Thursday, August 11, 2005


A Political Reformation

As Iraq drafts its constitution, the I word - Islam - figures prominently. Should it be there or not?

The key, it seems, is that the religion not remain under the control of the few who would shape it to their own power, but under the control of the many, who would shape it to the good of the future.

The current draft provides little guide as to who has authority over such interpretations, which could inadvertently cede authority to third parties. With that in mind, huzzaba eliminating all that and instead adding something like this:

All law must concur with the teachings of God. In all court cases where those teachings are judged as matters of law, the final interpretation shall rest, by majority vote, with Parliament.
Please, please ... stop and think about the practical implications of this before you make up your mind.

I mean, if Islam's gonna be anywhere at all in the Iraqi constitution, then at least allow for control by the people thru their elected reps, which sure seems like a quicker path to change for the better ... as opposed to leaving the answer hanging, where any number of top-down mullahs, or their judicial equivalents, can jump into the fray.

This would have the added advantage of also eliminating the leverage inherent in not having such a clause. Blackmail one or two judges? Why bother, if all of parliament can override? And all of parliament is much tougher to co-opt.

Islam, it has been said (and I have been one of those saying it) needs a Reformation. What better way than to explicitly place it under the control of its populace, instead of its elites?

The rest will follow.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Subsidizing Genocide In Zimbabwe

A devastating new strategy for genocide is shaping up in Zimbabwe:

On Tuesday vegetable gardens the urban poor plant in vacant lots around Harare were added to the police's targets. The government says the plots are threatening the environment.
There are four clinical symptoms of AIDS used to diagnose it in Africa:
  1. a persistent dry cough;

  2. a high fever

  3. loose stools or diarrhea for 30 days

  4. a 10 percent loss of body weight over a two month period.
These are also the symptoms of simple malnutrition.

Mugabe will starve the people both to eliminate many and to terrorize the rest. Then he will blame the deaths on AIDS.

Many Hollywood celebrities will join him in the latter. Bush will be blamed for inadequate funding and drug co’s for the cost of meds.

Mugabe will demand money from the world to fight the disease. The UN will support him in this, esp other African dictators who will see it as a fine strategy, a way to get paid for killing your opponents. And it will spread.

Political Correctness kills.

Hat Tip: Tim Blair

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


EU: Setting Up Round Two

Read this excerpt carefully, because what the story describes is not really what was said. First, the description:

If the French and the Dutch reject the EU Constitution on Sunday and Wednesday, they should re-run the referendums, the current president of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said.
But he does not really say that at all! Let's hear it from the man himself:
"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again", Mr Juncker said in an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir.

His words come despite a statement by the French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Tuesday (24 May) saying that another referendum is "not a perspective that France could accept".
Germany has already ratified its position without a referendum, and Mr Juncker is quietly suggesting that other countries can do the same. His words do not therefore come, as the article says, "despite" any statement by Raffarin; in fact, the two men are wholly consistent, not only with each other, but also with the elitist spirit in which the entire project has been handled to date. Thus begins round two.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Unusually Cruel? Cruelly Unusual?

Does the US Constitution forbid punishment that is both cruel AND unusual, or punishment that is either cruel OR unusual.

The boolean implications are significant. Can a cruel punishment be allowed in the US, constitutionally, as long as it's NOT unusual?

In common-sense parlance, it's a non-argument: the wording says cruel AND unusual. One would presume that if the Founders had meant cruel OR unusual, they would have said so. They did not.

But in the Penumbra Era, one still wonders ... legally, must a punishment be both, as stated?

We all see examples in the press, from time to time, of the opposite: punishments that are unusual, though not cruel; often the press simply tags the judge as eccentric in these cases, and they are presented more as human interest stories than as anything else. But those punishments are not challenged, to my knowledge, on the basis of their simply being unusual, which would imply that one could also not challenge a punishment on the basis of its simply being cruel.

Must they be both? Are there precedents?

Monday, April 11, 2005


Not Fair, Says Kerry

John Kerry says that last year's presidential election wasn't fair:

“Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you’ve ever had a parking ticket, you’re not allowed to vote,” he said.
Don't worry, John, you can always get even by winning the next election in, um, 2009. Go for it, man!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


The Slippery SF Slope

Regarding Chris Nolan's synopsis on SF's anti-blogging legislation, legislation that maybe really isn't anti-blogging ... yet:

But here's the important part, at least for the short-run: Pretty much everyone on the board agreed that on-line sites like this were and are exempt. The revised version of the bill makes this crystal clear. But in speech after speech, almost all of the 11 members of the board said they didn't intend to regulate web logs or – like they would try – stand alone journalists.
If I read Chris correctly, what is happening is that SF is making a legal distinction between journalists and bloggers, as if journalists are a different (more respectable?) class of opinion broker. And bloggers aren't protesting, since - for the nonce - it doesn't specifically target them.

But the next step towards licensing journalism is being taken nonetheless, as predicted. This is not a good thing.


The WMD Red Herring

Hearing the "conclusions" (more like allusions, actually) of the “The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, it brings to mind a subject I've been meaning to make for a while.

