenor of the midterm elections. It was practically impossible because the extra troops didn't exist. Even if the troops did exist, they could not make a difference.

Four months later, the once insurmountable political opposition has been surmounted. The nonexistent troops are flowing into Iraq. And though it is still early and horrible acts of violence continue, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.

Your father's Democrat: He always got it. I provide an excerpt from a recent Leiberman speech to encourage you to RTWT.

...Our fate is now inextricably linked to Iraq's. And our divisions cannot be allowed to become so deep that we cannot find unity in the face of Islamist extremism. Suicide bombers who kill civilians to make a political statement should not be allowed to triumph—in New York or Tel Aviv or Samarra. We must stand strong and united against barbarism—and, with your help, we will.

I understand the anger about Iraq, but I am deeply troubled by how this anger, and the feelings of animosity that many people have for President Bush, have begun to affect the way we talk and think about what is happening in the world beyond Iraq and America's role in it.

There is something profoundly wrong when opposition to the war in Iraq seems to inspire greater passion than opposition to Islamist extremism.

There is something profoundly wrong when there is so much distrust of our intelligence community that some Americans doubt the plain and ominous facts about the threat to us posed by Iran.

And there is something profoundly wrong when, in the face of attacks by radical Islam, we think we can find safety and stability by pulling back, by talking to and accommodating our enemies, and abandoning our friends and allies.

Some of this wrong-headed thinking about the world is happening because we're in a political climate where, for many people, when George Bush says "yes," their reflex reaction is to say "no."

That is unacceptable.

It's time to step back and start thinking together about our national interest again, to say "yes" when we agree and "no" when we don't, and to find ways to disagree without dividing ourselves from one another.
H/T Powerline and Captain's Quarters

Monday, March 12, 2007

Common sense

From the same people who brought us the Schmidt-Rubin K31. Mine was made in 1947.

Liars re-writing history

...both named Clinton.

Michael Barone has much the same take as did TOC yesterday on the Sandy Berger and Scooter Libby crimes. He also points out the likelihood that Berger was acting at the behest of a former President who also got in trouble for lying. No, not Richard Nixon.

...Did Bill Clinton ask him [Berger] to destroy documents that would make him [Clinton] look bad in history? I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I ask that question. But this or something very much like it seems to be the only explanation that makes sense. The Berger case was prosecuted by career staff in the Department of Justice, with little publicity. In 2005 Berger was fined $50,000 -- not a ruinous sum for one of his earning capacity -- ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, and had his security clearance lifted for three years, which means he could come back in a new administration after the 2008 election. The attempt to write, or un-write, history -- if it was that -- evidently succeeded.
Meanwhile, Robert Novak points out some more revisionism by the other Clinton. The one who also lied about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary is also probably lying about her past again:

I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, too.

Update: 7:08PM. Don't know how I missed this Krauthammer column on Libby, but I did. You shouldn't. Fitzgerald's Folly

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dispensing with Justice

Bill Clinton lies under oath to Federal authorities about sex between consenting adults. He's impeached for this perjury, but not convicted.

Clinton advisor Sandy Berger steals and destroys top secret national security documents under subpoena by a Senate Committee, and then lies about the crime under oath to Federal authorities.

Cheny advisor Scooter Libby is convicted of lying under oath to Federal authorities about some conversations with third parties in regard to a crime that was never committed. And even if it had been committed, senior State Department official Richard Armitage has confessed to it.

So which one should face 25 years in prison, which one should have his law license suspended, and which one should be fined $10,000?

Fade to Martha Stewart covering Joan Baez' Blessed Are... "...what comes to one must come to us all isn't justice for all."

Sharia vs. the Constitution?

A preview of what First Amendment rights would look like if Sharia took precedence over the Constitution.
An appeal was filed on Feb 27, 2007 on behalf of Abdel Karim Suleiman, the first Egyptian blogger to be convicted of defaming Islam and the Egyptian president.

Tomorrow (March 12, 2007) will be his first appeal session. The venue is Alexandria, his home city, at Alexandria's courts of appeal. Karim was sentenced to four years in prison.
Read the whole thing. Egyptian Blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman Did Not Blow Himself Up in a Train Station

What AP left out

Last Friday, TOC noted an AP radio news report about a federal appeals court ruling striking down the District of Columbia's prohibition on firearm ownership. The story itself was a rambling non-sequitur about rising crime rates in the United States in 2005.

