Unapologetically bourgeois. Proudly intolerant of idiocy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nonviolence and hypocrisy in Burma

<a href='http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/marlowe/20071001.html'>On Angelfire</a>

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Pressure Weasel takes on Burma

<a href='http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/marlowe/pressureweasel.html'>On Angelfire</a>

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Are all "antiwar" types racist?

Or is it just this bunch?

Warning: anti-Semitism, holocaust denial and paranoid conspiracy theories abound on the above site. That's why they call it Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)
What We Need - a prescription for our times

Where I Stand - Proverbs and axioms for the real world

the Marlowe Dictionary

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mental health professionals - "Liberalism" as a mental disorder

(Hey, odanny started it!)

Bush Derangement Sydrome is bad for you


NEW YORK, NY - When Zacharia Goodman recently sought out the help of a therapist, it was no mystery as to what was ailing him. The 27-year-old copy editor was so consumed by his belief that President George W. Bush stole the 2004 election that he was having trouble sleeping, completing rudimentary tasks at work, and carrying on conversations about topics not related to politics.

The therapist he consulted wrote Goodman a prescription for the social anxiety drug Paxil and encouraged him to spend less time reading left-wing Web logs and listening to Air America.

This particular story has a happy ending; Goodman admits that he's already far less irritating to be around than he was just a few weeks ago. But countless paranoids just like him may be going untreated, say mental health professionals. The reason: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM presently excludes political paranoia from its 933 pages of symptoms, diagnoses and treatment recommendations.

Now a group of Republican lawmakers is hoping that they can do something about the problem. Early this summer, Senator Bill Frist, the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928, plans to file a bill that would define "political paranoia" as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive.

I say:

Well, this explains all those 9-11 conspiracy theories and antisemitic rants. Yep, they're freaking nuts.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)
What We Need - a prescription for our times

Where I Stand - Proverbs and axioms for the real world

the Marlowe Dictionary

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Venezuela poised to hack our elections?

Something for the conspiracy theory buffs out there. Yeah, it's the New York Times, but they're not *always* wrong. Besides, the Miami Herald got there first.


The federal government is investigating the takeover last year of a leading American manufacturer of electronic voting systems by a small software company that has been linked to the leftist Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez.

The inquiry is focusing on the Venezuelan owners of the software company, the Smartmatic Corporation, and is trying to determine whether the government in Caracas has any control or influence over the firm's operations, government officials and others familiar with the investigation said...

Smartmatic was a little-known firm with no experience in voting technology before it was chosen by the Venezuelan authorities to replace the country's elections machinery ahead of a contentious referendum that confirmed Mr. Chavez as president in August 2004...

But the role of the young Venezuelan engineers who founded Smartmatic has become less visible in public documents as the company has been restructured into an elaborate web of offshore companies and foreign trusts.

'The government should know who owns our voting machines; that is a national security concern,' said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, who asked the Bush administration in May to review the Sequoia takeover.

'There seems to have been an obvious effort to obscure the ownership of the company,' Ms. Maloney said of Smartmatic in a telephone interview yesterday. 'The Cfius process, if it is moving forward, can determine that.'

...The concerns about possible ties between the owners of Smartmatic and the Chavez government have been well known to United States foreign-policy officials since before the 2004 recall election in which Mr. Chavez, a strong ally of President Fidel Castro of Cuba, won by an official margin of nearly 20 percent.

Opposition leaders asserted that the balloting had been rigged. But a statistical analysis of the distribution of the vote by American experts in electronic voting security showed that the result did not fit the pattern of irregularities that the opposition had claimed.

At the same time, the official audit of the vote by the Venezuelan election authorities was badly flawed, one of the American experts said. 'They did it all wrong,' one of the authors of the study, Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, said in an interview...

'No foreign government or entity, including Venezuela, has ever held any stake in Smartmatic,' Mr. Stoller said. 'Smartmatic has always been a privately held company, and despite that, we've been fully transparent about the ownership of the corporation.'

Mr. Stoller emphasized that Bizta was a separate company and said the shares the Venezuelan government received in it were 'the guarantee for a loan.'

Mr. Stoller also described concerns about the security of Sequoia's electronic systems as unfounded, given their certification by federal and state election agencies.

But after a municipal primary election in Chicago in March, Sequoia voting machines were blamed for a series of delays and irregularities. Smartmatic's new president, Jack A. Blaine, acknowledged in a public hearing that Smartmatic workers had been flown up from Venezuela to help with the vote.

Some problems with the election were later blamed on a software component, which transmits the voting results to a central computer, that was developed in Venezuela.

I say:

I'm sure it's nothing.

And now, from conspiracy theory to bad horror flick: the dead are voting in New York


A new statewide database of registered voters contains as many as 77,000 dead people on its rolls, and as many as 2,600 of them have cast votes from the grave, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal computer-assisted analysis.

The Journal's analysis of New York's 3-month-old database is the first to determine the potential for errors and fraud in voting. It matched names, dates of birth and ZIP codes in the state's database of 11.7 million voter registration records against the same information in the Social Security Administration's "Death Master File." That database has 77 million records of deaths dating back to 1937...

Tales of votes being cast from the grave are part of election lore. Last year, at least two dead voters were counted in a Tennessee state Senate race that was decided by fewer than 20 votes. As a result of that and other irregularities, seven poll workers were fired, an entire precinct was dissolved and the election results were voided by the state Senate, forcing the removal of the presumed winner. Three elections workers were indicted for faking the votes.

In 1997, a judge declared a Miami mayoral election invalid because of widespread fraud, including dead voters.

And in one of the more notorious examples, inspectors estimated that as many as 1 in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during the 1982 Illinois gubernatorial election were fraudulent for various reasons, including votes by the dead.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Is small really beautiful?

I recently jumped into the discussion on the forvm (just how do you pronounce that, anyway?) on what sort of system there should be for selecting articles. In the course of that, Aurelius made a comment that he wants a system based on honor and trust, and therefore wants the site to stay small.

I didn't pick up on that at first, because the idea is so alien to my thinking. The problem with trust and honor is they don't scale well. He knows this, but instead of giving up on the idea, it seems he'd rather put the whole site on a bed of Procrustes just to keep the honor system.

I must disagree strongly with his priorities.

First off, keeping the site small defeats the the network effect. The bigger and more active a network is, the better it functions. The Internet is an ocean, of information, opinion, and, er, dross. A small, contained site would be more like a stagnant pond. Instead of a fruitful intellectual exchange, we'd have groupthink, clubbiness, tired old inside jokes. Some people like that. I have no idea why.

(Concerned about spammers and other time wasters? I think I have a solution to that which doesn't involve throttling the baby.)

In nature, as on the Internet, if something isn't growing, it's dying. Why? Think it over. Dying means a negative rate of growth. Neither growing nor dying means a zero rate of growth. Now the positive and negative take up nearly all of the range of real numbers, but zero is a mere dimensionless point. What are the odds of a rate of growth hitting zero by chance? Infinitesimal.

And as Kierkegaard has observed, the old tacitus.org site was slowly dying. That's the alternative to growth. Is that what we want?

Now, if you want to go about it deliberately, you might just come up with a scheme that artificially holds the site to a certain narrow size range. You have to go out of your way to make it happen, and even then it might not work. I can think of ways to try to do this, but I won't share them, because I don't think we should even want a small site.

Small is not beautiful. Small is just small. The network effect is what's beautiful.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NYT begins to come clean on SWIFT falsehoods

Still a lot of explaining to do


Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone's private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of 'the most substantial argument against running the story,' but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.

The source of the data, as my column noted, was the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift. That Belgium-based consortium said it had honored administrative subpoenas from the American government because it has a subsidiary in this country.

I haven't found any evidence in the intervening months that the surveillance program was illegal under United States laws. Although data-protection authorities in Europe have complained that the formerly secret program violated their rules on privacy, there have been no Times reports of legal action being taken. Data-protection rules are often stricter in Europe than in America, and have been a frequent source of friction.

