Saturday, June 28, 2008

Starving On The Cold Darkling Plain (Part 7,835,835)

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Halts Solar Projects Over Environment Fears.

Okay: Nukes are out, coal is filthy, wind power destroys Ted Kennedy's view,
and solar leads to "environment fears." Do they just want us all to freeze in
the dark? Pretty much, I'd say . . . .

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The First Three Must Change

All across America, schools are confronted with Shakirs who either do not show
up for school or who attend school but hang out in the hallways, bathrooms, and
other hideaways.
What can the schools do, confronted with thousands of Shakirs all across America? Many schools are just passing the kids through, just biding time until the kids are no longer the responsibility of the school. Why Shakir can't read is the same reason many black kids in America can't read: the kid's own lack of interest in education, his unstable home life with a single parent who doesn't care, a community that regards education as being destructive of black authenticity, and school systems which are burnt out with the stress of dealing with such kids.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the school cannot do it all; for, education is essentially reciprocal. Therefore, the first three must change before school systems can produce Shakirs who can read.

And The Conditions For Liberal Democracy Are No Longer Extant In The West, Umm, Britney World Either...

This weekend there will be voices in our Prime Minister's ear suggesting how
in one bound he might cast off his dithering reputation. To help to broker the
toppling of Robert Mugabe (they will whisper) might be just the sort of
history-making that rescued Margaret Thatcher from doldrums at home, before
Galtieri invaded the Falklands. In The Times this week Lord (Paddy) Ashdown of
Norton-sub-Hamdon suggested that intervention may become necessary. Mr Brown
will think hard about this; list the pros; list the cons; dither; and finally
decide it's all too difficult.

Well let's hear it for dithering. Beware the widely held opinion that all we
need is Robert Mugabe's head on a stick. In Iraq we called this the decapitation
strategy, and duly secured the required head - Saddam's - on the right stick.
Then it all went wrong. The ingredients necessary for a liberal democracy were
not, it turned out, there. Why should things be different in Africa?


I have mentioned only the current cases in which periodical publications have
been prosecuted, in the strange new world of “Kafkanada” -- where you can be
tried for the same imaginary “hate crimes” in any or all federal and provincial
jurisdictions, simultaneously or sequentially. A single complaint by any reader
anywhere is enough to launch a secret inquiry. The target has no right to
confront his accuser, and will not at first even be told who he or she

Truth is no defence, the absence of harm is no defence, there are no
rules of evidence -- due process is entirely subverted. The inquisitors of these
kangaroo courts may ultimately reach any “judgement” they please, after months
or years of playing cat-and-mouse with their selected victim.

Protestant minister in Alberta was, for instance, recently ordered to publicly
renounce his Christian beliefs, as well as pay a big lump sum to the
anti-Christian activist who had prosecuted him,

Answer: Ignorance

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Question: Did the murder rate really triple under the Washington, DC, gun ban?

Answer: Yes. The murder rate was 26.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 1976, when the ban became law. That would be its lowest rate for the next 30 years. It peaked at 80.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 1991.

Question: What’s the highest the murder rate has been in gun happy West Virginia in that time?

Answer: 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people.

Question: So why did Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post write: “The practical benefits of effective gun control are obvious: If there are fewer guns, there are fewer shootings and fewer funerals. As everyone knows, in the District of Columbia — and in just about every city in the nation, big or small — there are far too many funerals. The handgun is the weapon of choice in keeping the U.S. homicide rate at a level that the rest of the civilized world finds incomprehensible and appalling.”

Answer: Ignorance.


Obama has often invoked his academic credentials as a proxy for quality
in his opinions, including why he is qualified to find certain judicial nominees
unqualified or to criticize some judicial opinions.

I do not dispute that
he had a significant distinction teaching, as the University of Chicago

But I think most academics expect people claiming to be
academics (or former ones) to have some record of scholarship.

If you
enter "au(obama)" in the Westlaw "Journals and Law Reviews" database, which is
the means to find articles authored by the name in parentheses, you get
nothing.  Zero results; no articles.

Entering "Obama" in a search of
the Social Science Research Network ("SSRN"), a place where most academics place
their published scholarly works, retrieves
zero results
.  Again, no articles/no scholarship.

