Wednesday, December 31, 2003


This is all very interesting information. From an American non-leftist point of view, I have no trouble with the basic concept of the EU, even though I've been a strong critic. I think the core issue that bothers many of us over here is the notion that the EU exists to counteract the economic and diplomatic influence of the United States. Of course, I have no trouble with a strong EU competing with us economically. I believe in free markets, and if the EU wants to compete on a level playing field with the US and everyone else, then we're all better off. What is troubling to me is the point that Kerry touched on, where there seems to be such a paranoia about US dominance that the EU, or at least it's most powerful members, will obstruct the US on issues like Afghanistan or Iraq just to keep us contained. Hopefully, as you mention, there are enough EU members to counteract this bias and keep things more neutral, but so far the balance of power seems to be with those who would choose to work against us even if doing so puts them in the company of Al Qaeda or Sadaam Hussein.

I also fear that while it may seem to be beneficial to the nations of Europe to be part of a larger and more powerful union, the prevailing political belief in Europe is still socialism, and I just can't see the EU accepting a free market situation with the US or other nations. Basically, I feel the protectionist, regulated economy of a socialist Europe will be at odds with a mostly free market capitalist US economy. This historically leads to the free market economies outperforming the regulated economies, which will be bad for Europeans and will only exacerbate anti US sentiment.

I'd like to get your take on this, as you clearly have more knowledge of the EU and its intentions. I've hammered the EU pretty hard in the past, but that doesn't mean I'm against a thriving European economy or a politically powerful Europe. I just don't see the EU's current direction leading to anything productive in the long run.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Hi Kerry,

Well, obligatory voting… at election day we are forced at gunpoint to move our ****s to the ballot boxes by BP (Belgian Police) and the Army…No, seriously: yes it IS obligatory (Belgium is one of the few remaining EU countries to have it that way) AND indeed you get fined for not showing up. Personally I don’t bother much as I like to cast my vote.

“With the socialist faction growing all of the time, what happens when there is a situation like Afghanistan or Iraq? Will we be able to count on Britain, Spain, Poland, and our other "allies"?”

As much as I deplore the fact that the EU’s left-wing political families are basically in charge, you have to remember that your staunchest allies in Iraq are mostly socialists too. PM Blair is Labor, PM Leszek Miller of Poland and the Polish President, Kwasniewski, are socialists. Miller is even a former communist. I might add just as well soon-to-be EU members Bulgaria, with an ex-communist, Georgi Parvanov, as President, and the Czech Republic, with Vladimir Spidla, a social democrat, for Prime Minister. It is remarkable to see how in Eastern Europe ex-communists and social democrats are dominating the political agendas. That most of them support the US in Iraq stems, I believe, from both a generally perceived realization that it was the US which were at the root of the Soviet Union’s demise and, hence, the downfall of the Iron Curtain, AND from less esoteric motives because they are angling for US support for their ailing economies (actually they want to have it both ways because they are eager to join the EU for the same reason).

What I want to illustrate with this is that being a leftist EU country not necessarily means not being able to “do the right thing” when it matters in cases like Afghanistan and Iraq. What worries me more with the left-leaning EU is that I doubt its ability to produce adequate answers to core “domestic” issues such as stopping the influx of (illegal) immigrants, counter the drain of not only labor-intensive industries but recently also of highly intellectual work to developing countries, the ageing of Europes population and hence the still heavier burden on the active people, in other words keeping the welfare state a doable thing etc. etc…

Because I want to be frank with that you know, the mere existence of the European Union is something I endorse VERY MUCH. And not only because I don’t have to swap Belgian francs for DMarks or French francs anymore if I want to visit my mother-in-law in Poland or visit Boulogne-sur-Mer in Frogistan. I believe the EU is a necessity for Europeans, creating a powerful politico-economic framework to counter the problems mentioned above, easing and facilitating economic activity from Dublin to Sofia and from Helsinki to Malta. And if that creates a large “Eurocracy” and if financial scandals emerge (and they do), well, I can live with it.

I think that in spite of an at first sight lukewarm EU interest among Europeans most feel comfortable we matter in today’s world because of the Union. The actual leadership realizes this more than anyone else. The UK’s, France's and Germany’s governments know all too well the days they could play first violin on the world scene by themselves are definitely over. You rightly suspect a country like France might want to use the EU as a vehicle to still do just that. But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Just take a look here. To get a proposal passed, the Commission (the EU’s government) needs 255 votes (of the 342). In the 25 member Union France just has 29. The second column really deserves study you know. The recent Brussels summit was such a poor show because a.o. Germany insisted it should have more say than Poland or Spain as, after all, it has double the population of those countries (80 million as compared to roughly 40 million for both) while it has under the Nice agreement only 29 votes compared to Spains and Polands 27. Fair enough argument, but they should have fought for it at Nice and not now.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Hi Tom,

regarding your questions yes, every 5 years elections are held in which the members of the European Parliament are chosen. The last election was in 1999 and 626 MPs were chosen to rfepresent some 370 million European citizens. Since I am now 38 years old and have been voting since I was 18 (obligatory in Belgium) I have cast my (European) vote four times.

Now if you permit me to elaborate on that, as for:

a.) The European Parliament (the EU's "House of Representatives")

The parties of all member states are merged into "supranational mother parties" according to their relative position in the political spectrum. So politicians who are known to be christian democrats in Belgium (CD & V), the Netherlands (CDA), Germany (CDU) etc... all group together in the so-called "European People's Party" (kind of confusing isn't it? - you would suspect such a name would be chosen by leftist parties). After the 1999 elections this party became the biggest fraction in the EP, with the socialist fraction being the second largest.

Being the biggest fraction in the EP apparently did not enable the European Christian Democrats to get an explicit reference to Christianity in the draft of a European Constitution.

Uh oh. "European People's Party"; socialist fraction the second biggest one... yes I see you yankees shaking your heads again at the notion of a leftist Europe... and true it is, unfortunately enough.

Anyway, so next year we will have the next edition of the European elections. Soon 450 million European, old and new ones, heh heh, will have to go to the ballot box.

b.) The European Commission (the EU's "Government")

Well, the Chairman of the European Commission, the European PM so to speak, is appointed in the first instance by the governments of the member states, only afterwards his appointment is mandated by the EP. This is called "double legitimacy". Current Chairman is Romano Prodi, an Italian.

The Chairman then appoints the members of the Commission (what you would call secretaries). Approval of the governments is needed, afterwards the whole equipe's appointment needs approval from the EP.

For all the fuss being made around the EU, since the EU's budget is still quite small in comparison with the combined budgets of the sovereign member states, the EU seems to have trouble attracting the big political guns of the respective countries. Talent goes where the money is, I guess. As the EU will evolve towards a true "superstate" in, say, 30 years (?), the roles will be reversed (an almighty and financially extremely powerful "federal" government and relatively weak member states). Then the political heavyweights will flock en masse to the EU's top levels, for sure.

Indeed, while some of you may have heard of Prodi and Chris Patten (the EU's "Foreign Minister") I doubt the names Michaele Schreyer (budget), Pedro Solbes Mira (Economy), Guenter Verheugen (EU Extension) or David Byrne (health) will ring a bell. Basically they are all second graders in the national policies of their native countries.

Regarding the second part of your question Tom, yes, the EU has already created a massive amount of legislature, to the extent that it is now felt necessary that some simplification is mandatory. E.g. in Belgium European laws form already between a third and a quarter of all laws Belgian citizens are subjected too.

Kerry I will elaborate on the distinction UN/EU later on but now I still have wooooooooooork to do. Sheesh, and it's already 11.50pm. Aaaaaaarrrghhhhh!!!!

Merry Christmas everybody (late, I know it)

Monday, December 22, 2003

Oops, apparently no 1,000 character limit here. Don't be afraid, when I said I hoped it would be a long ride, I also hoped it would not be a long, hard slog.

I'll try to keep it entertaining but if I had to clarify only a little bit of the EU I really had to make it this long.
Before I start with this, my first contribution in what I hope will be a long ride, I would like to thank Tom and Kerry Dupont for the chance they have given me in expressing my views as a European. I hope I will be able to shed some light from “our” perspective on issues that are of concern to both Americans and Europeans.

As a European, I am a bit puzzled by the apparent sarcasm with which the nonconclusive EU Brussels summit of 12-13 Dec. was covered in American media. What was all the fuss about? Basically there were two main issues: the “agreeing on” of a first draft of a European Constitution as well as finally reaching a consensus on voting power between the 25 member states when, on May 1st 2004, 10 new countries will be joining the European Union.