Also, there still haven't been any abuses of private data linked to the program, which apparently has continued to function. That, plus the legality issue, has left me wondering what harm actually was avoided when The Times and two other newspapers disclosed the program. The lack of appropriate oversight - to catch any abuses in the absence of media attention - was a key reason I originally supported publication. I think, however, that I gave it too much weight.

In addition, I became embarrassed by the how-secret-is-it issue, although that isn't a cause of my altered conclusion. My original support for the article rested heavily on the fact that so many people already knew about the program that serious terrorists also must have been aware of it. But critical, and clever, readers were quick to point to a contradiction: the Times article and headline had both emphasized that a 'secret' program was being exposed. (If one sentence down in the article had acknowledged that a number of people were probably aware of the program, both the newsroom and I would have been better able to address that wave of criticism.)

What kept me from seeing these matters more clearly earlier in what admittedly was a close call? I fear I allowed the vicious criticism of The Times by the Bush administration to trigger my instinctive affinity for the underdog and enduring faith in a free press - two traits that I warned readers about in my first column.

I say:

No, Mr. Calame, it wasn't Bush's fault. It was yours. And it was *not* a close call. Everyone directly involved in this is exposed to treason charges. You all knew what you were doing, and you just didn't care.

This is far too little, and too late.

Affinity for the underdog, you say? What underdog is that? Just who was harmed by this program? Just who was helped by you defeating its purpose?

I'd suggest you grow up, and start taking responsibility for your own actions, but it's way too late for that. Instead, I suggest you leave for a country that has no extradition treaty.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sandy Berger redux

This is the dox-in-sox guy from a year or so ago. He got off with a slap in the wrist. Well, now it's October surpise season, with everybody exposing everybody. So he's fair game again.


A group of House Republicans called Wednesday for a congressional investigation into the improper handling of classified documents by President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger.

Berger admitted last year that he deliberately took classified documents out of the National Archives in 2003 and destroyed some of them at his office. He pleaded guilty in federal court to one charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material and was fined $50,000.

Ten lawmakers led by House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter, R- Calif., and Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., released a letter calling for the House Government Reform Committee to investigate.

They asked the committee to determine whether any documents were missing from Clinton administration terrorism records, to review security measures for classified documents and to seek testimony from Berger.

Hunter's spokesman, Joe Kasper, said the Justice Department had asked Congress to hold off on any oversight until the legal case concluded.

I say:

Is this politically motivated? Of course it is. Just like his original crime was. Just like his lenient sentence may have been. Just like... anything you see in the political section of the news is. Got a problem with that?

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Harry Reid's shady land deal

What's going on here?


WASHINGTON -- Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is awaiting word from the Senate ethics committee on whether he failed to properly account for a business deal that allowed him to collect a $1.1 million windfall on land he hadn't personally owned for three years.

Reid sought the opinion after The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the senator didn't disclose to Congress that he first sold the land to a friend's company back in 2001 and took an ownership stake in the company. He didn't collect the seven-figure payout until the company sold the land again in 2004 to others.

Reid reported the 2004 transaction as a personal sale, never disclosing his earlier sale or the stake in the company.

The Nevada Democrat's deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. Brown has never been charged with wrongdoing, except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court...

The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown's company without public knowledge, but still collect the payoff nearly three years later.

Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The latest on voter fraud in Missouri

A development you may or may not have been following


At least 16 local democrats have been sentenced for election violations since 2004...

The ACORN Group, the same group that was telling Missourians to vote for Claire McCaskill while registering them to vote, is now in trouble for turning in 1,492 fraudulent voter cards of dead people and teens.

And here's the AP covering the story. In October surprise season no less!


Four ACORN workers were fired over a September 2003 incident after the St. Louis board pointed out more than 1,000 questionable new voter registration forms collected by ACORN.

ACORN registered more than a million U.S. voters in 2004, when it also had to defend itself against fraud allegations. That year, unreadable cards, duplicate registrations and other invalid or potentially fraudulent registrations turned up in Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The case against amnesty for illegal aliens

In a phrase: respect for the law.

If we don't respect our own laws, neither will anyone else. Weakness invites attack. Lack of self respect is a weakness. The attack it invites is exploitation.

Right now Mexico is exploiting us. They can't or won't fix their own dysfunctional society. They won't reform their own not-quite-democracy. Why not? Because it's easier to export their discontent to the US. That's what Aztlan is really all about.

What's to be done? A wall may help a bit, but it will never be enough. I adamantly oppose a wall if it's used as a substitute for addressing the real issues here.

An amnesty in any form is simply a capitulation. No amnesty. Congress and the President are trying to slip an amnesty past us. Bush is a lame duck, but we can vote out any bastard in the House or Senate that votes for an amnesty.

Follow the money. The illegals are coming in because employers are inviting them in, and smugglers are smuggling them in. Put these people in jail. All of them. That's much simpler than putting the aliens in jail, and I think much more effective. Why is hardly anyone emphasizing this angle? Are we this easily distracted?

The mass demonstrations are organized by a Communist front, out to undermine our democracy by any means possible. Jean Francois Revel would have had a lot to say about this. As long as they stay within the law, we can't stop them without violating our own laws. But we can sure as hell get the word out. And we can follow them closely - on grounds of reasonable suspicion - to catch them when they cross the line. And... oh, didn't they encourage truancy a while back?

And by the way, let's encourage legal immigration, and immigration by those fleeing political oppression. Why turn back the Cuban boat people? If they're suspect, can't we set up some sort of processing center for them to check them out? We turn back people who want to be Americans and offer amnesty to those who see America as something to be used. That's backwards. America should be for Americans - and for those who want to become Americans. ("We are America?" No, you're not. You're Mexica, and you're the sad remnants of a toppled empire. Now get lost.)

And no more "bilingual education." Let's declare English the official language of this country. Multiple languages are divisive. A minority language is a virtual ghetto. A common language is what we need to communicate with other and function as a society. The only bilingual education we allow should be English lessons. Plus civics.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)
... tacitus.org

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

International ANSWER behind illegal immigrant protests

They're back!


The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition provided logistical support and mobilized for today's demonstration in Los Angeles. Thousands of A.N.S.W.E.R.'s yellow and black placards reading "Amnist?a, Full Rights for All Immigrants" were held throughout the march. A.N.S.W.E.R. also organized a major contingent in the march.

The rally was co-chaired by Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director of Latino Movement USA, a member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. LA Steering Committee; Javier Rodriguez, a noted immigrant rights activist; and Jesse D?az, a UC-Riverside professor who helped initiate the march. Speakers included Raul Murillo and Gloria Saucedo of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional; Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers; Korean and Haitian community leaders; and Gloria La Riva and Preston Wood of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

And just who are International ANSWER?


Both UFPJ and ANSWER have been criticized by some activists as top-down and insufficiently democratic. But concerns are growing over ANSWER's links to a doctrinaire organization called the Workers World Party (WWP), which has a history of seeking to dominate coalitions and many embarrassing ultra-hardline positions.

Steve Ault, a gay activist in New York City since 1970, served as UFPJ's logistics coordinator for the historic pre-war mobilization on Feb. 15, 2003; last summer's Republican National Convention protests; and the May 1 march for nuclear disarmament this past spring. He charges that ANSWER is a front group for the WWP. Speaking as an individual-not on behalf of UFPJ-he decries what he sees as an imbalance between the two major antiwar formations: 'One small sectarian group has equal power with a genuine coalition. We aren't going to be able to have a real movement until they are called out on the carpet for it.'

For 20 years, Ault says he has witnessed WWP use 'stacking meetings and undemocratic tactics' to control left coalitions. 'When Workers World forms a so-called coalition, it's not a coalition at all; it's a vehicle to attempt to amplify their power and control. It's not a genuine coalition like UFPJ which has no controlling faction-it UFPJ] has communists, Greens, pacifists, anarchists.'

