How to lose to terrorists
Bottom line -- do what the liberals want and we will lose.
Offending readers with over-heated drivel on politics, sports and whatever interests me.
This morning a couple of Chinese reporters interviewed me for a pre-recorded radio show at my local cafe. Our waiter, Ido, is a gentle, perpetually smiling, slightly clumsy guy in his mid-twenties who wears his wild, curly hair pulled away from his face with a headband and shuffles around in sagging jeans and Birkenstocks. At one point he told me that he'd just received an emergency call-up notice for army reserve duty; when I translated this into English for the Chinese reporters, one of them looked at Ido with an amazed, "does not compute" look and said to me, "But he looks so normal! He's going to put on a uniform and...kill?"
So, let me get this straight: The Democrats can condone the things that elected officials who are also barking moonbats - like Maxine Waters and Pete Stark - tell their far-out constituencies. They can swallow their pride and live with Bob Casey saying he's pro-life - supposedly an "out of the mainstream" position - to get elected in Pennsylvania. But they can't understand the things al-Maliki has to say and do to get elected in Iraq?
Let's make this real simple. The US is never going to get anywhere asking friendly Arab and/or Muslim governments to side with Israel. It is more than enough for them to decline to aid Israel's enemies, and deny them safe haven within their borders. If every state in the region did that, as Iraq does, Israel's problems would be few and limited.
Oops, I've made the mistake again of treating the Democrats as if they were serious about foreign policy again. They're actually just trying to triangulate a way to be anti-Iraqi (and thus placate the left-wing anti-war anti-Israel base) while at the same time appearing pro-Israel (to mollify the Jewish liberals who remain faithful Democratic donors and voters in the face of mounting evidence of who Israel's real friends in Washington are). As usual, the raw calculation at work is obvious.
The teachers unions
For at least two decades one of the strongest institutional forces in the Democratic Party has been the teachers unions. Something like 20 percent of the delegates to Democratic national conventions have been members of the National Education Association, and in state politics the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers have been exceedingly powerful forces. Yet now there are signs that important leaders of the Democratic Party are souring on the teachers unions. Mickey Kaus has a good roundup on this.
I have long thought it anomalous that smart and elite-university-educated Democrats have supported the teachers unions, which have done so much to provide mediocre or worse education, especially for the poor children whom the Democrats claim to care about. The unions want high pay, minimal accountability, and light workloads; they insist on assigning teachers by seniority (rather than letting principals hire and fire teachers); they fight charter schools and school choice, even within the public school systems; they have tended to oppose mandatory testing. But they shovel lots of money to the Democratic Party money that comes from their public salaries via teachers' dues payments. It's a great system for the union leaders, for the Democratic Party for everybody except the kids.
In 1970 the late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel said this:
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another is trying to destroy it.
This is an apt articulation of a startling truth, but it still fails to capture the whole reality. With the New York Times leaking national secrets, liberals granting constitutional protections to terrorists, and some of our western ‘allies’ buttressing our enemies, an updated version of the statement should read:
Democratic civilization is the first in history to actively assist those who try to destroy it.
Let's look at where liberal Democrats stand on national security. They oppose military action against hostile nations like North Korea when they are in the process of developing nuclear weapons; they oppose systems that might defend us from nuclear weapons after these hostile nation develop them; they oppose any serious effort to secure our border from terrorist infiltration and would condition even a relatively unserious effort on the granting amnesty for millions of illegals; they oppose obtaining information from terrorists through interrogation techniques that stop short of inflicting physical pain; and they even have reservations about surveillance techniques that enable us to listen-in on terrorists.
If one didn't appreciate the knee-jerk nature of their opposition to defense and national security measures, one could easily conclude that liberal Democrats have a unified strategy for not defending the country.
In order to engage in a truly serious discussion you must have a strong point of agreement. The best debates are always between people who, basically, agree. That’s why the intramural sparring among conservatives can be so interesting. Granted, it is sometimes maddening and self-defeating, but it is always interesting and usually important. But the fighting between liberals almost always seems unhinged. They are always searching for their "core." When you have to look for it, you don’t have one. When everything goes it seems nothing makes any sense. It doesn’t seem serious, focused, or relevant.
A profitable company is to shutter a factory it built in 1992 as part of a much-hailed visionary strategy to take advantage of technology. But now it is just a cost to be cut. Eight hundred jobs, many of them well-paying blue collar positions (supposedly an endangered species) will disappear, while managerial and professional jobs are being protected.
Normally, this would be a juicy target for series of articles on the front and business pages of the New York Times. You know the drill: a parade of blue collar people victimized by the Bush administration, and now facing a bleak future. Meanwhile the insiders make out fine. There’s even a fat cat CEO whose compensation package has done a whole lot better than its profits or stock. If Howell Raines still were editor, he’d get at least 40 stories out of it.
But today, the company in question is the New York Times Company. So don’t expect the same rules to apply.
Nothing personal – it’s just business.
Here's a fantastic idea that will make everybody richer. Let's pass a law setting a minimum price on used cars. How about, say, $15 thousand?
If you've got an old beater you want to sell, and you were worried that you'd only get a couple thousand bucks for it, then this law is for you! Now you'll get $15 thousand for it!
This law would help the least fortunate Americans most of all. Those with the lowest incomes tend to own the oldest cars in the worst condition. With this law, they'll be assured of getting a terrific price.
There's just one problem. There are lots of used cars that no one wants to buy for $15 thousand. If you want to sell one of those, under this new law chances are that you wouldn't be able to sell it at all. The $15 thousand minimum prices you right out of the market.