I have often been musing that what the EU needs more than anything else is a good PR team. One that is able to clarify to the broad public the sense of this seemingly endless series of summits (Maastricht, Schengen, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Nice, you name it…) as well as the deeper, underlying meaning of there being something like a European Union at all. Americans don’t have to worry about being puzzled by “Europe”, its countless institutions, its trade wars with the US, its spawning out of a plethora of laws etc. etc… To most Europeans, and by this I mean indeed a vast majority of European citizens, the emerging supranational body leaves them just as clueless as Americans.

A brief historical sketch of how the EU became the EU is in its place:

a.) May 9th, 1950: Robert Schuman, France’s Foreign Minister, proposes establishing the ECCS, the European Community of Coal and Steel, with the aim of integrating the steel processing industries of six European countries: France, West-Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In 1951 through the Treaty of Paris the ECCS is a fact, it is the nucleus of what will become the EU.

b.) In 1958 the Treaty of Rome establishes the EEC, the European Economic Community, composed of the countries mentioned above. Its aim is the economic integration of its member states. Customs duties between them are abolished, there will be free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, as well as a common policy on labor, agriculture, social issues,
transport and trade.

The Treaty of Rome is also important because here already we see the emergence of a political dimension, as the EEC is provided with:

• a Council (some kind of advisory body)
• a Commission (the executive body)
• a Court of Justice
• a Court of Auditors
• a Parliament (Assembly)

c.) The EEC scores a major achievement in establishing common prices for agricultural products

d.) The Treaty of Brussels (1965) merges ECCS, EEC and Euratom in the European Community (EC).

e.) 1973: the EC expands with the UK, Ireland and Denmark joining.

f.) Greece joins the EC in 1981.

g.) Spain and Portugal join in 1986.

h.) The Single European Act of 1987 provides for a single internal market.

i.) A milestone is the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. Maastricht is of paramount importance because for the first time
the European Unity (EU), as the EC was renamed at the treaty, outspokenly vows for:

• establishing a single European currency
• a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
• a common military policy, to be implied by the WEU (West European Union, a till then sleeping
institution meant to coordinate military efforts by EC countries)

After Maastricht European citizens slowly begin to realize the European Community is a supranational economical AND political body which will have an increasingly important impact on their lives. The very notion of a “superstate in being” is becoming more and more apparent as the European Commission (the “EU’s “government”) and the European Parliament (the EU’s “House of Representatives”) start truly behaving like the executing and law issuing bodies of such a state.

j.) Austria, Sweden and Finland join the EU in 1995.

k.) The European Central Bank (ECB) is established in 1998, charged with preparing the issue of a single currency.

l.) In 2002 12 EU nations introduce this currency, called the euro. They thus form the European Monetary Union (EMU). Conditions to enter are embedded in the so-called Stability Pact (1996), which requires participating nations to reduce their budget deficit to 3% of their GDP as well as limiting their debt to 60% of their GDP.

It is important to understand the sheer magnitude of the administrative and legislative work involved with creating the EU as it is today, over the decades since WWII. For almost sixty years the world was in turmoil and news headlines were made by the Cold War, countless conflicts on all continents including the European continent, the demise of the colonial empires, the emergence of China and recently India as major international power brokers, economic crises, environmental problems, the Middle East etc. etc… During all this time European statesmen and visionaries silently laid the foundations of and started building a European superstate. Very likely in the beginning it was never meant to be that way but as more and more goals were accomplished and institutions established the vision of a single economical, political and (over the last decade) military union became a tempting goal at the horizon. While the world was watching the power politics of the US and the Soviet Union and hordes of brutal dictators worldwide got more attention than they deserved, European soft-spoken presidents, premiers and technocrats built up the infrastructure supporting the unified Europe. Since a lot of money was involved in building accommodation for the hundreds of representatives, the thousands of their staffs and cabinet members, aides etc. and the tens of thousands of the new “Eurocracy”, it was inevitable that scandals would emerge. Nevertheless, the building anger resulted in vast complexes and halls across its member states, but principally in Brussels, Belgium, where the European Parliament has its seat, as well as countless subordinated organs and institutions.

On the other hand, the EU’s maiden trip in trying to implement an effective common foreign policy when faced with the humanitarian disasters in the broken up Yugoslavia proved such a disaster that the US had to hurry to their help to break the stalemate.

So where has the European Union arrived today? And where is it heading to? (to be continued)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I almost fainted when I read this from the NY Times Op/Ed page (requires registration):

Over the past five years, by turning over two suspects for trial, acknowledging its complicity in the Lockerbie bombing and paying compensation to victims' families, Libya finally managed to persuade the United Nations Security Council to lift the international sanctions that had shadowed its economy and its international reputation for more than a decade. Those sanctions were lifted in September. This page recommended lifting American sanctions as well, but President Bush left them in place pending further steps, most notably Libya's decision to end its unconventional weapons programs. It is now clear that he was right to do so. The added American pressure worked just as intended.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Unfortunately the so called fiscal conservatives that were elected over the last few years have largely accepted the concept of big government as inevitable. Their strategy seems to be that if we must have big government, let's make sure the money is going to our people instead of their people. This to my mind is no better than the Democrats controlling everything and smothering us with entitlements and welfare programs. A lot of voters really got played in the recent elections, thinking that they were voting for people who would actually live up to the idea of being conservative. The fact that the Republicans have the amount of control that they do and have squandered the opportunity to shrink our hideously bloated government is nothing short of appalling. We should not be kind in the next elections to the big government conservatives who have deceived us.

While I consider the current wave of conservatism in the US to be on the whole a positive thing, this spending spree mentality is very troubling. I think the conservative revolution needs to be immediately followed by the federalist revolution, where we once and for all get the country back on the course that the founding fathers intended. Even the gridlock of the '90's, where no party controlled both the legislature and the presidency, is preferable to our current situation from a spending perspective. While it may seem that nothing gets done in a divided government, it's a lot harder to pass the kind of spending bills that the Republicans currently are.

Let's hope the conservative voters of America wake up and smell the coffee before our current welfare system is replaced with a welfare system for Republican special interests.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

This is weak.
This is criminal. I do not see one thing here that the federal government should be concerning itself with. These examples are a minute fraction of the entire 1,448 page, $820 billion bill. What the hell happened to fiscal conservatives? Aren't the Republicans in charge of congress these days?

While I don't expect this latest embarrassment from the 9th Circuit Court to hold up, it illustrates what I believe to be a fundamental flaw in our governmental system; the fact that there is no short term remedy for the problem of judicial activism. Politicians can be voted out based on their performance, but the only way to affect real change among the members of the judicial branch is to achieve overwhelming and unrealistic majorities in the legislature and maintain them for a period of time sufficient enough to appoint better qualified judges as slots open up. The current democratic filibuster circus proves that even a majority can't get much done if the minority wants to be stubborn (or childish) enough. Of course, this "flaw" is what helps to keep the integrity of the judicial branch, as it keeps judges from being tied to a constituency, and it keeps the legislative majority from hijacking the courts, but it would be nice if there were some kind of judicial integrity check. Now that the left is relying more and more on the courts to push their agenda that would never pass muster with the American public, the problem is becoming an epidemic.

I don't claim to have an easy solution here, but I've read The Constitution, and it seems to me that the intentions of our founding fathers are far less nebulous and subject to interpretation as the 9th Circuit court would have us believe. Perhaps there is no solution, other than an increase in judicial integrity, which isn't something you can legislate. Surely, any system of government will fail if there is a sufficient lack of integrity among it's members. The 9th circuit court is doing its best to subvert the very document that they're charged to uphold, and in the process is putting us all in danger. Perhaps if they had lost a family member to terrorism they would be able to step back and see their petty agenda for what it is. I doubt it, though.

It looks as if the dreaded 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is at it again. In typical activist fashion they've just ruled that POWs now have recourse to the U.S. court system. Let's hope that this ruling, like many of their hare-brained rulings in the past, will be overturned on appeal.
The LOTR saga is an interesting allegory on current world events. It becomes more clear every day that America, and perhaps the entire world, is splitting between two groups. On one side are those who believe that there is evil in this world and that it needs to be confronted aggressively. On the other side are those who don't believe there is evil, those who think that we are equally evil or more evil than those who oppose us, and those that deep down know there is evil, but choose to ignore it because it either does not suit their political motives, or because they are afraid of the inevitable sacrifice and pain that would result from confronting evil. This last group, of course, is the most wretched of the bunch. While it can be frustrating to deal with someone who can look at the current state of the world and not see evil plainly before their eyes, I can still have a modicum of respect for them if they have arrived at their opinion with logic, no matter how ideologically tainted it may be. However, the person who sees evil for what it is and uses it as a means for political gain or develops a worldview whose main purpose is to rationalize his own fear and cowardice; these are the most dangerous people in the world. Certainly, their actions often seem benign on the surface and are commonly done in the name of peace, but their overall effect is to slowly rot the core of a nation from the inside to the point where once it becomes obvious what has been happening it is too late to correct the problem.