History of Dissension International ANSWER formed after 9-11 around the core of the International Action Center (IAC), itself formed by Workers World. ANSWER's most visible spokespersons have almost invariably been longtime IAC/WWP adherents.

I say:

If the Cold War is over, why are these people still fighting it?

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Illegal Mexicans do what now?

Well, I'm in a particularly intolerant mood lately, and here's why.


"We construct your schools. We cook your food," rapper Jorge Ruiz said after performing at a Dallas rally that drew 1,500. "We are the motor of this nation, but people don't see us.

I say:

We *do* see you. And I really wouldn't bring all that up if I were you.


Many protesters said lawmakers were unfairly targeting immigrants who provide a major labor pool for America's economy.
I say:

I told you not to bring that up.


"They are picking on the weakest link in society, which has built this country."

"When did you ever see a Mexican blow up the World Trade Center? Who do you think built the World Trade Center?" said David Gonzalez, 22, who marched in Los Angeles with a sign that read, "I'm in my homeland.'"

I say:

Say *what* now?

I've never been one to gush all Rousseau-esque over primitive cultures, but I do believe in giving credit where it's due. The World Trade Center was built by these guys.


Walking High Steel delves into the 120-year history of a small community of Mohawk Indian ironworkers, renowned for their ability to work high steel. They helped shape the Manhattan skyline, contributing to the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and the World Trade Center. Six generations of Mohawks framed the nation's skyscrapers and bridges, "booming out" to cities across the U.S. - to California to build the Golden Gate Bridge; to Chicago to build the Sears Tower.

I say:

If Mexicans are such great builders, why has the world's tallest building never been in Mexico City?

Mr. Gonzalez, if you're not a citizen, if you have no interest in becoming a citizen, and you don't even respect our laws, then this is *not* your homeland. You are, to put it bluntly, an invader.

Now, I'm not against invaders necessarily. Sometimes countries need to be invaded to help slap them into shape. But even if the U.S. needed an invasion right now, Mexicans are not the ones to do it. They simply don't rate. Let them fix their own messed up country first, then maybe they can impose their will upon others.

The illegal Mexicans are invaders, and not the good kind. They're not here to fix the country. They're here to export their own domestic problems. We don't need their frickin' problems. We've got enough of our own.

Oh, and the 9/11 terrorists *were* illegal aliens. Shall we discriminate on the basis of race, or shall we just crack down on all illegals?

These massive demonstrations are intimidation tactics, pure and simple. The question is: will we be intimidated?

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

McCarthysim and censorship in Minnesota

If you can't rebut, try silencing your opponent


This past Thursday Melendez called a press conference and condemned the first of the two advertisements -- the one featuring the veterans -- as "un-American, untruthful and a lie."

The two advertisements can be viewed here. The first of the two ads is devoted to the Iraq war veterans; the second to the Gold Star Families, featuring Merrilee Carlson of St. Paul. Mrs. Carlson's son Michael was killed in Iraq last year; the Wall Street Journal published Michael's "credo" this past Memorial Day.

In Minnesota the mask has fallen from the Democratic Party. It has condemned the message of Lt. Col. Bob Stephenson and the other veterans supporting the mission in Iraq as "un-American." Yet it has gone beyond its outrageous condemnation of the ads. It has actually sought to suppress the message of the featured war veterans and Gold Star Families, emailing Party members and urging them to contact television stations demanding "the removal of the ads."

What do Democrats elsewhere think of their Party's campaign condemning the servicemen and Gold Star Families in the ads as "un-American"? Does Brian Melendez speak for them?

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman has now devoted two hysterical columns to condemnations of the advertisements. Coleman's first column made a basic error of fact as a result of its reliance on a far-left Web site and cited the testimony of a Kerry delegate to the 2004 Democratic convention as a "nonpartisan" source. (John fisked the column here.)

Coleman's second column fastened on "the Delores Kesterson issue" -- attacking the Gold Star Families ad for presenting the stepmother of Erik Kesterson in lieu of his mother. For this bizarre point Coleman relied without attribution on his friend "Hesiod"at Daily Kos. Coleman overlooked fellow St. Paulite Merilee Carlson -- the genuine biological mother of Michael Carlson -- in this rant.

Lt. Col. Stephenson is the co-chair of Minnesota Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. Col. Stephenson is featured in the first of the two advertisements in issue. On Saturday John interviewed Col. Stephenson on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. You can listen to the interview here.

The Democratic Party has officially pronounced that Col. Stephenson and his ads are "un-American." That such a thing could happen is almost beyond belief -- a Marine officer with more than ten years of active duty labeled "un-American" for supporting America's foreign policy -- but it is nevertheless true. And attention must be paid.

I say:

Un-American, you say?

A long, long time ago, McCarthyism was the province of the Right. A long, long, loooooong time ago.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Letting the UAE run our ports?

Okay, we've all seen the scare quotes. Many of us have hyperventilated and spun conspiracy theories over Bush's determination to let an Arab-owned company run our ports, or something. Some of us have seen the overly protesting pooh-pooh treatment in an editorial on the Financial Times. So what's this all about? Is it a big deal?

Well, the Bush administration thinks it's a big deal, because Dubya is sticking to his guns. Republican politicians think it's a big deal, because they're distancing themselves from him. Democrat politicians think it's a big deal, because they're stooping to the worst race-baiting hypocrisy in order to attack this. But how big a deal is it, really?

A fairly big one, actually. But not for any of the reasons most people are screaming.

First, here's a dose of facts from Squiggler to help calm down those who are capable of calm. He links to Indymedia, of all places.


The critical point is that Dubai Ports World won't be running the port of Baltimore, or any other U.S. port for that matter. What it would be doing, as ex-Rep. Helen Delich Bentley (R-MD), a respected expert on Maritime matters, explained in a Feb. 18th letter, to the "Baltimore Sun," is hiring the longshoremen to load and unload the cargo from the vessels. The Maryland Port Authority, an agency of the state, she underscored, would continue to "run the port of Baltimore's public terminals and be the spokesman for the port in general." Bentley added that this transaction only means that the "UAE's Dubai Ports World will be the firm bidding competitively for contracts to handle cargo coming off or loading on to ships in the six ports where P&O Ports has contracts. Baltimore is one of those ports." (2)

It is also important to emphasize that the vast majority of the cargo handling in the six U.S. ports mentioned above is done by union labor, who are locally based workers. They are card carrying members of the International Longshorman's Association (AFL-CIO), which is headquartered in New York City. This is the same union, (Local 829 ILA), that this writer belonged to, in Baltimore, back in the late 1950s. The idea that the longshoremen will somehow not be able to do the same kind of highly professional stevedoring work for Dubai, which they did for the P&O company, and other stevedoring companies before them, just doesn't fly. For the ILA member, it will be just another day's work on the docks, irrespective of who's doing the hiring.

I say:

Okay, I feel better now. But not all the way better. I've still got serious misgivings.

One big red flag is Jimmy Carter is coming out in favor of this. Jimmy Carter. Possibly the worst President this country has ever had. He's not just stupid. Even stupid people are right on occasion, by sheer accident. But Jimmy Carter is *never* right. It's as if he sits down to figure just what stance on a given question would do the worst damage to the free world and to the United States, and that's the position he takes. Yes, I'm questioning his patriotism. Would you prefer I question his sanity?

Another detail that bugs me is hardly anyone is asking the big question. What big question? This big question: should foreigners - any foreigners - be in charge of our ports in the first place? National security is one thing you just don't outsource. Not even to the Brits. And the Arabs are way more foreign than the Brits.

Don't talk to me about globalization. I think it's a big mistake to globalize before the world has been made safe for democracy. First, let's have some international rule of law that actually means something. Then we can globalize all we like. Right now the world is a bad neighborhood. Always has been, of course. But only recently have we deluded ourselves otherwise.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the Cold War being over is over. It's not 1992 anymore. We need to face facts.