And the poor people whom this law was supposed to help? They'd actually get hurt two ways by it. Not only would they not be able to sell their used cars. At the same time, they wouldn't be able to buy a used car either -- since now they'd have to pay $15 thousand for it, which they can't afford (and which it probably isn't worth, anyway).
So who would support a law this stupid? Well… actually, you might -- without even realizing it.
If you support minimum wage laws, then you're supporting the very same logic underlying this crazy idea of a minimum price for used cars. (Thanks to Don Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University, for the colorful metaphor.)
If a law forces employers to pay no less than, say, $10 an hour -- then employers will simply not hire anyone for jobs that are really worth less than that. And they'll fire anyone who was doing those jobs at a lower wage, before the law was passed.
Which leaves the low-wage earner with a rather stark choice. Would he rather be employed at $9 an hour, or unemployed at $10 an hour?
We can start on page 6 of the PDF file, where the plaintiffs lay out the facts of the case. Paragraph 18b starts us off down the primrose path (emphases mine):
On May 6, 2003, the New York Times published a column by Nicholas Kristof which disputed the accuracy of the "sixteen words" in the State of the Union address. The column reported that, following a request from the Vice President's office for an investigation of allegations that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger, an unnamed former ambassador [now known to be Plaintiff Joseph C. Wilson IV] was sent on a trip to Niger in 2002 to investigate the allegations. According to the column, the ambassador reported back to the CIA and State Department in early 2002 that the allegations were unequivocally wrong and based on forged documents.
Note the qualifying phrase, According to the column. The complaint never mentions two salient facts: (1) Joe Wilson was Kristof's source, and (2) Wilson reported nothing of the kind. According to Wilson's own testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Prime Minister of Niger told him the exact opposite
"The election in Canada was partly about the tarsands projects in Alberta," Gore told a crowd at the Sundance film festival in Utah. "The financial interests behind the tarsands poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election ... and to protect their interests."
Apparently Gore was unaware that Canadian election law caps company donations at $1,000 a year, or that natural resources are controlled by provincial governments and not the feds. But why let facts get in the way of a good smear?
This week he was at it again, using an interview with Rolling Stone magazine to suggest development of the oilsands is "truly nuts" - equivalent to a junkie looking for a fix. "They have to tear up four tonnes of landscape, all for one barrel of oil," moaned Gore. "It seems reasonable, to them, because they've lost sight of their lives."
Gore also has a Michael Moore-style movie out -- An Inconvenient Truth - that tries to dramatize the eye-glazing greenhouse gas slide-show presentation that the former Veep has been boring audiences with for two decades (I have had the misfortune to sit through it twice).
Among Gore's more outrageous nose-stretchers in the film is the claim that scientists agree global warming could produce a 20-foot rise in sea level. A 2005 joint statement by the science academies of the Western nations, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, actually estimates a worst-case scenario of 35 inches.
But, again, why bother with facts when you're on a crusade?
Gore ignores the reality that the countries that signed Kyoto, including Canada, have thus far committed a gargantuan $150 billion to hypothetically reduce the average global temperature by 0.0015 degrees Celsius. At that rate it would take around 665 years and $100 trillion to reduce it by one full degree Celsius. (Numbers courtesy of JunkScience.com, and official government data.)
In 1990, the government set up an independent election monitoring agency, IFE, which seems to be well above partisan politics and to be competently run. For 1994 and 2000, the government put into effect systems designed to produce clean elections. Every voter has a high-tech voter ID card, with picture, fingerprint, and hologram, and is required to show it at the polls. (In contrast, some Democrats in the United States make the preposterous claim that it is a violation of civil rights to require a voter to show a picture ID to vote.) Then a fingerprint is taken, and the finger is stained with indelible ink (you can see it on the fingers of the news media people on television on election night). Only very limited absentee voting is allowed, for the first-time year; IFE workers examine each absentee ballot with ultraviolet light and scan bar codes to verify their authenticity. Mexican elections today seem to have much less vote fraud than elections in the United States.
Early on in this conflict, the terrorists successfully and rather easily converted the MSM to their cause; primarily because the ideologies that motivate the two are so compatible; and it is only through the freedom of the internet that at least a portion of the American public can begin to see the terrorists for the murderous thugs they are; and understand that America--as always, no matter what her flaws may be--remains on the side of truth, justice, and freedom.
The press in this country have always been free; but lately, their freedom has become like that of a drunk driver--so intoxicated by his own power and moral righteousness; and so convinced of his own invulnerabilty; so grandiose and lacking of insight and judgment; that he is unable to appreciate the suicidal and homicidal danger he now represents.
If not for the internet and for all the independent sources of news; if not for milbloggers like Tim Boggs who report directly from the frontlines without the guile or deceit; if not for the dissemination of the truth to counter the continuous propaganda of the enemy, printed and trumpeted daily in our own news media--the terrorists would have already achieved a final victory.
al-Qaida never need to sign the Conventions now, do they? As the ultimate beneficiaries of the progressive mindset, they get all the benefits with none of the obligations. We're bound, they're not. If you're captured with the severed head of a U.S. soldier in your knapsack, you're covered by Geneva -- and, as your victim learned a mile back up the road, it's too late for him to call his lawyer.
In the broader scheme, Justice Stevens and co, in torturing the language to explain why the international jihad is not "international," have paradoxically conferred quasi-sovereignty on al-Qaida and its affiliates. The obvious question then is: doesn't that also apply to every other "non-state actor" out there? When Hezbollah blew up that Jewish community center and killed 100 people in Buenos Aires in 1994, surely that too was (as Justice Stevens would see it) an "armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting States." In fact, under this definition, what isn't?