Like the Hobbits in LOTR (save for the main characters), the left is content living in their shire, ignorant or ambivalent of the evil that threatens the very way of life they cherish. The Hobbits are more suspicious of Gandalf, their powerful ally, than of any distant threat from another land. In Europe, the biggest shire in the world, many see the United States as a bigger threat to their way of life than Al Qaida. The situation there is so bad that it is difficult to imagine the European population caring enough about anything to actually put down their cigarrettes and take up arms.

If it can be said that anything good came from the attacks of 9/11, it is that these events woke us from the same dream that the Europeans are living in. Like the struggle in LOTR, what's at stake here is far more important than personal emotions or temporary political advantage. What's at stake here is, quite simply, everything.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Reason 3,704 Wes "The Lion of Kosovo" Clark should not become president: The man never blinks. He's like some cheesy B-rated horror movie automaton.
The UN gets it from the Iraqi foreign minister. Kofi Annan comes off as impotent as ever in this piece. Here's a great quote from the ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere of France:

"I don't want to comment on the past."

Yeah, I wouldn't either after taking 12 years to think about it and still leaving the Iraqi people twisting in the wind. If I were the French, the Russians, or the Germans, I'd be organizing a hit on Hussein right now before he spills the beans and reveals their treachery.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

This is a beautiful thing. The slow motion train wreck that is the European Union moves one step closer to catastrophe. It makes it so easy to win arguments with lefties when there is such a shining example of the folly of Socialism just across the Atlantic. Pass the popcorn, this is going to be good.
Orson Scott Card, a science fiction writer and Democrat, puts forth a very balanced and well thought out criticism of the current Democratic position on the war on terror. While I'm not sure how he can have these opinions and still be a Democrat, I hope there are many more Democrats out there like him. I was beginning to think they had abandoned common sense altogether.

Monday, December 15, 2003

It is rather interesting that the people who didn't want anything to do with Iraq now want the U.N. (which also didn't want anything to do with solving the Iraqi situation) involved in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein. If we shouldn't have been there in the first place, and our actions were illegal, why should he be tried at all? I also saw a comment on NRO's Corner that on Pacifica Radio this morning one of the points of debate was whether U.S. corporations and the U.S. should go on trial alongside Saddam. Clowns.
It's not an easy time to be a Democratic strategist. Every time they seem to gather some steam with their criticisms of the Bush administration, a funny thing happens: The very plans and strategies (or lack thereof) that they use as the foundation for their arguments actually end up working. The capture of Saddam Hussein is yet another blow to the quagmire crowd, who have seen most of their 2004 election issues vaporize before their eyes. The two front running democratic contenders, Howard Dean and John Kerry, have had their criticism of Bush's Iraq strategy whittled down to whimpering that we need to get more international involvement in the Iraq effort. Here's part of Dean's response to the capture of Hussein:

"This development provides an enormous opportunity to set a new course and take the American label off the war. We must do everything possible to bring the UN, NATO, and other members of the international community back into this effort."

This highlights one of the great hypocrisies of the left's worldview: that an unjust action (or inaction, as is usually the case) becomes just if sanctioned by the UN. Dean, who was and is in full opposition to the liberation of Iraq, seems to imply here that the Iraq operation can somehow be given legitimacy by inviting the UN and NATO to help out. Please. If you're against the liberation, you're against the liberation, and it should not matter what the Europeans or anyone else thinks. Of course, Dean knows that denouncing the Iraq liberation now would be politically suicidal, so his goal is to put a pretty international face on an operation that he has opposed from the outset (apparently Dean doesn't consider a 60 nation coalition to be international enough.) I can just see President Dean on hold with the UN waiting for approval to act after the attacks of 9/11...

The one Democrat that comes out of this smelling like a rose is Joe Lieberman. After getting back stabbed by Al Gore, suddenly he's on the right side of the issue of the day while the front running candidates are all running their spin cycles overtime. This of course is fine with me, as I am not among those who are praying for a Dean vs Bush election for the simple fact that however unlikely it may be, Dean could win. I've got plenty of problems with Joe Lieberman, but he's nowhere near the nightmare that Dean or Kerry would be, and seems to have some common sense about national security. Here's to hoping that he figures out how to campaign before it's too late.
The wisdom of presidential hopeful Wes "The Lion of Kosovo" Clark:

"I would like to see him(Saddam) tried in The Hague, and I'll tell you why. I think it's very important for U.S. legitimacy and for building other support in the war on terror for trying them in The Hague, under international law with an international group of justices, bringing witnesses from other nations."
Emphasis added.

No, our legitimacy is that we're in Iraq and Saddam is in prison. What a jerk.

Friday, December 12, 2003


While I agree with you regarding censorship on a national level, I think that was just a small part of Jonah's point. I believe he was not advocating censorship but illustrating that we do accept it in some form or another on a daily basis. Further we get upset over trivial "censorship" such as a controversial performing "artist" whose performance is cancelled by a college scared to lose alumni contributions, or the Dixie Chicks losing sales due to "censorship" when in reality they've just pissed off their core who stopped buying their albums. On the other hand a major infringement of our First Amendment rights (ie. McCain-Feingold) has just occurred, is truly censorship, and no one seems to care. It's the swallowing a lion whole but choking on a gnat thing. I think this is the point he was trying to make.

I agree wholeheartedly with you on the perils of limiting free speech. I believe that if I wanted to contribute 47 million dollars of my money to re-elect President Bush that should be my prerogative. Furthermore, if I own a private company and I want to give 47 million dollars from its profits, so be it, the employees of the company who do not agree with it can seek employment elsewhere, it is my company. The government should not be involved in this process at all.
The saddest part of the campaign finance reform developments is the simple fact that the very people who are entrusted with interpreting and upholding the Constitution of the United States have decided that this obscene piece of legislation is somehow "constitutional."

The door is now wide open for a whole generation of activist judges to spin the constitution into a shadow of its former self.

I'm not sure I agree with Goldberg on the whole concept of good and bad censorship, at least not on a national level. Free speech is free speech, and the act of picking and choosing which speech should be limited is a slippery slope no matter where your beliefs are. More often than not the first amendment becomes a disguise for some other political motive. Free market forces and local governments would go a long way to keeping X rated movies off Saturday morning TV, and any school board that would allow Neo Nazis to speak at a school would be sent packing the very next day by the citizens of their community. Since what is good censorship and what is bad censorship will always be subjective, these decisions are best left to individuals, and when necessary, local government.

If you want to keep your own rights of expression in tact, you have to deal with the occasional flag burner, sacrilegious performance artist, or hate speaker. It comes with the territory.

Don't you realize that contacting a television network and expressing your displeasure with their coverage is censorship? I suppose you were one of those people who forced poor CBS at gunpoint to pull that gripping and historically accurate miniseries "The Reagans" off the air as well.

You're right that people need to be vocal about these things, because even the most biased news organization will sit up and take notice when their audience leaves them. This, of course, is the free market in action, otherwise known to liberals as "the vast right wing conspiracy."

That CNN headline wasn't one of their most flagrant abuses, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. The worst thing about it is that I now expect the story to be bogus, but I'll check it out anyway because of my keen interest in the Iraq situation. I'm sure the news weenies at CNN are all excited about their powers of persuasion, but this gets them nowhere in the long run, as is evidenced by Fox beating them like a circus monkey in the ratings.

The next chapter of liberal media comedy is going to be their much talked about radio talk show network, which is supposedly going to be called "Central Air." It really tells you something about the state of liberalism when even the liberals know that admitting their ideology openly will kill any chance of getting ratings.
Ok, that's the last straw. I'm officially switching my home page. Yeah, yeah, I know, not exactly front page news, but the reason I'm switching it is part of a much larger problem.

Up until now I've used Apple's default home page, which is hosted by Netscape. It's a pretty ordinary "everything you need at your fingertips" type of site like Yahoo or MSN. Like all sites of this nature, the Apple site has a prominently featured news section. In this case, the news content comes from CNN. Now we all know that CNN likes to drive in the left lane, but their web based news takes things to a whole new low. While there is certainly the expected left leaning bias, the people who write the headlines, which serve as hyperlinks on this site, are completely out of control. The headlines are so exaggerated and embellished that they often bear little resemblance to the event that they're referring to. I know a good headline is supposed to get you to read the story, but this site has become a joke. Here's one of today's headlines:

U.S. Compound Blasted in Iraq

Now, perhaps I'm naive, but this sounds like one of our compounds was blown up, or at least severely damaged, which is disturbing news. Of course, I took the bait and clicked the hyperlink. The next page had the following headline:

Iraqi Rebels Fire Shells at U.S. Compound

Ok, so in the nanosecond it took to load the next page, the situation seems to have improved a bit at our compound in Iraq. Further reading reveals that there were no injuries and only light damage to a non critical building. In other words, this is a non story. Of course, most of the rest of the article goes on to detail all of the recent attacks on our troops, which revealed what seems to be the true purpose of this article: spreading fear uncertainty and doubt about the Iraq situation.

