Saturday, February 22, 2003

Martin Hutchinson has a short history of Axis of Weasel economics here and here and argues that their economic state has a lot to do with how they interact with the world.

2003 sees the Axis saddled with an inordinately large public sector, highly restrictive labor legislation, excessive social costs, and a demographic time-bomb in the impending retirement of the baby-boomers (neither country has significant private sector pension arrangements.) Naturally, therefore, the Axis reaction to changes in the world economy is very different to that of more economically self-confident countries such as Britain and the United States.

-- Globalization, an increase in world trade, is a threat, because it exposes their over-manned and inefficient industries to competition.

-- The emergence of new economic powers, such as China and India, is an enormous threat, because the new markets have little interest in French and German products and expertise. Thus they represent a threat to France and Germany's economic position, not a growth opportunity; as they grow in importance, France and Germany must shrink.

-- The entry into the EU of Eastern Europe seems likely to produce the "giant sucking sound" predicted for the U.S. by Ross Perot, as jobs leave the Axis for the much cheaper and equally skilled workforces to the East. In addition, the EU budget, subsidized by Germany and hugely benefiting France, will be turned upside down by the entry of poorer countries with large agricultural sectors.

-- The emergence of new investment opportunities, and possibly dynamic growth in world stock markets, is of no interest to the Axis; their citizens depend on the state for their pensions, and invest their savings in bonds and real estate, not equities.

In short, to the Axis, world economic growth and opening are not the positive sum game they appear to others; they are not even a zero sum game. They are instead a negative sum game, a mortal threat that must be fought at all costs.
John Podhoretz has a column in the NYPost about the indictment of University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian and all the mainstream media pundits who fell over themselves defending him. The final line is classic:

Simple. A vast segment of liberal opinion is desperate to see the war on terrorism as a new explosion of McCarthyism. And they want to sign up to fight the evil government in its evil effort to torment poor, innocent Muslims.

They do resemble certain people who were active during the 70-year life of the Soviet Union - those who closed their eyes to the threat emanating from World Communism. Lenin called such people, who were unknowingly serving his interests, "useful idiots."

Idiots, yes. Useful? Not any more.
Much as the 1933 Oxford Union debate which concluded that the UK should not go to war under any circumstances emboldened Hitler the current antiwar demonstrations have emboldened Saddam Hussein who is reneging on promises to allow increased inspections.
Charles Krauthammer has a good piece about the growing divisions between 'Old Europe' and 'New Europe'.

Europe did not take to the streets against America last weekend; only Western Europe did. The streets of Eastern Europe were silent. The Poles, and their Eastern European neighbors, have an immediate personal experience of life under tyranny -- and of being liberated from that tyranny by American power. The French and their neighbors are six decades removed from their liberation. They think freedom is as natural as the air they breathe, rather than purchased at the price of blood -- American blood in no small measure.
Joe at MoronWatch has assembled a collection of signs seen at last weeks demonstrations.

Friday, February 21, 2003

C&S has moved into new digs. We've updated our permalink, go check it out.
While many commentators have compared the current anti-war positions with those of Europeans toward Hitler in 1938, W F Deedes compares the current position of the anti-are crowd to that of Europe in 1935 after Mussolini's conquest of Abyssinia.

If we're seeking lessons from the past to help us deal with Saddam Hussein, then the way we dealt with Mussolini's conquest of Abyssinia in 1935 is - as the Prime Minister understands - the place to look. I was particularly reminded of my own Abyssinia moment when I read about Saturday's anti-war march - hauntingly matched by the Peace Ballot of 1935, the national referendum in which millions voted for peace at almost any price, thus unwittingly persuading Hitler and Mussolini that bold predators had not much to fear.
Medpundit cites a study that says that the AIDS epidemic in Africa has more to do with poor medical hygiene than heterosexual contact. I don't how well the study was conducted but it strikes a chord with me. I have always wondered how the African AIDS epidemic jibed with statistics about heterosexual transmission rates of HIV.
Megan addresses some of the folks who send her hatemail.
Susanna has a nice little rant about states cutting funding for the arts which I am in complete agreement with. I love art and am an avid collector. I enjoy buying things by younger artists. I also support many local museums, but I see no reason for government support of the arts. If an artist can't find enough folks interested in their art to support it, then I see no reason why a government committee should take my money for that purpose.
Well this is certainly refreshing.