In all the talk about WMDs, a key point, probably the key point, at least militarily, seems to have been missed by the commentators left, right and center:

With the US massing troops on his border, Saddam disarmed himself of his most effective weapons. Saddam was an experienced commander, the scourge of his region, and as hard-nosed as they come. Yet he was so confused by the situation that he steadfastly did what he could to weaken his military right before battle!

That he had WMDs is not in dispute, really - just ask the Kurds that he gassed, for example. The only real question is whether he dismantled, deported or destroyed them, pick one.

Yet while everyone argues about which path he chose, we all seem to missing the bigger story, that he disarmed himself in the face of an invasion. Wow.

BTW, the above also means that Bush, the simplisme that he is, both anticipated and used the French to aid him in his war effort, since it was they who largely convinced Saddam that the invasion, all evidence to the contrary, would never happen.

Think they've figured it out yet?

Friday, March 11, 2005


Hold The Money In Your Name

Here's what I think Bush should say about Social Security reform and private accounts. Instead of getting sidetracked into convoluted arguments about rates of return of stocks vs. bonds and other lesser arguments, he should cut to the heart of the matter:

My fellow Americans, I want you to have the ability to use private accounts to help pay for your retirement. The Democrats don't.

You know what? If you let them have your money, their party will rip you off. So will mine. So will any party. We're all the same crooks.

We proved it last time, over and over. That's why we're having this discussion in the first place: because the "trust fund" turned out not to be a fund at all, and the "lockbox" was never locked. Every single penny you contributed to your pension over the years has already been spent, and it sure wasn't by you, was it? Don't let it happen again. Possession is 9/10 of the law: hold the money in your name.

Hold it in your name because if you don't, we - politicians of every parties, now and in the future - will spend it all over again, just like we did last time. And you'll be right back at square one ... only older and with less time to recover. Fool me once, shame on you? Well, we were all fooled once by those who said, "trust us," and who assured us that the fund was just fine, when it wasn't. You gonna let 'em fool you twice?

There's a lotta politicians who don't even see it as theft when they spend your pension. They see as far as the next election, and use your money to get themselves reelected. And they'll keep doing that just as long as you let 'em.

Don't let 'em.

Will private accounts give you such a better return that they solve all funding problems, forever? You know what? ... that's such a minor issue compared to what I'm talking about. They'll help, sure. But it's just not the key reason for them; keeping the money in your hands, and out of ours, is.

You & I both know, opportunities for real reform don't come around every day, where we have the will and the means to fix the problem. But we have that today, so let's fix this one while we can.

It's up to you. You need to decide, who do you trust more with your money: you, or the same bunch who spent it all last time. Cuz that's what private accounts are really gonna protect you from. When all is said and done, your pension's gonna be held by someone. Why would you trust it to anyone else?

Hold the money in your name. After all, it's yours, isn't it?
If Bush came out and said anything like the above, and stuck to it, private accounts would be reality in a heartbeat. Maybe they will, anyway, but the odds'd be a lot better if he came right out and told everyone what the real issues with private accounts are.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Coming Soon: Just Fill Out The Form....

Form MF-0001:Disclosure Of Verbal Contributions
Maximum Penalty:$10,000 per offence
Background:To ensure equitable participation, contributions to the political process, including the endorsement of political positions, are subject to regulation. THIS INCLUDES ALL CONVERSATIONS WHERE POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS ARE GIVEN. Political positions include all issues that might reasonably be used in a political campaign. Failure to report is a federal offence, excepting only registered members of the media. “Endorsement” includes any expression of political position, for or against, whether a candidate or party was named or not. This form may be mailed to the FEC via your local elected federal representative, no postage required. Please mark your letter, “Attn: FEC McCain-Feingold Monitoring Division.” Additional pages may be attached as necessary. FEC judgements are final and may not be appealed.
Your Legal Name: 
Your Address
include zip code:
Date Of Endorsement: 
Positions Endorsed: 
verbal, written, electronic, other:
Size Of Audience: 
Transcript Available?: 

The above may also be used to report M-F violations. Please address to “FEC McCain-Feingold Violations Division.” It is a federal offence to knowingly file false reports. Legislation approved by World Opinion™, all rights reserved.

Friday, March 04, 2005


The Empire Strikes Back

Is the FEC, using McCain-Feingold as its sword of "justice," going to try to regulate blogging?

Think it thru. They cannot regulate each and every posting, as has been suggested. They may want to - no surprise there. But they can't.

For example: Captain's Quarters correctly notes that he - a Bush supporter in the last election - linked four times as often to Kerry's site as to Bush's. If the FEC wishes to count links as contributions to a campaign, then it will also have to assess the intent of each link, whether it was to help or hurt a candidate, or whether it is, in their eyes, "balanced." And if it was designed to hurt a candidate, which other candidates(s) benefitted, if any, and by how much. That's all more than any poor little bureaucracy can handle.

So where does it leave them in terms of what they can do? Something that is still consistent with a mindset that people need regulation, lest they say and hear incorrect opinions?

What else - accredited journalists. Yes, their approach, whether they arrive there tomorrow or after a few years of argument, will be that only "accredited" journalists will be allowed to comment during elections. Or at least, only they will be allowed to comment without subsequent FEC harassment and auditing.