To be fair, here are all the other CNN headlines today:

Murderer Charged With Killing, Burying 3 Teens
Tenn. Crash-Landing Kills Four
Gay Officers Slam Military Policy
Drunkenness Gene Found in Worm
Man Said Parents Dead 40 Times

I checked all of these stories, and in each case the headline accurately describes the event, without exaggeration. So it does seem that CNN is capable of writing an accurate headline. What has pushed me over the edge is the fact that the headline embellishments only seem to crop up when the story is about Iraq, Halliburton, SUV's or some other topic that CNN sees as reflecting badly on the current administration. I get sucked in almost every day by these headlines just to find out that nothing has really happened, but CNN felt compelled to remind me of the things that Bush is doing wrong in their eyes.

While I'll miss the Apple specific stuff on the site, its just not worth it to sift through CNN's pretend news every day.

Yet another example of why the U.N. should not control the internet.
Love it. Particularly the President's response to German chancellor Schroeder's remark about international law.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I could not have said this better myself. I also think this general concept applies to the current interpretation of the Separation of Church and State - it bears almost no resemblance to its original intent.

The word "fair", in its true meaning, is to liberals what garlic is to a vampire. Sure they use the term all the time, but they interpret it to mean something entirely different. This word is abused all the time by the left, who claim that raising the taxes on the "wealthy", who already pay a grossly disproportionate share of taxes, is fair. They claim that subsidizing a dying industry with taxpayer money so it can compete with foreign competitors is fair. They will tell you with a straight face that it is fair to deny a white person a job so that a less qualified minority can be employed instead.

Webster's dictionary defines the word "fair" as it applies to this discussion, as the following:

1) Free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception; or conforming with established standards or rules

2) Showing lack of favoritism

Show me just one of the left's pet policies that can be described by the above definitions.

I agree with Tom that we need to dump Social Security right now, and this illegal immigration issue is only one of a dozen reasons why. Here's how I'd do it:

1) Stop SS withholding immediately.

2) Give everyone over 50 the choice to stay with the current system or be reimbursed with an amount proportionate to what they have put onto the system, which would be tax free. At this point the SS fund would be split into two groups: The money required for those who choose to stay with the current system, and the reimbursement fund.

3) Everyone under 50 gets reimbursed with an amount proportionate to what they have put into the system.

I'm no economist, but I think this principle is, well, fair.


This is extremely disturbing. It's time we get some data together that shows just how much illegal immigrants put into our Social Security fund. This point has been brought up several times and, unless I'm missing something, it just doesn't add up. If it's illegal to hire an illegal immigrant, how is it that social security dues are being deducted from their "under the table" paychecks? While there are some loopholes that allow some illegal immigrants to work here legally, I would be very surprised if the SS dues paid by these people even came close to the amount taken out of the system by the entire illegal immigrant population. I won't even go into the drag on our medical industry and educational system.

We've got enough legal dead beats bringing the system down as it is without extending the benefits to citizens of other countries. Isn't it ironic that the same people who opposed funding for our own troops in Iraq will gladly give money away to foreigners as a reward for breaking our laws.
This to me, is a good case for ending Social Security completely. 100%. Bye bye.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Regarding illegal immigrants "contributing" to the system; the real problem here are legal citizens who take advantage of the reduced cost of using illegal immigrants as a labor force. A very popular practice in my former residence, Atlanta, GA is to go to the local "labor pool" (translation: a bunch of Mexicans waiting on a corner) and pick up laborers for the day. The landscaping industry, which is big business in Atlanta, is very big on the labor pool. You can hire people real cheap for the day, they will work hard for long hours, and there's no messy tax stuff to deal with. The problem is, someone else (the US taxpayer) is paying the difference in wages plus a lot more at the end of the day. By hiring an illegal immigrant, you reduce the chances of other legal, taxpaying Americans of finding employment, and you cheat the government (taxpayers) out of the cost of whatever government services the illegal immigrant is going to consume while in this country. Sure, you save a few bucks, but you're sticking it to your fellow taxpayers at the same time.

People who claim that they do it out of sympathy are practicing pretty selective sympathy when you consider the number of legal citizens in the US who are out of work. Even if your sympathies are with minorities, there are still plenty of minorities who are legal citizens that need work. In the end, it all comes down to money. But what people don't realize is that they're still paying, it's just taking the form of higher taxes.

Ideally, I'd like to see a society with open borders and completely free enterprise, but until we abolish the welfare state and get a handle on terrorism, among other things, illegal immigration will always be damaging.
The statement by Tom Ridge, at least on the surface, is pure garbage. Perhaps this is just another vote buying scheme, in which case I too will officially be opposed to this President's domestic policy.

The only thing that could possibly justify Ridge's statement in my mind would be if the administration was planning on taking a seriously hard line against illegal immigration, and is using this to soften the blow with Hispanic voters. While the thought of legalizing 10 million illegal immigrants is very troubling, if it were followed by the President slamming the borders shut it might be a better solution than having the current joke of a system go on indefinitely. This just might be a way for the President to come down hard on illegal immigration while actually gaining the support of some Hispanic voters. If this were to work, it would be a shrewd political move indeed.

Still, I think that scenario is probably far fetched. We're likely witnessing another cave in by the President on an important domestic issue. Didn't his father also kind of screw things up domestically in the latter part of his term?
This is rather disturbing.
Thomas Sowell has an interesting observation regarding the Wright Brothers and diversity. As we all know, the left's concept of diversity is shallow and cosmetic. But when this limited world view seeps into our classrooms and begins to taint the teaching of history, it's time to take notice. This revisionist history, where relatively trivial figures are elevated to the status of Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln just because of their ethnicity is truly ridiculous. It all reminds me of a radio broadcast I listened to a few years back. The subject of the show was ancient African cultures, and the guest was a professor from one of the Atlanta black colleges. He proceeded to denigrate many of the non- black ancient cultures, and his argument was based on the "fact" that they all stole their knowledge from African cultures. Yes, the Greeks must have stole the concept of democracy from some hapless African tribe, and the ancient Mesopotamians must have cribbed the concept of writing from some more advanced culture on the African continent. Of course, nobody knows what happened to all the alleged advanced African cultures, but that's beside the point. It was a sad exercise, but thankfully it was a call in show and one woman called in and completely shut the professor down. In a thick southern drawl she said "you must be really insecure about your own culture to have to claim credit for the accomplishments of others." The professor sputtered on, but never really came back from this simple observation. This woman's point still applies today. There are plenty of important contributions made by minorities in history without us having to invent new ones or elevate relatively unimportant ones in the interest of "diversity." Downplaying the accomplishments of white males does nothing to elevate the accomplishments of non whites. Yes, much of the history of this country is dominated by white males, but this is history, not some story book. You have to tell it like it is. Imagine the outcry if some white historians tried to downplay the suffering of black slaves, or claimed that some white folks did more for civil rights than Dr. King. Heads would certainly roll.

Painting a fanciful picture of diversity and calling it history is no better than the practice of white supremacists denying that the Jewish holocaust ever happened. This is history. It's sometimes ugly, cruel, and unfair, and it's not always going to be sympathetic to certain political agendas. Putting more emphasis on changing the future rather than changing the past would be a good idea for some of those on the left.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Here's a dose of reality for those who think our civil liberties are being stripped away by the Patriot Act. Strangely enough, those railing against John Ashcroft and The Patriot Act have been unable to cite a single example of someone's rights being violated. Now we know why.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Good news on the U.N. bid for control of the internet. For now.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Kerry and Michael,

There seem to be several problems with the process of setting up an Iraqi government and Ayatollah Sistani is only one of them.

The first and possibly biggest problem is that the CPA is dominated by State Department personnel. This does not bode well based on past performance.

As for caucuses for delegates to the Provisional Government, I believe that is still up in the air. Iraqi minority groups (Sunnis, Kurds) are concerned that if delegates are selected in a general, nationwide vote they will not be represented well, if at all in laying out the country's future. Not to mention the former Baathists who are likely to be elected as well. It sounds as if Bremer has his work cut out for him and needs to start pushing more aggressively for regional caucuses - it is far too early for a general Iraqi election.

Third, the requirements in the Agreement on Political Process call for the following four elements in the intermediary Fundamental Law (a sort of transitional constitution): a "bill of rights"; a "federal arrangement for Iraq"; judicial independence and judicial review; and "civilian political control over Iraqi armed and security forces." However there is no requirement that these four principles be included in the final constitution!

And finally, it is never a good idea when a few unelected individuals have too much control of government (e.g. U.S. Federal Courts).