I am writing this to make clear there are Muslims in America and in the world who despise and condemn extremists and have nothing to do with you, and those like you, for whom killing constitutes worship.
Islam was sent as mercy to humanity and not as an ideology of terror or hatred. It advocates plurality and moral equality of all faiths (Koran 2:62, 5:69). To use Islam to justify declaring Armageddon against all non-Muslims is inherently un-Islamic - it is a despicable distortion of a faith of peace...

Once the war is declared, however, make no mistake, Mr bin Laden (you too, Mr Saddam Hussein), we are with America. We will fight with America and we will fight for America. We have a covenant with this nation, which we see as a divine commitment, and we will not disobey the Koran (9:4) - we will fulfil our obligations as citizens to the land that opened its doors to us and promised us equality and dignity even though we are of a different faith. I am sure, Mr bin Laden, you can neither understand nor appreciate this willingness to accept and welcome the other...

Remember this: Muslims from all over the world who wished to live better lives migrated to America, and Muslims who only wished to take lives migrated to Afghanistan to join you. We will not follow the desires of people (like you) who went astray and led many astray from the Straight Path (Koran 5:77).
(via Cut on the Bias)
France has become a haven for tyrants and as this piece shows a heavy handed thug in its own right. They must be taking lessons from Mugabe. Zimbabwe starves while Chirac and Mugabe feast.
Here is a letter to the editor of the Harvard Crimson from a girl who destroyed someone's snow penis sculpture on campus (via Andrew Sullivan):

The unwanted image of an erect penis is an implied threat; it means that we, as women, must be subject to erect penises whether we like it or not. There was nothing “challenging” or “subversive” about the penis. The only thing it did was create an uncomfortable environment for the women of Harvard University.

Once again-—what my roommate and I did was not cowardly, but instead quite brave.

Uh hello, I believe it was made of snow not titanium. How can it be brave to attack something that amounts to a giant snowman? Was she afraid that some snow giant had left his snow penis on campus and if she tried to destroy it that he would crush her with his giant snow foot? And isn't it quite sexist for someone to view a part of the male anatomy as such a thing of evil as this girl obviously does? College students are so out of touch with reality and so full of themselves.
Check out this hilarious video of an a guy interviewing some of the anti-war protesters.
Here is a great quote from the Lileks piece that John had posted a couple of days ago. Sorry for being so slow but I was moving the last couple of days:

“It is time to think about human rights, not money” I heard one French protester say on the news. “War is not the answer to war.” If it weren’t for the autonomous nervous system, some of these people would die because they’re too stupid to remember to breathe. War is always the answer to war if war is brought down upon you. Evil requires resistance. If a man in a crowd grabs your child from your arms, you do not wonder what brought him to this moment, or petition the city council for a resolution requiring him to hand over the skeletons of his previous victims. You stab him in the eyeball with your car keys.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

What do Greenpeace and Saddam Hussein have in common? They both kill people. (They also have the mindless support of leftists everywhere). (via Bizarre Science)

In an effort to alleviate the food situation the Bush administration offered Zimbabwe large amounts of grain. Mugabe, with the full support of Greenpeace, rejected the offer, falsely claiming that the food was dangerous because it had been genetically altered, even though it’s the same corn that Americans have been eating in their corn flakes and chips for years — and with no ill effects.

What Mugabe and his Greenpeace allies deliberately ignored is that Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland had accepted the same US corn without any concerns or detrimental consequences. These countries are obviously more interested in averting famine than in playing politics with their citizens’ lives.

The only danger from American corn is to Mugabe. If large quantities of this corn were allowed into the country it would break Mugabe's food monopoly and undermine his dictatorship, something that Greenpeace apparently wants to protect, just as it is protecting Saddam's dictatorship. Why? Could it be that it's because Mugabe is a Marxist-Leninist? (I still a Greenpeace representative’s letter in the Melbourne Age rationalizing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).