Anything Please

June 27, 2008: What shape is al Qaeda in? Both U.S. intelligence
officials, and al Qaeda message board traffic seem to agree that the terror
group was defeated in Iraq, and is now gathering for a last stand in Pakistan.
But there have been no numbers released to back this up.
- Al Qaeda representatives and Internet based fans openly discuss the defeat in Iraq, and the much reduced stature of al Qaeda in the Moslem world.
The problem was that too many terrorist resources were being poured into
Iraq, where the main result was the loss of many terrorist leaders and
specialists, and even more innocent Iraqi civilians. That led to a loss of
popularity throughout the Moslem world, and even fewer recruits and
The al Qaeda leaders dare not show themselves, and can do little but
release audio and video messages pleading for supporters around the world to do
something violent for the cause. Anything. Please.

Death By Cell Phone

June 27, 2008: In East Baghdad, and Shia cities throughout the south, the Mahdi Army is no more. The Iran supported group was taken apart by government security forces during the last two months. All that's left of radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr's private army are a few hundred die hard members who are, for the moment, keeping their heads down. And for good reason. While appreciated in 2006 -7 for keeping Sunni Arab terrorists out of Shia neighborhoods, the Mahdi Army quickly evolved into a collection of self-serving thugs. Once civilians realized that the army and police were stronger, and moving in to stay, the cell phones came out and the police were buried in tips about Mahdi Army safe houses and arms caches. Sadr has been hiding out in Iran through all this.
Sunni Arab terrorist diehards are undergoing the same experience up north,
but with more violence. Around Mosul, U.S. Special Forces teams, which have been
chasing al Qaeda leaders for years, are having enormous success.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Missing Objections

Yesterday I wrote that despite Barack Obama’s claims that he believes in the Second Amendment, is a friend to gun owners, never supported a complete ban on handguns (despite a questionnaire from early in his career stating he did), etc., those claims are hard to balance with his approval of Chicago’s effective ban on handguns. In Obama's entire time in the city, there’s no record of him ever objecting to it.
During Obama’s tenure with the Joyce Foundation, donations to anti-gun groups increased dramatically.
In the wake of today’s ruling, you’re going to hear Barack Obama claim passionately that he believes in the Second Amendment and that he is a friend to gun owners. It will be interesting to see how he can rectify that with his efforts to fund books like Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.

Mayor ODaley's Slum Lords

I note this as the Boston Globe takes a comprehensive look at Obama’s efforts at housing as a state legislator and as a U.S. senator, and comes to devastating conclusions. The policy changes Obama pushed have been catastrophic failures for the public, but lucrative for his donors.

As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

What Memory Hole?

It is too often forgotten, not least by historians, that George W. Bush did not invent the idea of deposing the Iraqi tyrant. For years before he came on the scene, removing Saddam Hussein had been a priority embraced by the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton and by Clinton’s most vocal supporters in the Senate:

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons. . . . Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: he has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

These were the words of President Clinton on the night of December 16, 1998 as he announced a four-day bombing campaign over Iraq. Only six weeks earlier, Clinton had signed the Iraq Liberation Act authorizing Saddam’s overthrow—an initiative supported unanimously in the Senate

Hitch Provides Today's Red Meat

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Today's Stopped Clock Moment

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Heck, even The Socialist Worker sees the problem:

BUT WHILE millions grapple with rising mortgage payments or see their wealth evaporate with falling house prices, members of Congress continue to benefit from favorable treatment by mortgage lenders--the very same lenders who will get a bailout if proposed legislation passes.

The housing bill's key backers in the Senate--Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), head of the Senate Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee--both got special deals from the nation's biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide, thanks to their connections with the company's CEO, Angelo Mozilo.

"Dodd, the lead sponsor of the bill, secured no-closing-cost mortgages at interest rates of 4 percent and 4.25 percent, and continues to insist he got no special favors," the Rocky Mountain News reported. Conrad admitted calling Mozilo for help with a discount on a $1 million mortgage for a beach house, but also claims that it was legitimate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Trough For Their Snouts

Here's environmentalist of doubt Bjorn Lomborg writing in the Washington Post on Lieberman-Warner and the nonsense that is cap-and-trade:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the bill, has called it "the world's most far-reaching program to fight global warming." It is indeed policy on a grand scale. It would slow American economic growth by trillions of dollars over the next half-century. But in terms of temperature, the result will be negligible if China and India don't also commit to reducing their emissions, and it will be only slightly more significant if they do. By itself, Lieberman-Warner would postpone the temperature increase projected for 2050 by about two years. Politicians favor the cap-and-trade system because it is an indirect tax
And the real trade it will bring in its wake is in political favors. In fact, that's much of the reason it appeals to so many in the Congress. It's just another trough for their snouts.