Friday, December 05, 2003

Scott wrote:

The curious thing is, people like the ACLU who are carrying the PC torch can never be found unless the symbol in question is associated with the majority of Americans. Do you think we'd here from these people if my niece's school started calling the holiday break Kwanzaa break? Of course not, and we'd all be branded as racists for trying to get it changed. Once again the transparent agenda of the left takes shape. You'd think that people who consider themselves intellectuals could do a little better than this.

Intellectual dishonesty anyone? Much like facts are facts whether you approve of the source or not, infringement of peoples right to expression (See 1st Amendment, U.S. Constitution) is infringement even if you do not agree with what is being expressed. Where were these civil libertarians when some University of Tennessee frat boys wore blackface at a party and were immediately disciplined by the school? Truth be told, if this stuff were approached with intellectual honesty we wouldn't have odious "hate crime" legislation. It's all about advancing a certain agenda under the guise of objectivity.
This has to be a frightening prospect for people like the bloggers in Iran and Iraq who are finally able to find an avenue to express their views. I can just imagine the limitations that would be implemented by UN bureaucrats.

Hat tip to Instapundit
Well spoken, Kerry. We're glad to have you back. That is good news about the manger scene in NH. As you know I'm not a religious guy, but all this PC crap regarding religious symbols is really getting to be too much. I can't name a single time that I've been offended by the display of a religious symbol. Not one. And I was raised Catholic, so I'm quite familiar with religious symbols. When I used to work for Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta GA, they had some pretty PC policies, but at least they allowed holiday decorations. You had to allow for the "big 3" (Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa- this is Atlanta remember) but you could still put up decorations. You have to wonder about someone who is offended by a friggin' Christmas tree. My father, who is on the board of the Independence Association, (an organization that helps the mentally handicapped,) said that a couple of years ago they had to stop calling the Christmas bonus a Christmas bonus. They switched to "holiday bonus," but had to change that to "end of the year bonus" this year because Mormons don't celebrate any holidays. My 16 year old niece told me that at her high school they are forbidden to refer to their holiday vacation as "Christmas break." I'm not just talking about the administrators of the school here. They don't allow the STUDENTS to make this reference. Of course, being her legal guardian, I told her to refer to the Christmas break in whatever terms she wants, and that I'll deal with any bozo from the school administration that would like to take this up with me.

The curious thing is, people like the ACLU who are carrying the PC torch can never be found unless the symbol in question is associated with the majority of Americans. Do you think we'd here from these people if my niece's school started calling the holiday break Kwanzaa break? Of course not, and we'd all be branded as racists for trying to get it changed. Once again the transparent agenda of the left takes shape. You'd think that people who consider themselves intellectuals could do a little better than this.

To donate to Lt. Colonel West's defense send checks here:

Alan West Defense Fund, c/o Angela West, 6823 Coleman Drive, Ft. Hood, Tex 76544.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I don't care if the Thanksgiving turkey President Bush was holding in the photos from Baghdad was a prop or not, this is the effect it had on the troops who were actually there. God love him, the President cares for our men and women in uniform and it shows.
This really gets me going. It is becoming a trend in this country for local governments to trample on people's property rights in order to pad the tax base. This story is just one in a string of such cases where local governments are using unscrupulous means to find ways to oust homeowners so that their property can be made available to those who will pay higher property taxes. The attack on property rights is not just a local phenomenon either. While criticizing judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown, Diane Feinstein stated that she didn't like the fact that Judge Brown placed property rights on "too high a plane." It seems the Democrats have come up with an interpretation of the constitution where certain rights reside on a higher plane than others. How convenient for them when someone's property rights stand in the way of their political motives. This is just one step closer to socialist collectivism, where the "needs" of the state outweigh the rights of the individual. This would be fine if it weren't for the fact that a great deal of the constitution is dedicated to protecting the rights of the individual from people like Ms. Feinstein and the Norfolk housing authority. We can also blame the courts for this mess, as they have given city governments almost unlimited leeway in the interpretation of eminent domain laws. It's nice to see those checks and balances working to protect us.

Check out this site for information on fighting eminent domain abuse.


I couldn't agree more with your sentiments regarding Lt. Colonel West and Nathaniel Jones. The fact that the knee jerk reaction of the press is always to doubt the actions of those who's job it is to protect us is very disturbing. The fact that force (gasp) was used in both instances is what really puts this over the top for the liberals, who believe that force isn't necessary in a modern, sophisticated society (see the John Stuart Mill quote above.) I would like to hear what those crying foul in the case of Nathaniel Jones would have the police do in that situation. Here's a belligerent, doped up 350lb. man who was warned repeatedly to back off, and decided to attack a police officer anyway. Let's keep in mind that police officers carry guns, so when one is attacked like this, there always a chance of the gun being turned on them. While the first officer was being attacked, the second officer would have had every right to draw his gun and shoot Mr. Jones, as his partner's life was in danger. He chose to to use his night stick instead. The police officers eventually got the better of Jones, and could be seen on that tape going to great lengths to strike at Jones' legs and not his head and torso. They showed exemplary restraint in a situation where they would have been justified in using their firearms. Of course, none of this matters to the race warlords who only see a black man being beaten by two white police officers. If any disciplinary action is taken against these men, I will personally send them money. These are the cops I want in my neighborhood when there's trouble. Likewise for Lt. Colonel West. The liberal dream of a quagmire in Iraq would surely come true if we had a bunch of PC pansies over there who were more worried about ruffling the feathers of a Muslim than the lives of their fellow soldiers.

The liberal mindset suggests that force is always bad, but it is never worse then when used against someone of minority group status. A little history lesson is in order, as none of the groups that the left pretends to hold so dear achieved freedom without the use of force. Thankfully our country has always had an ample supply of real men and women who had a clear sense of right and wrong and were not afraid to take action and use force if necessary to protect our way of life.
One more for the Gipper.

Edit: I don't buy the part about Alzheimers in '85. I think that is part of the big lie regarding Reagan, it has been repeated over and over and people take it as fact.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Two recent events have really been bothering me. The first is the prosecution of Lt. Colonel West in Iraq who used some rather unorthodox methods to glean information regarding a plot to kill him and the soldiers under his command. Colonel West threatened to kill an Iraqi policeman who he believed had information on the pending plot. He fired two shots near the man's head to frighten him - it worked, the policeman divulged the names of several people involved as well as the place and time. Colonel West saved some lives that day. Call me crazy, but I cut people in a war zone a little extra slack. He included his actions in his official report and was suspended from command and is currently under investigation.

The second, more recent event was the death of Nathaniel Jones during an altercation with Cincinnati police. The initial reports I heard regarding this seemed bound and determined to make it Rodney King redux, the race aspect was definitely played up. Scott and I were discussing this over lunch today and he mentioned seeing the video on one of the big 3 channels showing one portion of the video without any context (he did mention that Foxnews aired the clip in its entirety). I watched the entire video and think Nathaniel Jones got what he deserved. I don't care what color Mr. Jones was, nor the pigmentation of the police officers. The event needs to be investigated to divulge whether or not the police acted appropriately, end of story.

The connection here, to me at least, is twofold. The first aspect involves the mindset that God forbid we upset the (insert appropriate Grievance Industry® minority here) community so we'll essentially hobble ourselves. In the West case we are fighting Muslims, sorry but there it is. American soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) lives are at stake here, if we offend some Muslims WHO HATE US ANYWAY, so be it. In the Nathaniel Jones case police were called to an incident involving a large, belligerent, drugged up man and resolved the situation when attacked. WHO CARES what color they were. The second and more important aspect here is that the work the police and the military perform is a very serious, very dangerous, and very necessary business. We cannot put these people in the situation of constantly being questioned and second guessed. They cannot perform their roles properly when they are not certain they will be supported when the going gets tough.

The sorts of incidents seem to be media driven in many cases, especially with the glut of information available at our fingertips in this day and age. The non-ending hype, speculation and spin seems to pressure police administrators or army brass into doing "something" which is usually the wrong thing. It is up to us as citizens to help effect changes that will allow the Colonel Wests and Cincinnati police to perform their jobs fully, safely and without worry of recrimination.

You're right, this was likely an intentional deception by the EU, as well as Bill Clinton, who jumped onto the feel good environment bandwagon knowing full well his administration wouldn't have to deal with the consequences of this flawed treaty. Those on the left will never delve into these facts, however. All you'll hear from them will be the the mainstream media headlines "Bush pulls out of Kyoto" and "EU blasts Bush for pulling out of Kyoto" repeated ad nauseum, until they become part of the collective consciousness of the left.

Environmentalists have pitted capitalism against environmentalism as if they were 100% incompatible. Therefore, they give no consideration to any economic concern associated with this treaty. All they know if that Bush backed out of an environmental agreement, which just adds to their "Bush is Satan" obsession. (Oh, wait, they don't believe in Satan.) A quick trip to the Sierra Club's website (I refuse to link) will show, if you can wade through the immature anti Bush cartoons and rhetoric, that each and every one of their pie in the sky environmental "solutions" is accompanied by a huge and expensive government agency or subsidy to carry out the solution. It seems that they believe that in order to be an environmentalist, one must also be socialist. Their true motivations are apparent, and thankfully we have leadership that doesn't pander to these clowns.