Greenpeace supported Mugabe's lies, with Remi Parmentier, the organization's political officer, making the patently absurd accusation that the US had "subjected millions of Africans and other citizens of developing countries to life-threatening danger." It seems that Greenpeace won’t be satisfied until there are no Africans left.

Remi Parmentier is simply carrying out Greenpeace’s policy of lying in support of its ideology, regardless of how many people it kills. Greenpeace is run by a callous pack of bastards who don’t give a damn about people.
Jacob Sullum is amused (so am I) that members of Congress are beginning to discover what they actually voted for when they passed McCain-Feingold. I wonder if we can get a law passed that requires members of Congress to actually read Bills they vote for. That would certainly cut down the amount of new legislation to a trickle.
Ken Layne on the counting of antiwar demonstrators this past weekend.

So I'm going to be mean now. Here's the sort of "Perspective Buddy" I'd let loose on people who called the newspaper Monday morning, demanding to know why their "Dogs Are People Too" rally at the Glenwood Mall didn't make the front page:

The numbers are always hazy, of course. Organizers say 375,000 protested in New York City. The police say 100,000. Let's split the difference and say 262,500. In San Francisco, the second-biggest gathering (maybe), organizers say 250,000 and non-organizers say 150,000. Fine: 200,000. Numbers are much smaller for the rest of the country. Some good-sized cities had 500 protesters. Los Angeles had "thousands." Let's be generous and say a million people -- hell, let's make it 1.5 million -- protested this weekend across the United States. (And maybe 100,000 total marched in favor of action in Iraq, but we'll leave them out of it for now.)

* Without any publicity at all, about 50 million Americans showed up on Sunday to support the Christian god, Jesus, at church services across the nation.

* An estimated 30 million bought something to eat at McDonald's. (The global total is 46 million customers per day.)
Or, to be a bit cruel, the protests attracted about as many people this weekend as the movie "Kangaroo Jack." I'm sorry, but it's true.
Robert Horvath has an excellent piece on the implicit contempt for the Iraqi people shown by the antiwar crowd.

...For much of the peace movement, the ‘Iraqi people’ is an abstraction, which relieves them of the need to confront the tragic fates of actual men and women at the hands of the Iraqi security apparatus. We hear ritualised expressions of distaste for the Baath regime, but few pacifists are prepared to confront the exterminationism that links Saddam’s systematic genocide of 100,000 Kurds and his obsessive pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

But if peace activists insist on posing as the defenders of the Iraqi people, then they ought to listen to the testimony of Iraqis who escaped the grip of the killing machine that is the Iraqi state. Matheson, whose scholarship has given voice to beleaguered Christians under Nazism, ought to consider the evidence of ‘Ozer,’ the Kurdish construction worker who provided some of the most important eyewitness testimony about the ‘Anfal’ campaign, Saddam’s final solution to the Kurdish problem.

Ozer was arrested after his village was burned down by Saddam’s security forces. In April 1987, he was one of the thousands of civilians interned in the notorious Topzawa concentration camp, the main processing centre for the victims of the Anfal. It was here, in scenes of bureaucratic inhumanity reminiscent of the holocaust, that deportees permitted to live were segregated from those marked for extermination.

John Kelly recounts the case against Saddam Hussein in the AJC.

> Saddam took power in Iraq at the head of the Revolutionary Command Council and Baath Party in 1979-80. Since then he and his group have ruled Iraq in a totalitarian system, using murder and torture to compel loyalty.

> During that time, Saddam has harbored various terrorist groups, which carried out small but bloody operations. Some of these were against other Arabs and Palestinians. Most were not traceable to Iraq, except that the terrorists were based there. As recently as October, Abu Nidal, a notorious terrorist living in Baghdad, allegedly committed suicide by firing six bullets into his own head. Could it be that his presence was too vivid a link for Saddam's connections with terrorists?

> In 1980, Saddam ordered his army to invade Iran. This began an eight-year war that probably killed 1 million people, counting both sides. Saddam used poison gas against Iranian troops and against Iraqi citizens (including women and children) in Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq.