And who will do the accreditation, you ask? Hard to say. The FEC may want the power for themselves; what bureaucracy doesn't? Then again, if the opposition to the regulation is strong enough, they may choose to ditch operational control and give it to someone they can hide behind ... now who might that be? ... no peeking! ... oh, you can guess ... the MSM!

Only j-school graduates or those with "sufficient" MSM experience need apply. And once the MSM is able to decide who else can join them, the gates will be closed.

I have no inside knowledge on this subject whatsoever, so the above is pure surmisal. But, if you can, put yourself in a pro- McCain-Feingold state of mind, and think about how you would go about controlling bloggers.

You'll soon realize: All other options are logistically impossible (never make a law you can't enforce). There's really no way, other than to corral pre-selected controllees into a group of manageable size, and shut everyone else up entirely.

So I dunno if they can pull it off or not, but I sure as hell expect them to try, now; this has been brewing for a while.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Propaganda Writ Large

Watching the Left spin propaganda against Bush's recent successes in the Middle East, so far to no avail, got me to thinking: What if they pulled it off? What if they got people to believe that up is down, and thereby unlearn all the valuable lessons of the past few years? Shudder.

Which in turn led me to ask: hmm, what are the most damaging propaganda triumphs of all time? Now there's an interesting question. Here's a couple, just off the top of my head, to get you started:

  • MYTH: Nazis are right-wing, which is the opposite of left-wing.

    FACT: Hitler was, in fact, right in the mainstream of socialism in his day. There was a reason he called his party The "National Socialists," after all.

    DAMAGE: By disassociating themselves from Hitler, socialists were able to avoid being relegated to the same rubbish heap as he. Stalin, for example, was widely praised and supported in many parts of the West, as were his successors, even up to this day.

  • MYTH: The stock market crash of 1929 was the result of capitalist excess and speculation, leading to the Depression.

    FACT: There was never enough money in the stock market to cause a depression. It was a fraction (5%?) of the size of the bond market. When the markets in general sensed bond troubles - ultimately leading to massive defaults soon after, so the markets' sense of it beforehand was indeeed correct - they started moving money in a reverse of the usual "flight to quality" definition: i.e. they went from bonds to stocks. Given the disparities in market sizes, it only took a little bond money to drive stocks skyward. That's when the get-rich-quick crowd jumped on the trend, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    DAMAGE: Capitalist societies, by blaming private enterprise, took more power away from the people and gave it to govt. Big govt came to the West, riding on the back of its own failures, and has remained to this day.

Leave your own nominees in the comments section. I'll post those that really stand out. The more we understand propaganda, the better we can resist it in the future.

BTW, please confine your comments to events that took place at least 50 years ago, as I have no wish to fight modern propaganda battles over this.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Justice? They Musta Left It In Their Other Suit

Given the all-attack, all-the-time nature of the Left, perhaps this was inevitable:

Two U.S. human rights groups [including the ACLU] sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday, saying he first authorized and then failed to stop torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ACLU did launch a similar suit against Kofi Annan and the UN over Rwanda, right? But I'm having trouble finding a copy.

You see, instead of a handful of torture cases performed by lower-level soldiers acting on their own, Rwanda was a confirmed half a million innocents slaughtered, with the full knowledge and complicity of Kofi & the UN. The facts aren’t even in dispute.

Those truly interested in justice will, of course, want to see the Rwanda matter given priority. So, would anyone reading this have a link to that other suit?

For some reason, I can’t seem to find one anywhere.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Poser Filters

Amnesty International's latest report in Iraq says more about Amnesty than it does about its subject. Here's the opening line:

Women and girls in Iraq live in fear of violence as the conflict intensifies and insecurity spirals.
Not like to good old days under Saddam, girls, sorry about that.

How did yesterday's noble intent morph into the Amnesty of today? Cuz this is what almost has to happen, perhaps inevitably, to single-issue groups. Either their chosen problem can be solved, or it can't.

Either way, the day comes when the results-oriented folk, not able to get any more results, move on, leaving only the posers behind. And to some extent, a change in attitude accomplishes much the same effect on those who stay. If the org had a cachet of some kind from its early days (Amnesty certainly did), even more posers will be attracted.

For Amnesty, the process will continue: bloggers are more effective today than AI can be at the original Amnesty mission of hiliting the plight of political prisoners in order to save them, thereby casting light on repressive regimes in general.

With their effectiveness nearing zero, Amnesty has put itself on a spiral from which it will not likely escape. It will be up to bloggers - most of whom are not at all single-issue, thankfully - to honor the now-almost-forgotten original intent.

Friday, February 25, 2005


The Art Of Politics Explained

Here’s a telling lesson in art that applies to politics, too, one that explains why Bush is producing higher-quality results than his critics ever could:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A", forty pounds a “B", and so on. Those being graded on “quality", however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an “A".

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
Dems are still theorizing the perfect political act while Bush is turning out beauties.

Thursday, February 24, 2005



This blog will be - mostly - on hiatus for awhile. Other duties call. Sorry. To repeat: it's all good stuff ... but there's just so much of it!