You're right; it was likely an intentional deception on the part of the EU, as well as from Bill Clinton who signed us up knowing his administration would not have to deal with the consequences of the treaty.

You touch on one of things that really annoys me about our lefty friends here in the US: The belief that Europeans are somehow more sophisticated and intelligent than Americans, and therefore should serve as a role model for us. A brief look at the 20th century (not to mention prior European history) shows us the result of European "sophistication." WWI and WWII both began with infighting between the "sophisticated" Europeans, and required US intervention to remedy. I can only imagine what would have resulted in the Cold War if the only thing between the Soviet Union and complete world domination was "sophisticated" Europe. We now have the current stagnation of the EU as a shining example of mediocrity. It would be wise for us to avoid using people as role models who have been unable to keep their houses in order for the whole of the 20th century, and are showing no signs of learning from hundreds of years of mistakes.

This is not to say I dislike Europeans. In fact, the opposite is true. On the whole, however, they choose lousy governments.

Perhaps I am misreading you, but I think you are giving the EU too much credit here. I believe that they deliberately signed Kyoto without any real intention of honoring it. As long as they professed the proper sentiments on the matter they were in the right, how they actually acted on it was not important. This sort of behavior seems to be par for the course with the EU(read: France and Germany). The EU Stability and Growth Pact furor leaps to mind.

What angers me is that President Bush was completely honest and forthcoming about why he would not sign the treaty and comes off in the world press as evil personified. Meanwhile the cynical EU members who said what was necessary to get good press with no intentions of acting on it, are defended to the end by those who honestly believe that a temperature change over 50 years of less than 1° C is catastrophic! Apparently this is what is meant by European "sophistication" - lying, while American "naivete" seems to equate to honesty. I'll take naivete any day of the week.
It looks like The Kyoto Protocol is dead. The irony here (and this will come as sour news to the lefties) is that the European Union, the most vocal Kyoto supporter, is on pace to miss it's emission targets. Remember the wailing that went on when Bush pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocol? Nobody whined louder than the EU, and now those hypocrites are breaking the same rules they shunned us for rejecting. No doubt that they have discovered what the President knew all along; that following the guidelines in this treaty would have a devastating effect on the world economy. With the EU in shaky economic condition to begin with, it looks like they simply cannot afford to take their own medicine.

I know this is becoming a mantra on this site, but once again we see the tendency of the left to make decisions based on what feels good versus what will actually be effective. The fact that the whole concept of the treaty is based on very sketchy science makes it that much more laughable. What the President has done for us here is to save us from the economic damage that the treaty would inevitably have caused us, as well as the political embarrassment that the EU is experiencing right now for not having the strength of their own convictions. Of course, to the left this will not matter. The EU made the politically correct decision, so this will shield them from all but some lip service criticism from environmentalists for failing to comply with Kyoto. Challenging their socialist pals in Europe would just be way to stressful for the environmental left. Better to stay nice and cozy in their bubble of obsessive Bush hatred and disdain for all things American.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Peter Ferrara outlines a simple cure for the illness that is our social security system (thanks to While I'd like to see much more privatization than this, It's truly amazing what a little dose of free market capitalism could do for our ridiculous Social Security system. Unfortunately, it will be an uphill battle to get anything like this passed, as it would decrease the population's dependence on the government, thus eroding the democratic power base. We certainly can't have people running around making decisions for themselves about their own future! Imagine the chaos! Our Social Security system is representative of what socialism always ends up becoming in practice: diluted, inefficient, and substandard services for everyone.

Monday, December 01, 2003


It sounds as if Sarah needs some real world experience, if I had to guess I'd wager she's a college student studying some form of "environmental sciences". My first thought on reading her diatribe was pretty much what Scott mentioned in his post below- facts are facts regardless of whether or not the source is agreeable to you. Sarah neatly sidestepped facts and went with the tried and true ad hominem attack. When in doubt attack individuals and impugn motives, but for God's sake don't address the issues! Unfortunately this approach has had much success in recent years, if you say something often enough people will begin to believe it or worse, repeat it without any thought whatsoever.

Nonetheless, her little rant came nowhere near the issue of the almost complete fiscal irresponsibility within Americorps. It is a program she supports and probably makes her "feel good", so instead of reading the Cato study and perhaps having her eyes opened she just starts swinging. Perhaps Americorps can be "fixed" (although I'll never support it) but with Sarah's attitude it will just limp on and siphon its little bit off the public teat. If enough people on both sides of the aisle looked at the facts regarding Americorps and were outraged and demanded change perhaps some real progress could be made.

Sarah's email and a few conversations I had over the last week bring me to something that has been bothering me more and more. I realize it is human nature to want to do something that makes us feel good, but this needs to be weighed against the long term impact and overall effect of such actions. So many liberals support issues that make them feel good (welfare programs, rights for illegal immigrants, ending "exploitation" of Third World employees, etc., ad nauseum) without considering the big picture and the long range consequences. Maybe that Third World employee is rather looking forward to weekly wages higher than he now earns in a year, or the fact that these jobs will eventually increase the standard of living across the board. They don't stop to think about the long-term effects of welfare programs that almost 2 generations of people have become dependent on. It all boils down to selfishness in the guise of altruism. I'm sick to death of it and will, as Scott suggests, be very vocal about it - "feelings" be damned.

Yes, Sara needs to stop by for some debate. I was pleased to see that her first reaction to the article was to attack the motive of The Cato Institute. Here we go again. Let's not even deal with the facts; let's spew fear uncertainty and doubt about Cato's motives so we don't have to face the facts they use to support their argument. Unfortunately for Sara, facts are facts, and they are equally valid no matter who decides to point them out. After all, discounting a fact based on the person who points it out would be discrimination, wouldn't it.

The Cato Institute is widely respected by people on both sides of the aisle in Washington as well as in countless other circles. You can hardly watch a couple of hours of TV news without seeing an interview with someone from Cato. I'm not talking about just Fox here; all of the major news outlets rely on Cato's scholars for analysis. Their research is impeccable and exhaustive, and even though I do not always agree with their conclusions, there is no denying the quality of the information that they provide. Calling them a totally biased conservative "research firm" (I love the scare quotes) shows how truly ignorant Sara is. If she would bother to take look at Cato's web site, she would realize that Cato's positions on a great many issues, including the war in Iraq, differ from that of the conservative mainstream. Sara would do well not to discount such a great organization. I'm sure there's good information on their site that would back many of her opinions. Sadly, all we get from Sara is a criticism of The Cato Institute, a few criticisms of Cato's findings, and some anti-republican rhetoric. She misses an opportunity to point Sue to some data that supports her viewpoint, which leads me to believe there isn't any, or she is unaware of it, which is even worse.

I do agree with her point that capitalism doesn't work as well when you mix in regulation and subsidies, as we are prone to do. We should not, however, accept these regulations as a given, as Sara seems to suggest. The more free we can make the market the greater the chances will be for everyone to find prosperity. This does not have to come at the expense of the environment, although I understand the environmental movement sees capitalism and environmentalism as incompatible. Ironically, The Cato institute has some good data to support the notion that a free economy is a friend to the environment, but don't expect the environmentalists to read, much less quote from, this information any time soon. Emerging from the ideological womb can be soooooo scary.
Kerry, your argument with the jihadist reflects a similar experience I had over the holiday discussing a multitude of issues with some liberals that I know. An underlying current is present in all of these discussions, as well as in the frothing at the mouth taking place at It is becoming more and more evident that a growing number of people are so entrenched ideologically that logic has no effect on them whatsoever. Unfortunately, their ideology is often based on assumption and empty rhetoric. You can paint them an absolutely clear picture of the facts, complete with multiple, reliable sources to back up your points, and their belief system will filter it all out. Again, we see the tendency to attack motive when the facts aren't on their side. President Bush, for one, is so hated by the left (and others) that he literally can do nothing to please them. No matter what he accomplishes, it will instantly be twisted and questioned and spun into a negative. This is out of fear, of course. If their sworn enemy turns out to know what he's talking about, then their whole house of cards belief system gets hit with a Daisy Cutter.

I for one am glad that the President, at least when it comes to Iraq, hasn't offered to "reach out" to the Democrats. He's going to be vilified anyway, so he might as well get some positive work done while he's at it. Unfortunately, those on the left are often too afraid to face up to the tough decisions in life, like what we face with Iraq. Their belief in a social utopia forces them to shun any decision that doesn't have the veneer of compassion and "doing the right thing" all over it, along with the promise of no "down side." To the left, the means justify the ends, and any attempt to apply logic to dislodge them from dreamland just leaves them rocking back and forth in the corner in fetal position.