> In August 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. The Iraqi troops in Kuwait looted the country and tortured opponents, including cutting out of tongues, mutilation of genitalia, and severing of tendons so as to cripple for life. I have seen the wounds with my own eyes. Saddam took hostage foreign men, women and children to use as human shields.
(via GOC)
Tim Blair points out that Robert Fisk is perplexed that there were so few Arabs at the antiwar demonstrations.

Could anything be more pathetic than the Arab demonstration against war? A million Britons marched in London, more than half a million Spaniards in Madrid; 200,000 in Paris and New York. And Cairo? Well, just 600 Egyptians turned up in their capital to protest at America's forthcoming invasion of brotherly Iraq – surrounded by 3,000 security police.

What on earth is it with the Arabs? Of all people, they – and they alone – are likely to suffer in this American invasion of their homeland. They – and they alone – have the will and the ability to understand that this US military adventure is intended – as Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, frankly declared last week – to change the map of the Middle East.

Yet, faced with catastrophe, the Arabs are like mice.

Hmmm... could it be that people who actually have to live under these regimes are not as opposed to their removal as the clueless rich college kids. He doesn't seem to understand that not everyone enjoys being beaten by Arab thugs like he does.
An article about the political climate created by Jacques Chirac's new best friend, Bob "Starve the Opposition" Mugabe.

Three years of overt violence, suppression of dissent, and the arrest and torture of opposition political supporters under draconian security legislation has left the president's Zanu-PF party in a stronger position, claims political analyst and chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Committee, Brian Raftopolous.

He believes that Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis is not sufficient to spur a popular uprising.

"I think people are angry. But they're also despondent, they're scared. For an action to come, there'd have to be a lot more organisation on the part of civic groups.
How Hugo Chavez is following that grand socialist tradition in attempting to single handedly destroy Venezuela's economy. I'm sure his good friend Fidel is very proud.
Why the UNSC is like a bad parent, at GOC.
Some European responses to Jacques Chirac's "shut up and mind your betters" speech. Here, here and a summary here
Big Arm Woman argues that academicians get stuck with whatever ideas they had in graduate school.

Fast forward a decade plus three, after more schooling and a university job, and I realize that my first analysis was at least half right. Those professors and a lot of the ones I ran into subsequently didn't notice that things change, but it wasn't because they were thinking deep thoughts, it was because they were repeating the same thoughts that they had in grad school (or earlier) over and over until the thinkers became completely paralyzed--trapped in one mindset and preserved like bugs in amber, unable to recognize or react to the outside world.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Arthur Silber discusses the ever increasing encroachments on personal freedom by an ever expanding list of government regulations and argues that we are increasingly living by permission.

My point here is a very simple one: there already exists the complete machinery for your government to make your life a living hell -- once one government official somewhere, someone whom you may never know, someone who may know next to nothing about you -- except that "someone" with "pull" and "influence" has it in for you for some unknown reason -- decides to go after you. It is in this sense, and for this reason, that I titled my earlier post "Living by Permission" -- and my point is precisely that: we are all living by permission now. You are probably in violation of countless laws and regulations at this very moment, depending on some government bureaucrat's interpretation of what you ought to have done in any given instance.

I also have to repeat once more that all these countless laws and regulations apply to almost every single area of our lives; no area of our lives now is exempt from this kind of control, in terms of the rules that are in place today. Now, think about all of that -- and think about the vastly increased powers the government will undoubtedly have under the new Homeland Security bill -- and tell me again how we are freer than we've ever been before.

That is an explanation I would truly and sincerely love to hear.

We have made similar arguments on this blog. The problem is that I don't see any way to reverse the trend.
Lileks has an exceptional piece today.

I didn’t write anything about the weekend rallies because - well - what is there to say, really? There are people out there who think the US is equivalent to Nazi Germany, and have the placards to prove it. What a shock. I did write something about a sad photo that showed a young kid with a placard reminding us that “Israel has weapons of mass destruction too” but the fact that some people twist their kids to believe this swinish drivel isn’t a surprise, either. More to the point - If Israel did not have nukes, and the Arab states were building up armies right now and threatening a war, you wouldn’t see millions in the street protesting; many of those people capering about for “peace” would feel a red trill of glee in their hearts if Syrian forces crashed into Tel Aviv.