A Good LF Laugh

Dear Mr. Goldberg,
I have read your vicious attack on Margaret Sanger and have a simple demand. Whenever you next choose to slander Ms. Sanger's memory, you must do the same to Helen Keller, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Winston Churchill and Marcus Garvey.
Me: I find this hilarious. First of all, the reader seems not to know that the article is an excerpt from the book. If she'd read the book, she might find out how little some of these folks help her cause. Indeed, she might realize how much she's making my argument for me, as I argue that liberalism and progressivism were shot through with eugenic thought. Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that his “starting point for an ideal for the law” would be the “co-ordinated human effort. . . to build a race.” Yes, W.E.B. Du Bois was sympathetic to eugenics (his "talented tenth" was a eugenic term). Marcus Garvey? You mean the fellow who claimed to have led "the first fascists?" All of this gets mentioned in the book.

OPivot Of Life

The past two days of Supreme Court decisions have shed a bright light on Obama’s rightward pivot for the general election. Yesterday in the child rape case, Obama agreed with two Justices he voted against and disagreed with those he holds up as models. Today, revising a long held position on gun control, he agrees with Justice Scalia’s reading of the Second Amendment and again disagrees with Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Stevens. If only the Court could overturn Roe before the election, Obama would become a pro-lifer.

Art For Art's Sake

The problem, rather, is a dangerous confusion between ends and means, and it is a confusion shared by Condi Rice and Barack Obama. Coalitions, even successful multilateral ones, are instruments, tools, means to an end. They are important and useful, sometimes essential, but they are not, and must not be seen as, ends in themselves. Confusion on this point can lead to claims of success when failure is staring you in the face.

How else should we judge progress as we seek to end Iran's drive for nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism? We have a multilateral coalition. It is "united." But it has not, and almost certainly will not, do the thing for which it has arduously been put together.

Seven and a half years after denouncing Iran's nuclear weapons program, a hapless president and his coalition can only look on while the Iranians rush to the finish line.

Art for art's sake is beautiful. Multilateralism for its own sake is not.

A memorial post to my late father. His name was Art.

And he would have agreed wholeheartedly with Perle on this piece.

And Maybe Poland

Alas, anti-Americanism is so rife that Mr Obama enjoys overwhelming support in almost every country. His opponent, John McCain, would only stand a chance in the U.S., Afghanistan, and Iraq. And maybe Poland.
A worse failing was the administration’s response to the universal “Bush lied, everybody died” demonization by the Left. Bush and his allies failed to be sufficiently aggressive in response to this (and similar) nonsense -- in which the White House alone was held accountable for intelligence misjudgements that afflicted spy agencies right across the West. Domestically, Democrats who received the same garbage briefings as the President himself, through Congressional intelligence, foreign relations, and armed services committees, came to the same conclusions as Bush, and yet their own words are seldom read back to them. Five short years later, the media allow them to rewrite history.
It will take another catastrophe to wake the sleepers from their rest.

The Genocide This Time

It will be recalled, by readers who follow world news, that the President of Iran has on many occasions unambiguously declared both the desire to annihilate Israel, and the expectation that Israel will soon be annihilated. It will also be recalled, that on the balance of evidence, the Iranian state has been working assiduously to acquire the means for this act of genocide. It is in direct defiance of U.N. resolutions to stop enriching uranium, and playing Saddam-like games with U.N. inspectors.
If a man were threatening to kill you, and declaring that you will soon be dead, while reaching for a gun, I think most readers would allow you were within your rights to kick that gun out of his reach.
The Iranian state is officially represented not only by President Ahmadinejad, but also in similar statements made by other leading ayatollahs, promising the utter annihilation of Israel. Iran openly arms and funds Hezbollah and Hamas, which likewise publicly promise to annihilate Israel.