One must assume that the AP did see a connection between the headline and the story. Here's the connection: For the AP, observing the Second Amendment is, ipso facto, directly responsible for rising crime rates. That this assumption is debatable never occurred to them. The "science is settled."

In this particular case, however, gun crime appears to have risen in anticipation of the legal decision. Here's some of what AP would have mentioned, if it could recognize its own bias.

A federal appeals court yesterday struck down the District's 30-year-old gun ban, ruling that the right to bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not only to militias.

"The Second Amendment would be an inexplicable aberration if it were not read to protect individual rights as well," the 58-page ruling said.

..."The case has implications far beyond the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms," he [plaintiffs' attorney Alan Gura] said. "Had the city prevailed, no individual right would be secure from governmental claims that it is no longer practical or beneficial, or from arguments that 'the people' protected in the Bill of Rights are merely a euphemism for the government."

The District has some of the nation's strictest gun laws, prohibiting ownership of most guns that were not registered before 1977. Privately owned rifles and shotguns must be kept at home and stored unloaded, disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or a similar device.

But gun violence has continued to plague the city.

In 2005, firearms were used to commit 157 of the District's 196 homicides, or about 80 percent. That percentage has remained relatively consistent since 2001, when a five-year low of 78.4 percent of homicides were committed using guns.

FBI crime statistics for 2005 show 10,100 of the country's 14,860 homicide victims, or 68 percent, were killed by guns.

So far this year, violent crimes involving guns in the District are on the rise, while all other violent crimes are decreasing, according to police statistics.
So, national figures for gun related homicide show a lower rate of increase than Washington, D.C. and do not even reach D.C.'s starting point after the increase. Perhaps someone at the Associated Press should read professor John Lott's More Guns, Less Crime. If anything, more gun ownership by honest citizens seems worth a try in the District of Columbia. Results, folks, not intent. Thirty years of draconian gun-control legislation have not produced the desired, or predicted, outcome.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Democrats on board

A wonderful video roundup of pro-War Democrats at Sir Humphrey's.

No, it isn't a Lieberman soliloquy.

Hot dog!

A Dog Named Kyoto* has the full hour and a quarter of UK Channel 4's:

Allocate the time and go watch it.

* Origin here

Tuppence here, a death tax there

...pretty soon you're talking real money.

Governor Granholm is holding town meetings convince us that we need to raise taxes. She claims that:
Since taking office in 2003, Governor Granholm has cut nearly $3 billion in state spending to resolve more than $4 billion in budget shortfalls - more than any other governor in the state's history. To balance the fiscal year 2007 and 2008 budgets, the governor has closed an additional $2 billion funding gap. She once again balanced the budget using a responsible mix of spending cuts, tax restructuring, and government reform.
If you look at this (page 15 as numbered, page 23 as reported by Adobe) you'll see Adjusted Gross Appropriations for fiscal 2007-2008 vs. fiscal 2006-2007 are up by $928,000,000. The only year Adjusted Gross Appropriations declined since at least 1999 was fiscal 2003-2004, when it dropped by $200,000. Chart here.

We may have a budget shortfall, but it includes almost a billion dollars in increased appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year.

H/T The Lunchbucket Conservative

The Wall Street Journal had this to say:
High taxes lead businesses to flee the Wolverine State.
Comerica Inc. was founded in 1849 in Detroit and the Detroit Tigers play in Comerica Park, but this week the bank holding company announced it is moving its headquarters to Dallas--where, it said, the bigger growth opportunities are. Consider it one more vote of confidence in the state the national expansion forgot, and especially in Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's economic agenda.

Re-elected last year, Ms. Granholm recently rewarded the voters by announcing some $1 billion in new fees and tax increases. The plan would charge Michigan residents higher levies for almost every activity inside the state with a moving part. She would tax trucking, shopping, smoking, hunting, fishing, drinking beer and liquor, using a cell phone and, yes, even dying.