No surprise: there are lots of people out there whose viewpoint I find contemptible. The West is the problem, they insist. The US is the locus of perfidy. A mad cabal of oilmen and Jews jerk the string of a jug-eared dullard so they can kill Iraqi babies. And so forth. I know, I know, not everyone in the rally believes this, perhaps not even most. Just because the Spartacists march in your rally and hold up signs supporting North Korea doesn’t mean anyone else believes in their twisted cause. But mass movements have a way of being hijacked by the ardent few, the ones who are damned dead serious about overturning the established order and oiling up the guillotine to deal with the undecided. Their work is made easier by comfortable dilettantes who think it’s funny to call Bush a Nazi - or who march without comment beside someone who does.

Also at Horsefeathers, Stephen Rittenberg has an fine essay on utopian vs. dystopian visions of the world.

This "rational" utopia is a mirror image of the totalitarian Muslim utopia envisioned by Osama. Thus there is an unconscious alliance formed between the two. Both yearn for an unattainable perfection that can only require the annihilation of those who stand in the way. While historical circumstances change, human nature remains constant and utopian yearnings are eternal. The failure of such twentieth century utopian enterprises as Communism and Fascism cannot eliminate this yearning. The bloodbaths they brought are minimized and explained away by their numerous intellectual apologists like Eric Hobsbawm. Scapegoats are found so that the utopian ideal can be preserved. And so that ideal lives on, unsullied and invulnerable to mere facts. Our debate today between liberals and conservatives is really a new version of the longstanding debate between utopians and anti-utopians. The latter are naturally regarded as less morally worthy than those who embrace a self flattering fantasy of universal love.
Read Yale Kramer's excellent essay about the Horsefeathers Doctrine.

What the history of the twentieth century—the century in which the United States became a super-power among the nations of the world—suggests is that we have been too moral, too magnanimous and, above all, too sentimental about our relations with other nations.

Throughout the last half of the twentieth century the U.S. guided itself by a foreign policy which seemed to serve its purposes. We formed alliances with our “friends,” first to beat the Axis powers and then to win the cold war against Soviet-led communist expansion. In addition to the use of alliances, pacts, and agreements between friendly powers, we came to depend on the use of “personal diplomacy”—the friendships between certain pairs of leaders who seemed to be unusually simpatico with one another. Churchill and Roosevelt had this kind of relationship, and a generation or two later Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher seemed to show this ability to the mutual benefit of both nations.

The arrival of the new millennium has brought with it major changes in the way the world impacts the United States. In the past two years we have been shocked by the open-throated declarations of war against America by millions of Muslims all over the world and, recently, equally shocked to find that nations with whom we have been allied for fifty years—South Korea, France, West Germany and others—refuse to return our favors and give us support when we need it.
Mean Mr. Mustard has a fine fisking of the latest idiocy from George Monbiot.
...His head is actually nowhere near his ass, as it turns out to be firmly lodged in the upper regions of Marx's colon.

And we're not talking about Groucho, here. Seeing that probably would have been much less funny than watching Monbiot pathetically crib bits from the Cliff Notes version of The Communist Manifesto, as if this were 1917 (or any time during the 20th century on Western college campuses) and everyone was still positively swooning with all that heady talk of historical dialectics and the industrial proletariat.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Marx? Karl Marx? Theoretical godfather to the greatest murderers in human history? A guy who couldn't predict the color of the sky above his own head? Progenitor of the worst assemblage of political ideals ever put into widspread practice? Creator of a philosophy so thoroughly discredited that it would be more empirically sensible to ally oneself with the Flat Earth Society than him? That guy?"
The "Peace in Our Time" sign we pointed out earlier may actually have been meant to mock the protesters as these signs (via North Georgia Dogma) are obviously meant too. It's not clear that the other protesters recognize this.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Anybody still in doubt that what the Rev. Jesse Jackson does is sell protection should read this piece on the recent Chicago nightclub tragedy
How long will it be before criticizing the EU becomes a crime? The EU is a disease that takes away freedom and is propagated by demented bureaucrats
Sounds like there is a purge going on in Iraq. Saddam put his defense minister and close relative under house arrest. Does that mean he gets buried in the back?
A nice rant on the French in the New York Post. Okay, it's not nice at all:

We don't need your eau de crap toilet water because ... believe me ... without Americans to wear your schmattas, without Americans to subsidize your tourism, without Americans to save your ungrateful behinds war after war, you'd be just where you deserve to be - a suburb of Germany.