My recent experiences with the emotional left have led me to a believe that the only way to actually convince them that they have it wrong would be for there to be an unprecedented period of prosperity in this country under non-Democratic leadership. I'm talking 25 years minimum. Of course there will always be hold outs, but it's hard to keep your heart bleeding when your own life and the lives of the people around you are going well. While this is certainly a pie in the sky scenario, I see it as the only way any real progress is going to be made in weaning people off the socialist mindset. Of course, this could backfire, as greater prosperity would just mean more available funds to plunder under the guise of "helping the less fortunate."

In the meantime, we should all speak often and loudly about these issues. As I learned over the past few days, feelings get hurt and egos get bruised, but this stuff is too important to avoid for the sake of keeping fragile emotions intact. If you can't hold it together for a discussion, then real life is going to pile drive you into oblivion. Let's not let the "think happy thoughts" crowd decide what's best for us.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Warning:  Extreme Assclown          This guy is a complete assclown. Check out his endorsements page. I think it is rather telling that this extremist, leftwing pisswit balkanizes the people who endorse him into little politically correct groupings. It is a perfect microcosm of the entire leftwing philosophy. By subdividing further and further you can create more and more dissent between the various victims groups until EVERYONE is a victim and needs the government to redress their grievances.

EDIT: I almost did a spit-take when I read that Danny Glover (in the African-American category of course) is an "Actor, UN Messenger of Peace". I am NOT making this up.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Re: Hillary's Baghdad visit

Here's an encouraging anecdote.
Nobody seems to have pointed out that the President's Thanksgiving day visit to Baghdad completely neutralized Hillary Clinton's similar visit. This bodes well in terms of campaign savvy if these two end up going head to head in 2004, which still is a distinct possibility. It is laughable that some are calling the President's visit a stunt or a shameless political maneuver, while the queen of souless politics is treated as if she just couldn't stand to be away from her beloved troops. If I were stationed in Iraq I'd have a really hard time not showing Hillary my ass.
Sigh. This sort of thing is going to have to change.
The EU has begun planning its own army. Oooh! Better watch out Liberia! Settle down Lichtenstein! Oh, Serbia? They're *cough* too powerful, someone could get hurt *cough* not OUR problem....
"If it were to die completely, it would take on a mythical grandeur and like Obi Wan Kenobi become more powerful as a spirit than in physical form."
Just like Che Guevera. Good point.
I've decided that it would not be a good thing for socialism to be eradicated from the planet. It would be much better for it to crop up every now and again (hopefully outside the U.S.) just to serve as an example of man's folly in trying to reengineer society. If it were to die completely, it would take on a mythical grandeur and like Obi Wan Kenobi become more powerful as a spirit than in physical form. Here's to the French and the Germans keeping the flame alive for a while, and here's to the unfortunate souls in the other EU nations that are strapped in for the ride of their lives.

Kerry, I also wanted to thank you for your info on Mary Magdalene a few posts back. I learned something, and put the information to good use in some recent political discussions. I stand corrected.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Looks as if the minor EU members are getting boned again by France and Germany. They should just rename the EU the "Greater French-German Co-prosperity Sphere" as the other European countries are going to get as good a deal as Asia did under Japan during WWII.
Hmmm, didn't see anything about this in the lamestream media.
Spin this:

"I just wanted to drop you guys a note from here in downtown Baghdad where I interact with the local population on a daily basis. The President's visit was even more of a morale boost to the Iraqis than it was to the troops. When the President of the U.S.A. visits a place like this, it's like the most popular kid in school coming to a party hosted by the A.V. club. The Iraqis feel validated and Al Jazeera looked foolish in the eyes of the Iraqis trying to find a negative spin to the story.

George Bush's visit has made my job easier in showing that we are committed to helping this country. I had Iraqis wishing me "Happy Thanksgiving" all day today (they only learned of the holiday by finding out the reason why Bush came to visit us).

Just wanted to give you the perspective from the street here in Baghdad."

Hat tip to NRO Corner
I agree Kerry. How long do you think it will take the Bushophobes to spin this into another "reckless stunt" like the aircraft carrier landing? It will be tougher for them to pull it off, since it was a holiday visit to the troops, but rest assured they will attempt to use this against the President.

How pissed are the terrorists in Baghdad now that they let The Mothership slip right past them?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


That tribute was nice, and I can attest from my limited experience in the reserves that it is right on target. I met some pretty amazing people who were " bright and talented and could do anything..." but chose to serve their country anyway. I have a lot of respect for these people.

The other thing that really struck me was the quote by Thomas Paine: "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my children may have peace." I am still eligible to be called up for 3 more years, and while it would be very hard, I would go without complaint. The sentiment expressed in that quote alone pretty much sums things up for me.

That's a nice tribute. Much to the surprise of the left, our troops are doing exactly what they believe in and are committed to finishing the job. People often say that one of the things the troops are fighting for is the right of the lefties to freely express their opinions, and they are correct. Unfortunately, the left does not believe that the troops are fighting for them in any way. The great thing about our soldiers is that they fight on, completely unaffected by those who deep down don't care a fig about them. Thank God we have them, for I would hate to see what would happen if all we could muster in times of crisis were a bunch sisified liberals.



That master slave thing is a flaming crock of shit. As if all our bloated social welfare programs aren't enough for those who would rather not work for a living. This clown has to file a discrimination lawsuit against the use of a technical term? The time is ripe for a loser pays legal system. We'll see how many of society's moochers will try this crap if there's a chance they might have to fork over some cash.


Stupid sons of whores.
Cal Thomas takes a swing at the last congress. I couldn't agree more. The confetti hasn't even settled yet from the celebration of the Republicans winning over congress, and this is the performance they turn in? This is why I'm a Libertarian. I already pay nearly 50% of every dime I make back into the government teet fund, and these supposed fiscal conservatives are greasing my ass for even more. At the end of the day, Republicans suck only fractionally less than Democrats. Congress needs an enema.

Geez, you guys are getting way ahead of me here. I'll try to catch up.

Tom, I agree that ideally government shouldn't be involved whatsoever in marriage. The polygamist example I gave was simply to point out that you don't necessarily open up the floodgates when you allow same sex civil unions; it is possible to draw the line here based on financial practicality. I see this as an imperfect but much more realistic solution to the issue. While I would support government getting out of marriage, I would expect many on the right would equate this with the destruction of the institution and lose their minds over it.

Kerry, you're right in that we're approaching this from different perspectives. I think it's very positive and often necessary to apply social pressure against behavior that is legal yet potentially destructive (smoking, drinking, burning flags, etc.) Being aware of this difference is the important thing. People too often want the government to outlaw things that bother them, without any regard for the fact that they are jeopardizing their own rights in the process.

I also agree that same sex partners are truly looking to have their partnerships viewed on an equal footing with traditional marriages. Again, the legal vs moral issue crops up. As long as the government views the relationships equally, then nobody can bitch from a legal standpoint. There are those who would like to make it illegal to think less of a homosexual relationship, but they belong in the same asylum as the people that want to outlaw hate speech. I for one am not offended by the desire for homosexuals to have their relationships on an equal footing with a same sex marriage, but I understand the reasons some people are. I think it gets to the point that people are fighting over trivialities that should best be left alone. Obviously there has to be something unique about a same sex marriage, as that is the only way people can procreate. I'm just not sure why people on both sides of this get so upset over what other people's perceptions are. It reminds me of the quote from Adlai Stevenson "America can choke on a gnat but swallow a tiger whole."


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Scott, regarding your post on the cluster-fuck that is the EU, it is going to be REALLY amusing if they ratify strict emissions controls at next week's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. I'll be all chucklehouse (I used it!) as they enter a full-fledged depression, although one can't help feeling sorry for average Europeans being led into a hellish skein of legal minutiae by unelected bureaucrats.

Oh, and this doesn't bode well for Europe in their plans to overpower the USA economically. United States of Europe. Pshaw.
"I would allow polygamy, but only allow marital benefits for one spouse. While this is an uncomfortable compromise, it is a necessary evil."

Scott, are you advocating the government getting involved or even mandating marital benefits? That doesn't sound like the boy with the libertarian bent that I know. While I think if people want to live together in a polygamous (or same-sex) relationship they should be allowed to, government should not be involved in anyway in marriage, civil unions, etc. What I am getting at is that the government shouldn't be denying rights to certain groups that could lead to diminished rights for all down the road, they sure as hell shouldn't be pushing legislation for them either. The only "benefits" being discussed should be in the workplace between the employer and employee.

That being said, if you are going to allow polygamy through legislation, you can't limit rights to one spouse. It's not only hypocritical but perpetuates problems due to the fact that it is a half-assed compromise. This is part of the problem with the abortion compromise.