Our ports should be policed and run by American companies, and should be required by law to hire only American citizens, subject to a background check. I don't trust the unions to look out for us. Unions are weak, and when they're not weak, the Mafia are running them. We need a law.

OH, and by the way... the WMD story is heating up again.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/23//politics.american.html#20060222

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The State of the Parties

I watched the President's State of the Union speech. It was a speech that had to be seen to be fully appreciated. It wasn't just Bush talking. It was the interaction from the audience. Particularly the left half. Bush was tactically brilliant. He grabbed everything that had been thrown at him - the wiretap controversy, Social Security, spending, the energy crunch, Abramoff - and threw it right back, and most of it stuck. His enemies keep making the same two mistakes: they see him as vulnerable where he isn't, and they fail to see their own vulnerabilities on the exact same issues. It's as if they're projecting their own failings on to him.

Along the way, Bush blew the cover of the "loyal opposition" by spelling out the difference between constructive criticism and defeatism. And that audience reaction to the Social Security reform line is something they're never going to live down.

The speech wasn't perfect. It was awfully weak on domestic issues. For example, he didn't lob the energy issue back as hard as I would have liked. He should have dwelt on ANWR, in addition to all those technological solutions that won't pay off quick enough. But on foreign policy he reminded us all of what needed to be remembered - that we are in a war of civilizations, and nothing less than the future of freedom is at stake.

How about the Democratic response, by the eyebrow guy? It was pretty good, actually. I'd even say it was perfect. That is to say, it had no flaws, measured by the standard of the sort of speech it was. But Bush was better. Way better, despite his flaws. How can this be? It's simple. Bush's speech was an entirely different type of speech. A better type.

If you want to know exactly where Bush's speech was lacking, review the Democrat response to it. Kaine didn't miss a single opportunity. And he avoided all the usual pitfalls. He didn't attack the GWOT directly. he just nibbled on the corners - pensions and body armor. He attacked all the weak points, avoided all the strong points, and came out as well as could be hoped for. Kaine understands the rudiments of tactics.

But Bush won this contest. By the time he was halfway through it was already a foregone conclusion. The historians will ratify this judgment. Nothing Kaine could have said would have changed this.

Why? Two reasons: strategy and advanced tactics. Bush thinks strategically, exactly as a Commander in Chief of the leading democracy ought to. He has a vision, and he can articulate it, and he did. Democracy for the entire globe. What about tactics? Well, the way he turned all the criticisms back against his critics shows a mastery of tactics, beyond the beginner level.

His opposite number understands beginner tactics well enough. As for advanced tactics or strategy, he had no options there. His party has squandered all its best options with mindless carping on the war. It's not Kaine's fault. Well, actually it is. He picked a real loser of a party there.

(Speaking of strategy... I'm reminded of the first Presidential debate of 2004, when Bush was very much off his game. That fool Kerry chose a revealing analogy for the Iraq intervention: he said it was if in response to Pearl Harbor we had invaded... where was it? Somewhere other than North Africa, where we did in fact invade, and then went on to win the war Kerry showed vast ignorance both of history and of strategy in that remark. Bush could have hit that out of the park if he'd been more with it. Oh, well.)

What did the Democrat response have to offer against all this? Talk of management. Delivering government services efficiently. Good management. Effective management. Management, management, management. Now that's fine for the state and local levels. There pretty much everything is about management and delivering services. But the State of the Union is about the national level, and not just of any nation. Of the global superpower.

"There's a better way." A better way to do what? This, that and the other thing. But not the one important thing. Not a better way to make the world safe for democracy. Mr. Eyebrow didn't have anything to offer there. He was hoping we wouldn't notice.

What the Democrats don't seem to understand is that management isn't everything. At this level, you need leadership. Clinton didn't lead, he only managed. His foreign policy - such as it was - was what got us into this current mess. He tried to manage the terror problem, instead of solving it. That's the fly-swatting mentality. It's a poor substitute for vision and leadership.

To one whose only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The Democrats understand logistics (maybe) and so they think everything is a logistical problem. Bush knows better. And the voters sense, if perhaps imperfectly, that Bush is right. This country needs a leader, not a Pointy Haired Boss.

Actually, I'm being generous there, in search of a war metaphor. What the Democrats understand isn't logistics in the military sense. They understand the idea of moving goods and information in an organization. The smarter ones actually understand how to do it, on a certain scale. But everything's more complicated when there are lunatics trying to kill you. Somehow I don't think Kaine would do a much better job than the U.S. military.

Bush makes many little mistakes. Mistakes that his political opponents jump on like starving pit bulls, and then don't know what to do with. Bush makes many little mistakes, but those who oppose him make one huge mistake: they refuse to acknowledge that we are fighting for the future of our civilization, and that we deserve to win. Even if they knew how to exploit Bush's little mistakes, this one vast blunder of theirs outweighs all of his goofs combined. It absolutely destroys the Democrats' credibility. And this is why Bush can't be bothered to learn how to pronounce "nuclear." He knows it doesn't really matter.

(It could have been worse. Cindy Sheehan managed to get herself arrested for disorderly conduct before she could get on the cameras. That would have been something to see. She got arrested on purpose, of course. She just misjudged the timing, and so lost her camera opp. Anyway, we got to watch Hillary's face. And we also got to see a few foreign dignitaries squirm.)

I blame the Left. The extremist Left have hijacked this party, and are running it into the ground in a vain hope of riding to power on its coattails. This is *not* a win-win scenario. Both the parasite and its host are sick, and are slowly dying. Such is the fate of useful idiots, and of those who try to use them beyond their usefulness.

Democrats and Leftists, ask not at whom the smirking chimp smirks. He smirks at thee.

And what about the Republicans after Bush? Can they come up with another visionary to continue the fight for freedom? Well, at least they know that's what's needed. I'm sure they'll find someone. The Democrats are too stupid even to look for one. They still think the Presidency is just some sort of an upper management position.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

A stable Freenet Web gateway at last?

It looks like someone has gone beyond repeating the errors of others and taken a novel approach to making a gateway from the Web to Freenet. This one actually seems to be holding up at the moment:


For the record, and for comparison, here are others I've tried:






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Saturday, December 03, 2005

For those who believe in polls

Winning the war at home


December 2, 2005--Confidence in the War on Terror is up sharply compared to a month ago. Forty-eight percent (48%) Americans now believe the U.S. and its Allies are winning. That's up nine points from 39% a month ago and represents the highest level of confidence measured in 2005.

Just 28% now believe the terrorists are winning, down six points from 34% a month ago. The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday night following the President's speech outlining his strategy in Iraq.

Huge partisan divisions on questions dealing with Iraq remain. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans believe the U.S. and its allies are winning. That's up from 64% a month ago.

Just 28% of Democrats believe the U.S. is winning while 45% of Nancy Pelosi's party believe the terrorists are winning. Even that is a more optimistic assessment than last month when just 19% of Democrats said the U.S. was winning.

Among those those not affiliated with either major party, 40% now say the U.S. and its allies are winning. Thirty percent (30%) take the opposite view. A month ago, unaffiliateds were evenly divided.

I say:

Bush keeps quiet, the numbers go down. Bush speaks out, the numbers go up. Perception is not reality, but perception is *a* reality, that needs to be managed. The truth has got its boots on once again.

What the opinion polls measure is something shallow, emotional, ephemeral. It's the froth of the zeitgeist, not its soul. The proof? How easily it can be swung back and forth, by talking heads and pictures on the boob tube.

So who speaks to the American soul? Not the mainstream media. Those blow-dried bimbos haven't even got souls. Nor the Democrat party. Same reason. The Republican party? A little bit, but not as much as they think. Talk radio? Somewhat. Talk radio is mostly about callers. It's about listening to the American soul and letting it have its say, and then responding. In short, dialogue. This is what Al Franken could never quite understand. But who really connects with America at a deep level? I say it's the bloggers. They're less centralized, more democratic. Also, blogs do a better job of reporting and investigative journalism (or at least fact checking) than do the mainstream news outlets. This is the future, folks.