Her plan does complete the phase-out of the state's hated "single business tax," which the Tax Foundation has called one of the most anti-growth business taxes in the nation. She should have stopped right there. Instead the Governor wants to create a new corporate income tax as well as a new 2% excise tax on upwards of 100 business services. The net effect would be to raise Michigan's overall business tax burden. She'd also impose a 5% death tax on estates valued at more than $2 million--which is a sure way to encourage even more Michigan retirees to relocate to Florida.
Read it all at the Wall Street Journal link above.

H/T Republican Michigander

Meanwhile, our legislature is moving to retroactively eliminate protections for bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies, the kinds of businesses we're told are our future.

For alternatives to the Governor's plans see How To Replace the SBT With Nothing

Friday, March 09, 2007

Now I get it

Jon Swift explains how conservatives are coming to terms with Rudy Giuliani's statist tendencies. They're emphasizing the one day when a touch of totalitarianism was a good idea.

Here's the opening, but read the whole thing. ;)

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is now leading the pack of Republican presidential contenders and some conservatives are a little concerned, even though most conservatives are embracing him. Although everyone applauds his heroic conduct on September 11, 2001, some conservatives think he may be too liberal on many social issues and there are questions about his personal life and temperament. Isn't it unfair, though, to judge a man on how he behaved on 22,930 days of his life instead of the day he was at his best? Besides, Giuliani is not running on these other 22,930 days of his life, he's running on just this one day, and when Giuliani is President, every day will be 9/11.
The only problem I can see with this approach is that I'm sure we could apply something similar to John McCain for all the days he wasn't thinking about gutting the First Amendment, plus credit for his heroism as a POW.

These guys make Bush look good.

Gun ban banned?

A federal appeals court today ruled that the District of Columbia's prohibition on firearm ownership is unconstitutional. Maybe Guiliani's/Bloomberg's New York City is next?

Not if the MSM has anything to say about it. I heard an ABC radio story regarding this ruling on my way home tonight. The report was dominated - that is except for the introduction which was no longer than the first sentence of this post - by references to a double digit increase in the murder rate in major US cities. There was no discussion of whether gun related homicides increased, which one would think relevant. Probably, gun related homicides did increase. If so, did they increase at the same rate as other homicides? Did they increase by relatively more or less in Washington, D.C.? What are the rates in cities where concealed carry is legal compared to those where it is not?

ABC wasn't interested in any of this. They automatically drew the conclusion that ending a violation of the Second Amendment will lead to an increase in crime, so they combined two stories that could only be related by the facts they left out. However, as John Lott, Britain and Australia have shown us, gun related crime typically increases where guns are "banned."

Update: 9:13PM. AP is busy drinking their own KoolAid on the economic front today too. If the Business Reporters at AP Know What’s ‘Real,’ They Don’t Show It


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Environmental rent seeking

The Big Green Fuel Lie
By Daniel Howden
...The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil's unique savannah land.

Fabio Feldman, a leading Brazilian environmentalist and former member of Congress who helped to pass the law mandating a 23 per cent mix of ethanol to be added to all petroleum supplies in the country, believes that Brazil's trailblazing switch has had serious side effects.

"Some of the cane plantations are the size of European states, these vast monocultures have replaced important eco-systems," he said. "If you see the size of the plantations in the state of Sao Paolo they are oceans of sugar cane. In order to harvest you must burn the plantations which creates a serious air pollution problem in the city."

Despite its leading role in biofuels, Brazil remains the fourth largest producer of carbon emissions in the world due to deforestation. Dr Nastarti rejects any linkage between deforestation and ethanol and argues that cane production accounts for little more than 10 per cent of Brazil's farmland.
The Political Economy of Alternative Energy
By Arnold Kling
...The public policy goal of those who worry about carbon emissions is for people to consume less bad energy. Whether people consume more good energy is beside the point. Trying to get other people to consume more good energy so that you can consume more bad energy is feeble-minded.

A personal "carbon offset" can be thought of as a self-imposed tax on the use of bad energy, accompanied by a subsidy of something else. The self-imposed tax is only constructive to the extent that it discourages the person from consuming bad energy. The subsidy is only constructive to the extent that it reduces carbon emissions somewhere else. Subsidizing good energy by no means ensures a reduction in the use of bad energy.
Read all of both articles.

Giuliani questions

Rudy Giuliani says he would appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Roberts. After listening to this I cannot figure out why he would do that. Scalia and Roberts would not appear to agree with Rudy's interpretation of the Constitution. I know I don't.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

3 topics - related only via statist intent

1- TOC has previously commented on Ayaan Hirsi Ali here and here. Today we look at a Christopher Hitchens piece on this heroine.