To A Pulp

We finally have a result in the Zimbabwe election. Over the weekend, the man who won it, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from the run-off, thus clinching the presidential poll for the incumbent and loser, Robert Mugabe, after nearly three months of murder and mayhem. An official letter from the challenger’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change (which also won the Parliamentary elections), confirmed yesterday that the run-off would not be contested, to save the lives of as many party supporters as possible.
Mr Tsvangirai himself immediately sought refuge in the Dutch embassy at Harare, trusting not in his opponent’s magnanimity. He had already been arrested and beaten five times during the election campaign -- in one instance “to a pulp” according to persons who saw him just after his release.

A Good Debate

"I don't know what my aide said but I've been very consistent, I teach
constitutional law," Obama said. "What I said was that I believe Second
Amendment as being an individual right and have said that consistently. I also
think that individual right is constrained by the rights of the community to
maintain issues with public safety. I don't think those two principles are
contradictory and in fact what I've been saying consistently is what the Supreme
Court essentially said today."

Which is a ludicrous claim, even by Obama's standards. Here's an idea,
though: maybe as part of this year's campaign, we could have a debate between
Obama and his campaign staff.

Imagine He Wasn't Corrupt

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"If Obama wants energy independence through alternative
fuels, why doesn't he back imported sugar-based ethanol?"

They say it's because he's in the pocket of Archer Daniels Midland, et
"ADM is based in Illinois, the second-largest corn-producing state. Not
long after arriving in the U.S. Senate, Obama flew twice on corporate jets owned
by the nation's largest ethanol producer. Imagine if McCain flew on the
corporate jets of Exxon Mobil."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Center OTack

The Supreme Court's death penalty jurisprudence is unprincipled. Capital punishment certainly was not considered "cruel and unusual" at the time the Constitution was adopted, or for nearly two centuries thereafter. So what the Court has done in recent decades is to make it up as it goes along. Today it held that while it is constitutional for a state to punish murder by death, it is prohibited to punish child rape--in the case at issue, the rape of an eight year old girl by her stepfather--by death. Needless to say, no such distinction appears in the Constitution. It is solely the product of arrogant quasi-politicians who have been in Washington too long.

Even Barack Obama couldn't stomach this one, in an election year. But that's only a ruse: bad as Republican appointees have often been, any Justice appointed by Obama would be selected precisely for his eagerness to impose his liberal views on "unenlightened" voters.

I Prefer A Different Word Starting With "S"

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It’s a pretty seedy story: When Conrad was looking to buy his Delaware beach house in 2002, he called his good friend, former Fannie Mae CEO James Johnson, Conde Nast reported. Mozilo happened to be in Johnson’s office and Johnson handed the phone to him. Countrywide financed the beach house and, later, an investment property of Conrad’s. Mozilo instructed a subordinate via email to "(T)ake off 1 point" and in another email wrote, "Make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator." Dodd never spoke directly to Mozilo, but Dodd was aware that his two Countrywide mortgages were in a "VIP section." Dodd says he assumed that was just some kind of "courtesy." The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating.

Incidentally, Johnson is the same guy who was briefly tasked by Obama to vet potential running mates. Johnson stepped aside when it was revealed that he had received preferential loans from Countrywide.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All Of Them

Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

Barack Obama, June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program.”

All Barack Obama statements come with an expiration date. All of them.


But to encourage a transition toward alternatives, Obama favors legislation that would make fossil fuel more expensive. Doesn't that mean more pain to come under an Obama presidency? "There is no doubt that in the short term, adapting to this new energy economy is going to carry some costs." But, he adds, citing the coal industry's ability to adapt to stop acid rain in the 1980s, "I would never underestimate the power of American innovation."

Great. Because all summer long, Americans have been asking themselves, "where can we find a guy who will propose policies to make gasoline and electricity more expensive?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Freedom Of Expression

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The Amnesty International report on human rights for the year 2007 is out. The Muslim world constitutes, as usual, bleakest chapter. Every single country across the Muslim world has been pointed out by the Amnesty International either for executions and torture or discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities. Punishments never handed down even during the Stone Age, have been awarded in 21st century Muslim world.
The Muslim world cuts a sorry figure every time a global watchdog releases its findings. Freedom of expression here remains curtailed, Reporters Sans Frontieres annually reports. Regarding freedom of expression, there is a joke often told in Arab world. At a meeting, a US journalist says: "We have complete freedom of expression in the US. We can criticise the US president as much as we like." The Arab journalist replies. "We also have complete freedom of expression in Arab world. We can also criticise the US president as much as we like."