As far as the reality in Iraq goes, I'll have a post shortly on what Joe Lieberman has to say, about what he saw in Iraq. But for now, there's all this.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

The other George W. Bush

Well, I saw that speech, and I didn't much like it. Oh, it was very well delivered, but the content was less than I had come to expect from this man. Lots of people liked it, for the wrong reasons. But it was a mediocre speech, lacking good ideas, and implying bad ideas.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. New Orleans is a bad idea. It should never have been built below sea level. That was stupid. Some have suggested rebuilding on higher ground. I say fine, if they can find a suitable site, but what are the odds? A more promising approach is to fill in that hole and then build atop the fill.

But Bush didn't suggest either of these things. He called for new, stronger levees. That's not a real solution. Here we have a golden opporunity for a do-over. We can fix this horrible design. But Bush is already squandering the chance.

I think what's going on here is there are two of him.

I wasn't impressed with Dubya in 2000. I didn't even vote for him then. Then there came that stupid No Child Left Behind nonsense together with the senator from Chappaquiddick. But after 9/11 hit, we saw a differnet Bush. We saw a leader, a risk taker, a problem solver, not a mere manager or politician.

Some people didn't like that. 9/11 was a wake-up call to the nation, that we needed to get rid of terrorism entirely. Some of us woke up, and some of us put pillows over their heads and tried to sleep. I woke up. George W. Bush woke up. In the end, the world will be better for it.

But Dubya the politician never went away. He resurfaced the other night. He tried to pass himself off as President Bush, the leader, by using the same courgeous phreaseology. But I wasn't fooled. I've been around too long to be distracted by style. The substance was pure politics. No vision at all, no imagination, and an opportunity to lead squandered, for the sake of some opinion poll points.

Here's hoping this Dubya goes back underground soon. The world does not need another politician. What the world neads is leaders.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans - The un-missing National Guard

I may have to do a whole section on the lies surrounding Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans. But for now, I'll just draw attention to what redstate.org has pieced together


As of August 31 there were 3,748 Louisiana Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists and 193 Air Guardsmen and Reservists on active duty throughout the world. The lion?s share of them, about 3,500, are with the 256th Infantry Brigade in Iraq. This leaves some 8,000 Guardsmen and an unknown number of Army Reservists available for disaster relief. The skill sets in those units, with the exception of the single combat engineer battalion, have no particular utility in disaster relief. So the argument that the absence of the 450 men of the 1088th Engineer Battalion were somehow critical to response to this disaster, or that the 3,500 troops missing could not be more than adequately replaced by other troops from neighboring states is just not true...

So did the equipment the 256th Infantry Brigade take with it to Iraq, equipment provide some unique immediate response capability that could have mitigated the damage from Katrina?

Arguably someone could make the case that the M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley, and M109 Paladin howitzers belonging to the infantry, armor, and artillery battalions could have been filled with QUIKRETE and pushed into the break in the levee. Absent this scenario, it seems ridiculous on its face to object to the deployment of this equipment to Iraq.

The brigade?s engineer battalion, the 1088th Engineer Battalion, is in Iraq with its parent unit. It is a combat engineer battalion. Combat engineer battalions don't have a lot of heavy equipment. Each of the three lettered companies would have six M-9 Armored Combat Earthmovers (ACE). The ACE is much more useful for combat than disaster relief. The idea that 18 armored bulldozers would have been of critical assistance, unless they were dumped in the levee break on top of the tanks and personnel carriers in nothing short of ludicrous.

On the other hand, the unit left behind, the 225th Engineer Group, (Combat), and its four organic Engineer Battalions (Combat)(Heavy), is well suited for disaster relief...

And here's some more from James Robbins


The New York Times has called the military response 'a costly game of catch up.' Catching up compared to what, one wonders. National Guard units were mobilized immediately; 7,500 troops from four states were on the ground within 24 hours of Katrina - a commendable response given the disruptions to the transportation infrastructure. The DOD response is well ahead of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew timetable. Back then, the support request took nine days to crawl through the bureaucracy. The reaction this time was less than three days officially, and DOD had been pre-staging assets in anticipation of the aid request from the moment Katrina hit.

I say:

By the way, think there should have been more buses sooner? Me, too. Let's take that up with the mayor of New Orleans.

Well, at least some people show some initiative.

Dare we hope that when they rebuild that city they'll do it right and use landfill? Not lilkely. This is a the Big Easy after all.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Where not to build a major city

Don't blame Mother nature. Much of New Orleans was below sea level.


The city of New Orleans, which is at or below sea-level in many areas, is sandwiched between levees from Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Mississippi River to its south creating the 'bowl' effect so often described.

And here's an interesting factioid


Ironically, all the pumps, canals, and levees that work so hard to keep New Orleans above water are actually causing the city to sink at a rate of three feet per century. Some scientists predict that by the year 2100, the "City That Care Forgot" will be under water.

I say:

Building below sea level is just plain stupid. You say you need room to expand your city? Boston ran into the same thing in the 19th century. The Bostonians had the good sense (this was before the Irish took over) to dump some landfill into the Back Bay before building on it.

Oh, and blame global warming? Not so fast. This was a manmade disaster, but not by that vector.

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Is Cindy Sheehan petering out already?

When this is all over, I might do a timeline on this sad but silly episode. I've lost siblings to violence, and I'm happy to say that my mother handled it much better than Casey Sheehan's did. But then, she could hardly miss. If Casey had been my brother - making Cindy my mother - I'd have bitch slapped her. On TV, if possible. Her own family has begged her to stop and left it at that, but that's carrying restraint too far.

But for now, let's note that the hard Left is already discarding her. I guess they've got all the mileage they can from her. There is no loyalty on the Left. Never has been, but the useful idiots are less useful these days.

The Washington Times has the story. But I wish they wouldn't call these people "liberal." That's an insult to true liberals. What they are is elitist scum who think they're born to be the vanguard of the proletariat or something. (Also, characterizing them as "powerful" may be giving these fossilized yippies too much credit.)


Powerful liberal advocacy groups such as MoveOn.org are taking a less active role in Cindy Sheehan's anti-war activities in the wake of criticism that they may have muddied her message.

The groups, which played a major role in Mrs. Sheehan's monthlong vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, are scaling back their involvement as Mrs. Sheehan prepares to leave Texas today on a bus tour to Washington.

Critics had said it appeared that Mrs. Sheehan had morphed from a mother grieving the loss of her son in Iraq into a pawn of liberal advocacy groups.

"The vigil started as a very grass-roots thing and then grew because groups like MoveOn were drawn to what Cindy was doing and wanted to offer their support," said Wade Fletcher of Mintwood Media Collective, a Washington-based public-relations group advising the Sheehan demonstrators.

"Now we're kind of bringing it back to the original grass roots," he added.
For example, the protesters will no longer receive strategic and political advice from Fenton Communications, a large, left-wing public-relations firm. That role reverts to Mintwood, a small operation that helped Mrs. Sheehan early on.

Also taking a lesser role will be MoveOn.org, which spent August running anti-Bush TV and newspaper ads featuring Mrs. Sheehan. The group, which posted images on its Web site likening the president to Adolf Hitler, once pledged to raise $2 million to keep Sheehan ads on the air.

I say:

These alleged grass roots never amounted to much, as the counter protests make clear. Cindy Sheehan does not speak for other families of troops. She certainly doesn't speak for Casey Sheehan. As for those she *does* speak for, well, they're discarding her like a used tissue.

Of course, she could simply speak for herself, but that would require her to have a mind of her own...

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Eminent domain and its abuse - a timeline

1215, England - the Magna Carta establishes the principle of rule of law in England. Many of its provisions restrict the crown's liberty to seize the lands of freeholders. It does not, however, categorically prohibit seizure of private estates by the government.