She's No Fundamentalist
What people get wrong about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

"The enlightenment driven away … " This very strong and bitter line came back to me when I saw the hostile, sneaky reviews that have been dogging the success of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's best seller Infidel, which describes the escape of a young Somali woman from sexual chattelhood to a new life in Holland and then (after the slaying of her friend Theo van Gogh) to a fresh exile in the United States. Two of our leading intellectual commentators, Timothy Garton Ash (in the New York Review of Books) and Ian Buruma, described Hirsi Ali, or those who defend her, as "Enlightenment fundamentalist[s]." In Sunday's New York Times Book Review, Buruma made a further borrowing from the language of tyranny and intolerance and described her view as an "absolutist" one.
I like to think of myself as an "enlightenment fundamentalist," it seems synonymous with "classical liberal." And who would be the other side of this debate, "Dark Ages relativists?"

2- Powerline's Paul Mirengoff gives us a short course in, and a great link about, the Employee Free Choice Act; an Orwellian demonstration of why Democrat Party is a more appropriate appellation than Democratic Party.

This bill outlaws the secret ballots now required for forming a labor union. Maybe it's just me, but I've always considered a secret ballot as fundamental requirement for a democracy. If public ballots are OK for forming a union, why doesn't it work for general elections? We could count the hanging chads as people dropped their ballots off, and "correct" them immediately.

...passed by the House as the Dems gift to its union supporters

A union will be certified as the bargaining representative of employees upon its presentation to the National Labor Relations Board of cards by a majority of employees in the bargaining unit. In other words, no election. So instead of making the decision about whether to be represented by a union in private and in secret, employees can be subjected to all manner of coercion.
3- Biofuel. Ecologically friendly?

How far can you drive on a bushel of corn? As the race to board the alternative-fuel bandwagon heats up, Popular Mechanics discovers the truth about bio fuels in a special report.

ADM is a buy. The Rainforest is a sell. We aren't going to drop the tariff, because Bush isn't a free trader and ADM has too much lobby power - even though it would mean a significant increase in ethanol use in the US.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Still skeptical after all these years

Nice roundup of some skepticism on Climate Change at BizzyBog.

"Climate Change" is what the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming have taken to calling their concerns, since we've had global cooling for the past 5 years and since some of their computer models call for glaciers to cover New York. You wouldn't expect that from a Global "Warming" theory, you see. It also
accommodates the Global Cooling theories of the 1970's. Bigger tent.

Ellsworth Toohey is alive and well and living in Seattle

Maureen Martin, writing at TCS Daily, notes that

Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos [sic].

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of "Rethinking Schools" magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

...Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes."
What kind of parent sends their child to such a school? Ann Pelo, a teacher at Hilltop and co-author of the Lego
re-education manifesto, gives us this portrait of Hilltop parents in a 2005 article:

Hilltop is located in an affluent Seattle neighborhood, and, with only a few exceptions, the staff and families are mainly white. They are also, for the most part, politically and socially liberal and highly educated. While many of the teachers live paycheck to paycheck, as most childcare workers do, the families at Hilltop are from upper-income brackets.
The article goes on to reveal much more than you want to know about how Hilltop is run. It appears to be more an experiment in statist psychological development than an educational venture. I can't recommend the entire article, except as illustration of a mindset. It is aptly titled Playing with Gender, though just whose sexual identity is being toyed with is somewhat muddled:

I asked teachers to read and talk about each observation "not as teachers trying to understand the children's points of view, but as who you are: a lesbian, or a person from a working-class background, or a Filipina, or a European American, or a woman."
Heteronormatively speaking there is not a great deal to work with there, but the pursuit of such insights does not come cheaply. Hilltop charges $900 to $1200 per month to turn a capitalist ankle-biter into a proletarian intellectual-eunuch. This rate is substantially higher than that charged in the re-education camps of Mao or Stalin, but you do get to skip the slave-labor bits.