Chinese Confirmation

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Modern life offers many happy moments, but I’m particularly indebted to the
People’s Republic of China for censoring the latest issue of the Far East
Economic Review, which featured an article of mine on the cover.  As Rowan
Scarborough was kind enough to href="">point
, the folks at FEER had asked me to update an old think piece, in which I
had argued that contemporary China is difficult for us to understand, because it
is something we haven’t seen before:  the world’s first mature fascist
state.  And I did that, as you can readhref="">

One of the points I made is that the regime in Beijing is hypersensitive to
criticism, and their reaction to my essay seems to prove that abundantly. 
The entire issue was seized, both subcriber copies and newstand copies.  As
I told Scarborough, one could hardly ask for more dramatic confirmation of my
main thesis, and he was good enough to describe me as someone with “a penchant
for tweating repressive regimes.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"For The Little Guy"

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I think that if you want to live in SF and can afford to, that's fine. And if
you can't afford to live in SF, well, that's how life goes. What I find
interesting, though, is that the leftist rich of San Francisco simultaneously
price the guy who makes their Starbucks out of the housing market and laud
$4.50/gallon gas as a great way to keep people from driving so much. And then
they claim to be for the little guy.

Indeed. Plus this: "While SF screws its middle class, they assuage their rich
liberal guilt by making it a mecca for the homeless."

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The ambiguity over what is and isn't a weapon — North Korea's, our spies reckon, produced a pfffffft that was less than India's weapon but still dangerous — has befuddled our national intelligence bureaucrats.

The next day, speaking before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the director, Admiral McConnell, said estimates within the intelligence community vary as to when Iran will test an explosive, to between 2010 and as late as 2015. But, the admiral warned, Iran could theoretically master the technology for a nuclear yield as early as 2009. "Theoretically, they could do it, given their current effort, by 2009," Admiral McConnell told Rep. Heather Wilson. "We don't think they're moving quite that fast, but we don't have perfect insight and understanding."

"If the intent was to do nothing but have a nuclear yield, just a yield, something that you could haul around on a truck or bury in the ground, they could do that in six months to 12 months," he said.


The Kurdish daily Kurdistani Nwe has published a 2002 letter from the Iraqi presidency that it says proves that there was cooperation between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.

The letter, which appeared on the paper's front page, was published by the intelligence apparatus of the Iraqi presidency and discussed an intention to meet with Ayman Al-Zawahiri in order to examine a plan drawn up by the Iraqi presidency to carry out a "revenge operation" in Saudi Arabia.

The Failure This Time

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As he leaves the White House at the end of his second term, the President has a poll rating of only 23 per cent, and is widely disliked and even despised. His foreign policy has been judged a failure, especially in view of the long, painful, costly war that he declared, which is still not over.

He doesn't get on with his own party's presidential candidate, who is clearly distancing himself, and had lost many of his closest friends and staff to scandals and forced resignations. The New Republic, a hugely influential political magazine, writes that his historical reputation will be as bad as that of President Harding, the disastrous president of the Great Depression.

I am writing, of course, about Harry S Truman, generally regarded today as one of the greatest of all the 43 presidents, and the man who set the United States on the course that ended decades later in the defeat of Communism.


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I pointed out Obama’s folly. The Rahman case demonstrates some of the main reasons why we should not treat enemy combatants as ordinary criminal defendants. Such proceedings potentially compromise results, sources and methods of intelligence gathering. In the course of prosecuting Rahman, the government was compelled to turn over a list of un-indicted co-conspirators to the defendant. That list included the name of Osama bin Laden. We later learned that within ten days a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum, letting him know that his connection to that case had been discovered.

The military tribunal process which the Supreme Court threw out last week provided more “due process” to enemy unlawful combatants than any which preceded it — and certainly more than Obama’s oft-cited Nuremberg trials, which provided neither habeas corpus nor any appeals whatsoever.  Barack Obama may want to study Nuremberg before using it as an example, because all it proves is how wrong he is.