1625, Holland - Hugo Grotius coins the term "dominium eminens" (eminent domain) to describe the powers of a government to seize land held in fee simple.

1789, United States - the Bill of Rights includes the following language:

...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

("Public use" at the time being understood to mean roads, bridges and the like.)

1954 - In Berman v. Parker, the United States Supreme Court rules that:

"The District of Columbia Redevelopment Act of 1945 is constitutional, as applied to the taking of appellants' building and land (used solely for commercial purposes) under the power of eminent domain, pursuant to a comprehensive plan prepared by an administrative agency for the redevelopment of a large area of the District of Columbia so as to eliminate and prevent slum and substandard housing conditions - even though such property may later be sold or leased to other private interests subject to conditions designed to accomplish these purposes."

Thus, "public use" is expanded to include urban renewal of blighted neighborhoods, and sale to private interests. This is inspired by the concept of central planning of the economy by the government, a socialist idea thoroughly discredited by history, but still invoked by those who find it convenient.

1980, New Hampshire - Bill Merrill and John Gadd suceesessfully fight the city of Manchester to prevent their homes from being seized for an industrial park. The city claims the properties are "blighted" because of too many trees.

1980, Michigan - General Motors, with the help of Detroit and Hamtramck officials, seizes the neighborhood of Poletown to build an auto plant. The Catholic church agrees to sell two buildings, but a local Reverend leads residents in opposition.

1981, Michigan - the state Supreme Court approves the destruction of Poletown. This case has been widely used as a precedent for other eminent domain seizures on behalf of private companies.

2000, Connecticutt - the New London City Council solicits the New London Development Corporation to redevlop the Fort Trumbull beighborhood, delegating eminent domain power to the NLDC. The rationale: a business use of this land will bring in more tax revenue than than homeowners will. It is generally agreed that the property is *not* blighted. The city's law director rules a petition for a referendum on Fort Trumbull demolition is invalid. There is some reason to believe that corrupt governor John Rowland and Pfizer corporation were involved in the deal.

here we see the final disconnect. More tax revenue benefits whom? Is this a public benefit, let alone a public use? No, it simply benefits the government, its bureaucrats, its corprorate cronies, and its patronage recipients. If anyone else benefits - and that's very unlikely, given the flawed theory behind a planned economy - that's incidental. If private homeowners and small business owners lose all they have worked for - that's not the government's concern.

2002, Riviera Beach - 1700 homes, along with many small businesses, comdemned to make way for Harbor Village project, land is sold to commercial investors for "commercial yachting, shipping and tourism companies." The rationale is that the businesses will in bring in greater tax revenue than the owners.

2002, Illinois - Southwestern Illinois Redevelopment Authority is thwarted by the state Supreme Court in its effort to seize land from National City Environmental to create a parking lot.

2004, Connecticutt - the state Suprem Court affimrs NDLC's right to take the fort Trumbull homes.

2004, Michigan - The Poletown decision is overturned by the state Supreme Courtin County of Wayne v. Hathcock,.


"Poletown gave cities and developers an incentive to make outrageous, wildly inflated predictions of the impact of the project," explained Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. "It was the worst possible incentive. The Poletown project itself also didn't come close to living up to the promises. In all likelihood, it destroyed more jobs than it created."

2005, United States - in Kelo v New London, the Supreme Court approves the Fort Trumbull seizure. Shortly thereafter:


Hours after the Kelo decision, officials in Freeport, Texas began legal filings to seize waterfront businesses to make way for an $8 million private boat marina.

Two days after the Kelo decision, Boston City Council President Michael Flaherty called on the mayor of Boston to seize waterfront property from unwilling sellers for a private development project.

The city of Arnold, Mo. proposes razing 30 homes and 15 small businesses for a large home improvement store and a strip mall for which the developer is to receive $21 million in tax-increment financing.

...and many more.

" - Condemning land so you can give it to someone who will pay more taxes on it is NOT a public use.
- Forcing families to leave their homes to build beach side resorts is NOT public use.
- A shiny new Wal-Mart, while used by the public, is NOT a public use.
- A new parking lot for a racetrack is NOT a public use."

- Phil Mappe

Extracts from the Supreme Court dissenting opinion:


The record contains scant evidence to suggest that the predicted public benefit will be realized with any reasonable certainty. To the contrary, . . . at the time of the takings, there was no signed agreement to develop the properties, the economic climate was poor and [contained nothing] that would ensure achievement of the intended public benefit if development were to occur.

A close examination of the proposed plan from a financial standpoint also suggests that there were only limited prospects of a public benefit at the time of the taking. . . . there apparently was no consideration of the loss in revenue that could result from the relocation of former residents and taxpayers out of the area during the ten, twenty or even thirty years that might be needed to fully implement the development plan. . . .

The record, therefore, fails to establish that there was any momentum in the project from a development standpoint or any reasonable development prospects for parcels 3 and 4A at the time of the takings.

. . . all of the evidence suggests that the real estate market is depressed and the development plan itself contains no detailed provisions to ensure that the future use will serve the public interest.

. . . the evidence is not clear and convincing that the property taken actually will be used for a public purpose

. . . it is entirely unknown whether the public interest will be served. There are no assurances of a public use in the development plan; there was no signed development agreement at the time of the takings; and all of the evidence suggests that the economic climate will not support the project so that the public benefits can be realized

. . . fails to protect adequately the rights of private property owners.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Where politicians stand on Kelo

Senator Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced bill S.1313 to limit eminent domain abuse.

The House has voted to deny federal funds to any city abuseing eminent domain in the Kelo fashion.


The House measure, which passed 231 to 189, would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to force people to sell their property to make way for a profit-making project such as a hotel or mall. Historically, eminent domain has been used mainly for public purposes such as highways or airports.

The measure, an amendment to an appropriations bill, would apply to funds administered by the departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said they will push for a more inclusive measure that would apply to all federal funds...

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) introduced a similar measure and immediately drew a Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), as well as Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who is number three in his party's leadership. The House bill is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.). Its Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Peter A. DeFazio (Ore.).

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the measure. "When you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court, you are in fact nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court," she told reporters. "This is in violation of the respect of separation of powers in our Constitution."

Full transcript
of Pelosi's bizarre remarks


Two questions: What was your reaction to the Supreme Court decision on this topic, and what do you think about legislation to, in the minds of opponents at least, remedy or changing it?

Ms. Pelosi. As a Member of Congress, and actually all of us and anyone who holds a public office in our country, we take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Very central to that in that Constitution is the separation of powers. I believe that whatever you think about a particular decision of the Supreme Court, and I certainly have been in disagreement with them on many occasions, it is not appropriate for the Congress to say we're going to withhold funds for the Court because we don't like a decision.

Q Not on the Court, withhold funds from the eminent domain purchases that wouldn't involve public use. I apologize if I framed the question poorly. It wouldn't be withholding federal funds from the Court, but withhold Federal funds from eminent domain type purchases that are not just involved in public good.

Ms. Pelosi. Again, without focusing on the actual decision, just to say that when you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court you are, in fact, nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court. This is in violation of the respect for separation of church -- powers in our Constitution, church and state as well. Sometimes the Republicans have a problem with that as well. But forgive my digression.

So the answer to your question is, I would oppose any legislation that says we would withhold funds for the enforcement of any decision of the Supreme Court no matter how opposed I am to that decision. And I'm not saying that I'm opposed to this decision, I'm just saying in general.

Q Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?

Ms. Pelosi. It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It's an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi. The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.

I say:

Property is property, theft is theft, the Supreme Court is *not* God, the Nancy Pelosi *is* a stupid, stupid bitch.

Concerned citizens, check out the Castle Coalition

The League of Private Property Voters's rankings of politicians' voting records

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Democrats and their Dean problem

Joe Biden backs away


Asked about recent comments where Dean trashed Republicans as "evil" and said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay belongs in jail, Biden told ABC's "This Week": "He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats."