As far as "There are practical reasons polygamists will not be allowed civil unions. Chief among these is the fact that one spouse will be disproportionately draining governmental benefits" - since when has this been a disqualifying factor? Christ, I can see the Dem presidential nominees running for the microphones to announce this as a plank in their platforms and evidence of how much they "care".

To answer your questions:

Do you support the right for homosexuals to have children by artificial insemination?
Do you support the right for homosexuals to adopt children?

Yes on both. I can't think of a single reason why we should deny homosexuals this right that doesn't violate the constitution. While I agree that this is not the optimal parental scheme, if that becomes the standard by which we judge people's right to have/ adopt children then we open up the door to government putting up all kinds of other qualifications for insemination/ adoption (intelligence, race, health, age, etc.) If we care about our own rights, we must accept that denying these same rights to homosexual couples could diminish our own freedom down the road.

Do you believe that there are inherent defenses biologically between men and women that make an ideal family consist of a mother and a father when possible?

Yes, but there is no ideal family, and all families are flawed. The other parental attributes (love, responsibility, discipline, etc.) are far more important than gender. A homosexual couple with all of those qualities will raise better children than a heterosexual couple without them. Again, "qualifying" for being a parent is a slippery slope.

As far as opening the door to polygamists, etc, you have a point. However, this issue, like the issue of abortion, is going to be defined in its gray areas. There are practical reasons polygamists will not be allowed civil unions. Chief among these is the fact that one spouse will be disproportionately draining governmental benefits due to his/ her multiple spouses. I would allow polygamy, but only allow marital benefits for one spouse. While this is an uncomfortable compromise, it is a necessary evil. Our abortion laws have similar gray areas (you can have an abortion but not certain types of abortions.) Perhaps it's a bit untidy but you have to do this to keep from cutting your own nose off.

Re: Gay marriage

Can I marry my mother when she is old so she can share my health benefits? Government should have NOTHING to do with marriage whatsoever. It was a religious rite originally until government got in on the action - probably to increase revenues. If people want to live together, and share they're lives together - fine. If a company wants to give the spouse of someone that works for them benefits - fine. But government should not be involved.
About the EU: I want a front row seat for that train wreck. The failure of the EU will hopefully mark the end of socialism as a significant political force, as well as the end of the ridiculous American perception that the Europeans are somehow more sophisticated and intelligent, despite their abysmal modern track record. Europe is on it's way to being the largest 3rd world country in history, but there are millions of bozos in America that think we should follow their lead and let them make national security decisions for us.

You won't see this kind of news coming out of Europe any time soon.
My 2¢ on gay marriage: You cannot simultaneously call yourself a Christian and deny two people who love each other the right to form a civil union, and all that comes with it. While I understand that there is some sensitivity about using the actual word "marriage", due to religious beliefs as well as due to it's definition of being a union between a man and a woman, you're not hearing the gay community whining about definitions. All they want is the right to form a civil union (call it whatever you want) and receive the same legal benefits that a straight couple would. Denying gay couples the right to form a civil union is no different from denying black couples the same right. Those who would use the few Old Testament lines denouncing homosexual acts as the basis of their argument need to read the New Testament (you remember that, don't you) where Jesus pretty much spends his whole adult life talking about forgiveness and compassion. He also spends a considerable amount time in the company of a whore, but he didn't lobby to have her rights taken from her. I would also point out that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say "when in doubt, check the Bible."

It all boils down to people who have an irrational fear of homosexuality, along with that time tested trait of humanity to not be comfortable unless they have someone or some group to blame for their troubles. Half the people losing their minds fighting gay marriage are cheating on their spouses for crying out loud. Straight people have done more to damage the institution of marriage than all the gay people in history could ever hope to.
This guy knows what is going on.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Thursday, November 20, 2003

You're way out of line, Tom. It's not about results, it's about good intentions.

The more I look into this the more it becomes clear that the so called environmental movement is nothing more than a thinly disguised anti-capitalist club. I came across the term "watermelons" (green on the outside, red on the inside) in one of the articles I linked to in a previous post. If the fruit fits...
This is why I don't recycle.
Those geniuses at the UN are warning that it's only a matter of time before Al Qaeda launches a chemical attack. My 3 year old daughter can see the irony and hypocrisy in this statement. The UN seems adept at restating the obvious, but is reticent to take obvious preventive measures. The icing on the cake is this little nugget: "The report concludes that much tougher measures are needed to oblige 'states to take the mandated measures' against known individuals and entities of al Qaeda and the Taliban and their associates." I will now pause so the world can join me in a giant collective DUHHHHHHHHH! It's frightening that the US and a handful of its allies are the only ones left in the world with the stones to actually confront what is a painfully obvious threat to civilization. The UN clearly knows there is a problem, but can't seem to get behind the solution, because that would mean (gasp!) agreeing with the US and admitting they're all a bunch of impotent pansies. Perhaps they could approve some sanctions and resolutions against Al Qaeda. That'll show em!
Here's an interesting article on the London protestors from NRO. This should tell you a little something about those rabid Bush haters on this side of the pond.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Good points, Kerry. Kyoto was an amazing sham that was so biased against the US that you'd expect that it was crafted in the UN. Among some other atrocities, the limitations placed on us by the Kyoto treaty would have made gasoline prices triple within a year. I'm sure that would have had just a dandy effect on the economy that was sliding into recession. It's that old "intentions are more important than results" leftist mindset again.

One other fact that is overlooked in this article is that the UK is heavily reliant an nuclear power, like much of the rest of Europe. It's no wonder they produce far less greenhouse gases, when you couple that with the fact that their industries are crippled with socialism. The fact that Blair thinks they can reduce their greenhouse emissions by 60% only shows that they are going to become more dependent on nuclear energy. You won't hear US environmentalists talking up this fact any time soon. There is no greater Satan to the Sierra Club crowd than nuclear power. To them, we should just go back to a 17th century lifestyle; that will solve everything.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Neal Boortz deals a swift kick in the nuts to the ludicrous prescription drugs benefit that congress is contemplating. What people forget is that elderly people weren't born elderly. Last I checked, all of them lived for many many years before becoming elderly, which gave them plenty of time to PLAN FOR THEIR FUTURE. If you walk this earth for 60+ years and then suddenly look up and realize that you're uninsured and can't afford to take care of yourself, then there's about a 95% chance that your own poor decision making got you there. Either that, or you knew that the leftists would come to your rescue (in exchange for your vote) and take money from those who are saving for their own future in order to cover your ass. Actually, that sounds like a good plan. I'm going to go buy a Ferrari.
Here's some good observations from George Will regarding the Democrats' conundrum in nominating Howard Dean. One thing I'll add: I'm not nearly as giddy as many non-democrats are about a Bush vs. Dean election. If the election happened today Bush would likely crush him, but I remember a lot of people saying that about a certain Arkansas governor a few years back when there was another Bush in the White House. It's too bad Lieberman is such an inept campaigner. Bush would likely crush him as well, but at least if he won we wouldn't go into a socialist death spiral. We would, however, have to listen to him talk for 4 years. Eeeew.
What you guys said. Sorry, I just wanted to post SOMETHING, I've been quite busy lately....
You're absolutely right Kerry. Unfortunately, the percentage of citizens that fall into the "undecided" and "no opinion" categories seems to get larger every day. They can all tell you who is left on Survivor, though. As Plato said, "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Excellent point Scott. It reminds me of Bill Clinton and all the praise he received for being the most caring President ever. It didn't matter that he actually did zilch to help people - he SAID he cared and acted outraged and bit his lip. This was his version of pointing at the Prius in the driveway. So basically what I'm saying is that these Hollywood bozos WILL get away with fooling many people into thinking that they're wonderful, amazing eco-pussies. By the way, environmentally friendly or not the Toyota Prius is imminent death on wheels. You will die when you strike a squirrel, but at least you'll feel good about yourself. Guilt is indeed a powerful incentive.
Hollywood celebrities will drive Toyota Priuses precisely long enough to realize that they are environmentally friendly shitboxes, and then they will retreat to their BMW's and Range Rovers precisely as Ms. Anniston did. You have to give them credit for living the life of the common man long enough to show us the way to environmental nirvana, though. Owning a Prius will essentially become a way for celebrities to relieve themselves of the guilt of owning a stable of other 4 wheel indulgences. It doesn't matter if you actually drive the Prius, as long as you can point to it in your driveway when you start getting heat for taking your Hummer out shopping on Rodeo drive. Toyota knew what they were doing when they marketed these cars to the Hollywood elite; guilt is a powerful incentive.

Friday, November 14, 2003

CNN proves once again that any headline becomes more controversial when you add the term SUV to it. I suppose if our forces in Iraq used Humvees in an attack on Iraqi insurgents, the headline would read "Iraqis killed by U.S. SUV's."