As per the demonstrations, not all of us favor war. I'm not saying we should applaud killing that son of a bitch who wants to kill us. I'm just thumping for something called gratitude. Loyalty. Appreciation. A friend has been there for you? And that friend is suddenly in need? You help. You're there. What you confide to a friend in private is one thing. What you do for a friend in public is - you're there. You're his back-up. You fly his wing. You're his strength, his ammunition, his money in the bank.

A friend is someone you can count on. That's not France. The French hate the Americans. The French hate everyone. The French hate the French.

The ungrateful French, with their haute couture and haute attitudes, once were powerful. Well, they're not anymore. Even their cheeses smell.

France is small. Maybe its survival depends on its haughtiness. Shrimpy 5-foot-4-inch guys tend to be tough and arrogant. It makes up for what they're not. Could be that's what makes the French such pigs. With their future behind them, they have to excel in something, so it's arrogance.

Paris is beautiful, magnificent. But if its buildings were in New York City, we'd have condemned them long ago.
Here is a great piece from the Daily Telegraph on the anti-war protesters racism:

Ignorance, fear and lack of respect for Arabs - these were the most obvious traits on display in yesterday's demonstration against a war in Iraq. Could so many people really think that it is better to leave Iraqis under Saddam Hussein's vicious tyranny than to liberate them from it?

Their protests suggest that it is not worth risking anything at all to free Arabs. To risk spilling a single drop of blood to liberate Iraq would be futile - not merely because it would be "destabilising" or "kill children", but because the Arabs have no capacity for "Western" freedom anyway. Behind the demonstrators' slogans lies the assumption that Arabs should be left alone: they don't mind being brutalised, tortured and murdered by a fascist thug like Saddam. Where they come from, it is the natural order of things.

That line of thought is nonsense. More than that - it is racist nonsense. No one knows better than the Arabs the horror of being oppressed. No one knows better than they that tyrannical oppression is all that they will get so long as Saddam and his family are in power. Saddam's despotism is not a denial of "Western" freedom: it's a denial of the freedom that every person needs to be able to live a worthwhile life. To imagine that the Iraqis don't want to be freed, or are not entitled to it, is simply to suppose that they are less human than us.
Looks like even Kofi Annan is frustrated with the French.
I wanted to comment on John's post on the protester waiving the "Peace in Our Time" sign. I am really amazed at how stupid some people can be. How can you argue that appeasement of Saddam is totally not the same as appeasement of Hitler if you are obviously oblivious to what happened in 1938? Oh yeah, that's right, he is probably one of those people who doesn't know anybody who is not against the war so there is nobody to challenge his views. Isn't there a saying that those that are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it?

Monday, February 17, 2003

To all those folks back East buried under two feet of snow my sincere condolences. We left for vacation yesterday morning right before the snow started. We are currently in Sacramento where it is sunny and 60 degrees on our way to Lake Tahoe so my wife can ski. I don't ski or do anything that requires me to go faster than 5 miles an hour without a car or plane around me. I however brought a large stack of books and music so I will relax back at the house we rented in front of a roaring fire while my wife and kids are on the slopes. I may spend a day or two at the casinos. All the snow in New York should be gone by the time we make it back in two weeks.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

What we all know about inner city schools but the politically correct liberals will never admit until they see it first hand. Here's a naive Gore supporter who has experienced the mayhem and now understands that the problem is not money but families. an out of control system and anti-white racism..
More serious flaws found in the major global warming study. How long before this sham falls apart completely.

Charles at LGF posts this picture and points out how so completely ignorant these protesters are of history that they don't even appreciate the significance of the slogan they are touting.