Asked if he thought Democrats needed to "rein [Dean] in," Biden said, "I don't presume to suggest that I could rein in any chairman. But I think that the response from the bulk of the elected Democrats - I don't imagine would be much different."

"I hope [Dean] listens," added the Delaware Democrat.

John Edwards (remember him?) positions himself elsewhere


Edwards also disagreed with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's controversial comment in a speech to liberal activists Thursday that many Republicans "have never made an honest living in their lives."

"The chairman of the DNC is not the spokesman for the party," Edwards said. "He's a voice. I don't agree with it."

I say:

It's a sad sight when a defeated party eats its own. Everyone's looking for someone to blame. Someone other than himself. That's no way to rise from the ashes. You've got to live and learn, not deny and die. Yes, Dean's seriously f***ed up, and he always has been. So what's he doing in that position? What systematic failure put him there? That's the real question here, and nobody seems to be asking it.

Kerry was a terrible choice for a candidate, and it's the fault of the Democrat voters for not seeing that from the beginning. Was it that they couldn't see, or that they just didn't want to see? Dean was a terrible choice as well, and at least the voters saw that early on. But then the DNC went and appointed him the party's chairman. What on earth were they thinking?

Here's a clue: the common rationale for Dean as party chairman is his fundrasing abilities. This dovetails with a lot of other talk coming from the Democrats and from the Left (not the same thing, but it's getting ever harder to spearate them) They talk of politics as marketing, and of marketing as advertising. They think they lost on 2004 because they didn't "get the message out enough." Well, the message got out plenty. The problem was it met with massive sales resistance. A bigger ad budget isn't going to fix this. When you lose votes with your message, you can't make it up on volume.

And now they're all worshipping Hillary as their savior du jour. Good luck with that. She knows how to triangulate, but American sales resistance is up so high it's probably too late for that to make a difference. Plus, she's a Clinton. "Bill Clinton without the party in his pants" said one pundit. That's a bad thing, by the way. Red America is sick of phonies, and all these people can think to do is to pick a more convincing phony.

It seems the only way the Democrat party can catch a break is if the Republicans hand it to them. Witness that business with the judicial appointments. By the way, the appeasers will be remembered when the Republican party undergoes its mitosis and becomes the new two party system.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

All that needs to be said about Terri Schiavo

Unconscious? Vegetative? And yet she blinks furiously. The case of Kate Adamson leaves no excuses intact.


Kate Adamson has written a book about her experiences. Kate's Journey: Triumph Over Adversity, details her journey back from the isolation caused by her stroke and the resulting catastrophic brain injury. You can find more information about Kate Adamson's work, links to her writing, and to articles written about her at her web site: KatesJourney.com . Her book can be ordered through the web site as well.

When asked about Terri Schiavo, Kate answered, "I believe because of my chance for recovery, the right environment and love, I was able to thrive. Terri deserves that opportunity. This is a woman who has had no opportunity at rehab. Who knows what she can do?"

When asked for advice on how families and friends can best help their loved ones who are "locked out," Kate says, "It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease." She encourages families to become actively involved in the medical decisions, even insisting on treatments when necessary, as her husband did for her. She also recommends playing music, human touch, and talking to the patient assuming he or she can hear you. "Treat anyone," she says, "as you would want to be treated."

John Podhoretz asks what the fight's really about.

The scientific rationalists see a vegetable in human form, a life only in the strictest sense of the word. They see a human machine that is broken and cannot be repaired...

Then there are those who look at Terri Schiavo and see something else. They see a helpless person, a trapped person, a tragic person. But they do not see a vegetable. They see a human being with a soul.

I say:

There can be no reconciliation between these two camps. Either we err on the side of life, or we err on the side of death. And this all depends on whether we are sincerely humanists or sincerely materialists. The truth is, we can't have it both ways. Materialistic humanism is a contradiction. It is incoherent. Anyone who claims he is both at the same time is simply not telling the truth.

Also, it's a very, very small step from materialism to moral nihilism. Beware those who would err on the side of death. They don't have anyone's best interests at heart. The Nazi regime erred on the side of death, first with the retarded and insane, then later with those who lacked the requisite Aryan purity, and finally with the besieged residents of Berlin. Never trust anyone who elevates anything - be it his own pocketbook, social policy, or an abstract Volk - above the dignity of individual human lives.

Obligatory link: Not Dead Yet - an advocacy group for the disabled at risk of euthanasia

Oh, I suppose I should allude to the allegations that the Republicans are just playing politics with this whole thing. That's bulls**t.


More basic features of the memo also raised questions. There is nothing on the face of the memo to indicate who authored it. Contrary to normal congressional practice, not only is it anonymous, but it is on plain white paper, not the letterhead of any congressional or Senatorial office. It could, literally, have been created by anyone.

What, then, was the evidence for the claim that it was created and distributed by Republicans? As far as the public record shows: There is none. On the contrary, the only published report identifying the purveyors of the memo on March 17 states that they were Democrats.

I say:

Smells like the National Guard memo story all over again.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: /SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/#20050328

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The DNC guzzles the Dean Kool Aid

It is a cardinal principle of stupidity that if something just isn't working, do more of it. It is also a cardinal principle of the squishy left ("liberals") which the hard Left strongly encourages. Well, the Democratic National Committee has just selected Howard Dean as chairman. We all remember Howard Dean, right? He was that lunatic that said all sorts of mind-numbingly stupid things, then started screaming in Iowa. He epitomizes all that is wrong with the party.

In fact, he epitomized it a bit too clearly, which is why the party finally dropped him like a hot potato and went with the more nuanced Kerry. But Kerry was still too blatantly Leftist, and the country decided to stay with the unpopular president of the bad economy, the jobs going overseas, and the wars abroad. Of these three: Dean, Kerry, Bush - Bush proved the least unpalatable. And this *before* the election in Iraq went off so well.

Terry McAuliffe was incompetent, to be sure. There was a time when I could entertain the notion that Terry McAuliffe was the root of the party's problem. But now it's undeniable. The problem with the Democratic party is the DNC.

I could go on and on about all that's wrong with this choice, but there's no point in belaboring the obvious. Either you see it, or you're in denial. Instead, I'd like to talk about what it means, from several angles.

First, what it means in the sense of what it implies. It implies that the Democrat party is in the firm grip of forces that are destroying it, and will continue to destroy it. Dean says he intends to "rebuild the party." by which he seems to mean, by way of Orwellian inversion, that he intends to complete its destruction. Nothing can stop this now. This is a party without vision, without a coherent message, and now, without credibility even as far its progressive values go. First it angrily protests the removal of a brutal mass-mudering thug from the throne in Baghdad, then it allows a former Klansman to lead its attack on a petite black woman who happens to be up for the job of Secretary of State.

The Democrats have a serious image problem. And they can't see themselves in a mirror clearly enough to correct it. Not only don't they stand for anything, but they don't even know how to fake it anymore. (Bill Clinton knew how to fake it, but that only worked for a while.)

These forces of which I speak are the limousine left, the fashionably stupid, that dominate the DNC. But the stupid never drive their own decisions. They haven't that level of consciousness. Instead they're driven by influences. I see two influences acting on them. The first is their shallow belief that Dean's organozaing and fundraising abilities are all that matters. They simply don't grasp the difference between management and leadership. As long as the limo driver looks sober, they don't care where he's taking them. The second is the hard Left, those who, for whatever reason, hate America and/or democracy itself. Ever since Lenin, the hard Left have been cynical masters of manipulation. They know how to push the buttons of the useful idiots, and the limousine left are very useful idiots indeed.

As I've said before, the Left is in terminal decline in America as a political force. It is in deep trouble throughout the English speaking world. The DNC has much to offer the Left, but the Left has nothing of value to offer the DNC. The Left is a parasitic creature, sucking the lifeblood out of the Democrat party. And it is utterly in control of its host.