There's only indoctrination-space for about 50 cribto-communists, but that still adds up to around 600,000 units of filthy capitalist lucre per annum. The school also promotes 20 minute long videotapes that sell for $60. Presumably, you can learn to distinguish a LEGO® from a Lenin Log in that time. (Lenin Logs, in turn, are distinguished from Lincoln Logs in three ways - 1) Lenin Logs only come in one length, 2) where the notches are cut is random, and 3) you have to stand in line an hour for each one you receive free of charge.)

Donations to the Hilltop 501-3(c) are encouraged. Probably, this helps parents cope with the guilt of having more money and better houses than the teachers, at least until everybody lives in the same public housing complex. Be careful what you advocate for.

If we could get a mailing list, I would fund a copy of The Fountainhead for each Hilltop family on the condition they read it to their children. Howard Roark would have known what to do with the LEGOs.

And now a word from a Hilltop sponsor.

History shows that the formation of a new culture which centers around a ruling class demands considerable time and reaches completion only at the period preceding the political decadence of that class...

The problem of a proletariat which has conquered power consists, first of all, in taking into its own hands the apparatus of culture – the industries, schools, publications, press, theatres, etc. – which did not serve it before, and thus to open up the path of culture for itself...

The proletariat cannot postpone socialist reconstruction until the time when its new scientists, many of whom are still running about in short trousers, will test and clean all the instruments and all the channels of knowledge

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Global Temperature Change Solved

A super-hero in the Climate Wars has emerged, and I don't mean AlGore.

"skullberg's" solution is quoted here.

Iowahawk has the advertising campaign ready to roll.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Hubris, I'd call it

Must read article from the March issue of Reason magazine. I offer excerpts, but you should RTWT here:

Be Afraid of President McCain
The frightening mind of an authoritarian maverick
...McCain’s singular goal in public life is to restore citizens’ faith in their government, to give us the same object of belief—national greatness—that helped save his life after he gave up hope as a POW in Vietnam.

...Any young McCain worth his salt could convert a grudge into motivational sustenance and torment his tormentors with defiant lip. So after being shot out of the sky during a risky raid over Hanoi in 1967, then pummeled by a mob of local Vietnamese and detained at the notorious prison nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton, McCain comported himself heroically despite two broken arms, a mangled knee, and innards wracked by dysentery and other maladies. Every morning for two years a guard the prisoners called The Prick would demand that McCain bow to him. Every morning McCain would refuse, then brace for his beating. ... “Resisting, being uncooperative and a general pain in the ass,” he wrote, “proved, as it had in the past, to be a morale booster for me.”

...Starting off as a Reagan conservative, McCain soon got caught up in the 1989 “Keating Five” scandal, in which he and four other senators were raked over the coals for pressuring regulators to go easy on the savings and loan magnate (and generous campaign donor) Charles Keating. Because the scandal called his honor and integrity into question, he counted it as an even worse experience than Vietnam. After enduring the scandal and his wife’s messy addiction to pills, McCain locked in on a lifelong political goal: to give all Americans the same opportunity to transform their lives that he had, by focusing their belief on the Land of the Free.

...“Our greatness,” he writes in Worth the Fighting For, “depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions, institutions that should transcend all sectarian, regional, and commercial conflicts to fortify the public’s allegiance to the national community.”

So it was that McCain fought in 1994 to abolish a minor congressional privilege—use of the parking lot closest to the main terminal at National Airport. He readily acknowledged this was “merely a symbol” of corruption, not an actual abuse of power. “I meant only to recognize that people mistook such things for self-aggrandizement,” he explained in Worth the Fighting For. “Every appearance that inadvertently exacerbates their distrust is a far more serious injury than it would be had we made other, more serious attempts to rekindle Americans’ pride in their government.”

So many ways for Americans to lose their pride in government, so little time for reform! Everything from the trivial to the sublime became a “transcendent issue” requiring urgent federal attention.
I think that "pride" is the right word, but I still think it's McCain's pride that's at issue. Things that injure John McCain's pride become national issues. If McCain "cannot take pride in the highest public institutions," then you aren't allowed to either. The most egregious example is his inability to take pride in the First Amendment, but Matt Welch covers the others in his recommended article.

All things Pino

The definitive source for information about Kent State professor Julio Cesar Pino, AKA Assad Jibril Pino. Julio Pino teaching Jihad at Kent State

Soccer Mom: Unplugged also has some interesting Pino quotes and links.

H/T Gates of Vienna