Now, what it means in the sense of what it will lead to. Last November it became undeniable that the Democrat party was in big trouble. Now it's becoming clear that it is doomed. Over the short term, the Republicans will have it easy. They've gained some hard won victories in the past few years, maybe they deserve to coast for a while. Over the longer term, the Democrat party, as we have known it, will either cease to be a major political party, or will cease to exist entirely.

But what about the country as a whole? What of Anglophone civilization, of which the United States is the current undisputed leader? What of Western civilization, of which the Anglosphere is the undeniable vanguard? What of decency and sanity, and what of liberalism, in the proper sense of the word?

I'll save all that for another post in the near future.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: /SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/politics.american.html#20050213

Saturday, February 12, 2005

"Jeff Gannon" deconstructs the press corps

Well, I was going to do a long series of posts on the implications of all this, but I had too many prior committments, and events are overtaking me. So, this instead.



White House spokesman Scott McClellan On Thursday challenged liberal media activists, who are currently feigning outrage over events surrounding "Jeff Gannon," to examine the definition of reporter in the new century.

"In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide or try to pick and choose who is a journalist. It gets into the issue of advocacy journalism," McClellan said.

"Where do you draw the line? There are a number of people who cross that line in the briefing room.

"There are a number of people in that room that express their points of view, and there are people in that room that represent traditional media, they represent talk radio, they're columnists, and they represent online news organizations."

I say:

Some background. The pseudonymous "Jeff Gannon" is reporter for the Talon News Agency, who has been lobbing softballs at Rumsfeld in the press briefings. This pisses off a lot of people on the left. So first they dug up some dirt and outed him as a homosexual. I could comment on the intolerance and hypocrisy of this tactic, but I can't spare the cycles right now. Now they're saying this is a government conspiracy to subvert the news establishment or something.

Kos complains that he's not a legitimate reporter, without making it clear just what he defines as a legitimate reporter. Others are saying Talon is not a legitimate news agency, without offering a definition of just what constitutes a legitimate news agency. Salon and others say this must be a conspiracy - a paid shill - because how else could he have gotten a press pass using a false name?

This pretension that there's such a thing as meaningful journalistic credentials is being exposed by this whole affair. The news establishment have served the public very poorly for a long time now. (That's an Angelfire link, so turn off Javascript.) Also, the traditional outlets, with their centralized control and high cost of entry for publishers, are going obsolete. News reporting is becoming more democratic. Any concerned citizen with an Internet connection can be a reporter nowadays. The old establishment don't much like that. But it's a better deal for the consumer.

And just who was harmed by what he did? Were the public deceived? Perhaps as regards this man's name, but that's not a matter of public concern. Were the public misled or deceived on any other point? No, quite the opposite. These establishment hacks have not been trying to get information for their audience, or even to get at a hidden truth. They've simply been tossing the same loaded questions over and over again, studiously ignoring the replies. That's not questioning. That's hectoring. It's made it hard for the White House to get the other side of the story out. If anything, Jeff Gannon helped correct the balance. Yes, he's biased. Yes, he's a bit over the top. Is he any worse than, say, Helen Thomas or Dan Rather on these accounts? Oh, but he's got the *wrong* bias. It's the double standard, you see. The left belong strongly in free speech - for themselves and for those agree with them. But not for anyone else.

Okay, not how about this conspiracy angle? Was he a White House plant? Given the above, even if you grant this for the sake of argument, that doesn't seem like a bad thing at all. But we don't even know yet if it's true. It seems he got in not by having connections necessarily, but by gaming the system. He got one day passes, that don't require the same background check as a regular pass. Now here comes the connecting lie:

"According to one current member of the White House press corps, Gannon was the only reporter to skirt the rules that way, obtaining daily passes month after month for nearly two years." - Salon

In point of fact, he's *not* the only reporter to have done so.


Several reporters pointed to Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, who has been attending press events through a daily press pass for several years. Some say he is as partisan as Gannon in his questions, but often with a left-leaning approach. One reporter called him "the ideological flip-side of Gannon."

I say:

These reporters who say Gannon was the only one - were they lying, or simply ignorant? It reflects badly on them either way.

Now a final digression on a related topic: it's all over the news that Eason Jordan is resigning from CNN. That's just as well for CNN, because he was incompetent - mentally incompetent, and was embarrassing the organization. But did he jump or was he pushed? Is this a chilling effect? Was he forced out because of his political views?

Well, if you consider slander a political view, then perhaps yes. But for the record, I never called for him to be forced out. I was happy that he was exposed, because I believe free speech must cut both ways. But him leaving CNN was either his call, or CNN's. Not anyone else's. The freedom to speak includes the freedom of others to rebut. And it includes the freedom to shut up if you can't take the heat.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: /SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/news.html#20050212

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Eason Jordan - did he say it or didn't he?

Well, the non-left-wing blogs all over the place have been on this Eason Jordan thing, to the point that even Kos has had to make a snarky remark about it, but I think I'd better help make sure there's no one left who can ignore this. So let's get this out of the way...

At Davos, Eason Jordan alleged that US troops have been targetting journalists and killing them. He offered no evidence to back this up whatsoever. Since then he's denied that's what he meant, claiming his words were taken out of context or misunderstood or misquoted or something. But multiple witnesses maintain he said just that. Also, it seems there's a videotape, but they won't release it, for reasons that are a tad murky.

Mr. Jordan has said a lot of crazy things, leftist conspiracy story things, over the past few years. This is just the latest. He's the Chief News Executive at CNN. That's the same CNN that admitted it played down Saddam' atrocities in order to maintain access to him. (Actually it was Eason Jordan who said so, but why would he lie about *that*?) The man's an embarrassment, and he's in charge. What does that tell us about CNN?

I've been collecting stories about how untrustworthy mainstream news is right here (Angelfire, so turn off the Javascript.) After Rathergate I figured the point had been both made and proven beyond reasonable doubt. I didn't want to beat a dead horse. But for completeness' sake I'm adding this latest thing.

Besides, I'm going to comment on the Jeff Gannon business soon in a coming post, and I intend to make the Bush bashers wish they'd never brought it up. The problems of mainstream news ("MSM") tie into that, so I'm posting this latest example as a prequel.

Some links...
Winds of Change comments
Blogherald has a roundup
Glenn Reynolds on the videotape question

So much for that.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: /SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/news.html#20050210

Sunday, January 30, 2005

This is a terrible, dark, tragic day...

for haters of democracy everywhere.


All the media keeps talking about is how happy the Iraqis are, how high turnout was, and how "freedom" has spread to Iraq. I had to turn off CNN because they kept focusing on the so-called "voters" and barely mentioned the resistance movements at all. Where are the freedom fighters today? Are their voices silenced because some American puppets cast a few ballots?

I say:

Want a shoulder to cry on, ShinerTX? Look elsewhere.

How fashions change. The "freedom fighters" are so yesterday. The *real* freedom fighters are the in thing.

At least most idiotarians have the presence of mind to try desperately to pretend they're not impressed. This turd can't even manange a sour grapes reaction. He just vents.

Oh, and here's some more unhappy freedom haters in jolly old England.


The demonstrators were from Hizb-ut-Tahrir - an Islamic group which is against the elections in Iraq.

David Kahrmann, from the Iraq Election Team, said the protesters "were not even Iraqis". "The Iraqi community here were saying, 'Why are these people who are not even from Iraq protesting against these elections?'," he said.

Dr Abdul Wahid, of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, said his demonstrators had begun walking away from the scene after election organisers said they were worried their presence could prove trouble.

He said: "The local Iraqis came out and got very agitated. We walked away, but a small group started chasing us."

I say:

Cowards. Say, it's nice of BBC news to report this, as if they'd never lied and spun everything about Iraq all these years. I remember their glum faces when mean old Uncle Sam first went in to take out sweet gentle Uncle Saddam.

Angelfire link (turn off Javascript to avoid popups)

Freenet: /SSK@jbf~W~x49RjZfyJwplqwurpNmg0PAgM/marlowe/iraq.html#20050130b