Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sen Clinton's Foreign Policy, Explained

Let's consider an analogy. Suppose it is a hot day. there are a bunch of kids in the back seat of a car being driven someplace by the parents. If the kids into a fuss, the solution is for them all to "cut it out" and "settle down." Democrats tend to look at foreign policy the same way. If two nations are squabbling, the solution is for them to "settle down." There is no point taking sides or assigning blame. They should just settle down.

Senators Kerry and Clinton see the relations between nations the same way. At the present time, the US, through Pres. Bush, is raising a ruckus and refusing to settle down like any well-behaved child. Senator Kerry is extremely embarrassed to be a representative of a nation that refuses to settle down. That is why he feels the need to apologize.

Similarly, consider Sen. Clinton's statement on Iraq policy:
We expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office. ....

I am going to level with you, the president has said this is going to be left to his successor. I think it is the height of irresponsibility and I really resent it.
So, you see, Bush is just causing trouble and he should stop ("settle down") before he leaves office. Some may think that foreign policy should consider issues such as the survival of democracy in Iraq or how to fight a proxy war in Iraq against Al Qaeda and Iranian insurgents. For Sen. Clinton, these are non-issues. (After all, if two kids in the car are fighting, neither is right even if both of them claim to be right.) In her view, Pres. Bush may think that it is his turn to make noise but, she thinks, he should stop when his turn is over.

Everything goes well in the back of the car when the kids simply obey the parent. So, in the Democratic mind, who is the parent? In foreign policy, the UN plays the role of "parent." Any kid (country) who wants to do something should, of course, first ask permission from the parent (the UN).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

Ban Ki-moon, the new United Nations Secretary-General, appears to be working on his first cover-up of a UN scandal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do-gooders and their pets

Two PETA activists are on trial for killing animals. Daily updates are here.

States find that high taxes not working

The WSJ notes that some state governments are discovering that high income tax rates are not helping:
State lawmakers also seem to have learned from two of the most recent states to adopt an income tax: New Jersey and Connecticut. As recently as 1965 New Jersey had neither an income nor sales tax, but managed to balance its budget every year. Now it has both taxes -- its income tax is the 5th highest in the nation -- but the state is facing what calls a "staggering budget deficit." Allied Van Lines reports that the Garden State is now one of the leading places for people to flee.

The latest state to adopt an income tax was Connecticut in 1991, but a new report by the Yankee Institute reveals that the tax has been a calamity. The state has ranked last in employment growth since 1991, losing 240,000 of its native born citizens between 1991-2002. No other state has since enacted an income tax, and lawmakers in Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina say Connecticut is now the model for how not to run a state economy.
Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina are now considering repealing their income taxes.

Political Correctness run amok

[I]t is no longer politically correct in the House Dem caucus to refer to the newly elected members from '06 as "Freshmen."
It is claimed that some may see the word "freshmen" as "derogatory."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Right of Free Speech, Selectively Applied

James Taranto captures the left-liberal idea of free speech in this post today:
Sgt. Jason Hess, who is stationed in Iraq with the U.S. Army's First Cavalry Division, wanted to buy some floor mats for his men to sleep on. He wrote to a West Allis, Wis., company called

Do you ship to APO [Army Post Office] addresses? I'm in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed in Iraq and we are trying to order some mats but we are looking for who ships to APO first.

As notes, because of paperwork and other regulations, some companies do not ship to APO addresses. Discount-Mats turned out to be such a company, but the response to Sgt. Hess, from an anonymous employee, included a bit of editorializing:

We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.

The story spread, and Discount-Mats heard from "furious people," who "e-mailed and called the Web site owner's house and left obscene messages," Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV reports. The company fired the employee responsible.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that "anti-war and free speech advocates were equally offended, by the widespread criticism of the company and the individual who responded to the soldier":

"This is a matter of free speech," said Julie Enslow, an organizer with Peace Action Wisconsin in Milwaukee. "It is totally irresponsible for radio stations and bloggers to attack a person for his personal political views."

You've got to love Julie Enslow's concept of free speech. If you agree with her, it's fine to shoot off your mouth on company time. If you disagree with her, it's "totally irresponsible" to express your views in a public forum.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The last 13,000 years of history explained

At the end of the last ice age, 11,000 BC, humans all over the globe were at the same stage of development: stone age hunter/gatherers. By 1500 AD, huge disparities in development occurred: some civilizations were iron age, some bronze age, and some humans elsewhere remained stone age hunter/gatherers. Dr. Jared Diamond, a professor of geography and of environmental health sciences at UCLA, thinks he can explain why humans developed at different rates in different places on the Earth. Principally, he believes that the development of human civilization required domesticatable plants and animals. For reasons of geography, he says, this favored the Eurasian land mass. His speech is a good read if you are interested in the big picture of history.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sexists in the Senate

Diane Sawyer interviewed the US senate's 16 female members. Several of them expressed the idea that women think differently from men. Senator Cantwell thinks that "women are agents of change" and emphasize "collaboration" and "cooperation." Senators Clinton and Landrieu agreed on the female emphasis on "collaboration."

(hat tip BoTW.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Must see video

LGF has must-see video from the UK Channel 4 documentary "Dispatches: Undercover Mosque."

Try to imagine Gen Clark getting together with the people in these videos and "sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."

Tang dynasty and Mayan civilization doomed by climate change?

A German study suggests that climate change, c600-900 AD, may have led to the downfall of both the Chinese Tang dynasty and the central-American Mayan civilization. More specifically, there might have been "a general shift towards a drier climate at around 750 and then, during these generally drier period, three-year cycles in which rainfall was very low," leading to poor harvests and peasant revolts.

Too bad they can't blame this on SUVs.

Monday, January 15, 2007

More on anti-semitism and foreign policy

Gen. Wes Clark, former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is mad about America's Iran policy and, according to Arianna Huffington's account of a conversation they had, he blames the "New York money people":
At the packed-to-the-rafters brunch preceding Nancy Pelosi's formal swearing in, Melinda and I ran into Wes Clark.... "How can you talk about bombing a country [Iran] when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table -- but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."

When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."

At one point Melinda reminded him that she was taking down everything he said (a fact that would have been hard to miss, since she was taking notes on a not-inconspicuous legal pad). His response: 'Yes, I know."

Two things are notable about this. One is that it is now acceptable for prominent Democrats to use Jewish stereotypes. The other is that Gen. Clark seems to belong to the "it-must-be-only-a-misunderstanding" school of foreign policy. Iran Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks that nuking Israel will help to hasten the return of the twelfth imam and Clark wants to counter this by "sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships"!

More here and here.

Jimmy Carter endorses terrorism against Jews

The Editors at the New York comment on an astonishing sentence in Jimmy Carter's new book:
January 15, 2007 -- Has a former president of the United States - a Nobel Peace Prize winner, no less - given his blessing to wanton murder and terrorist assaults against Israel?

Sure looks that way.

How else to read that astonishing statement on page 213 of Jimmy Carter's new anti-Israel screed, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid"?

To wit: "It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel." (Emphasis added.)

You don't have to read between the lines here.

Carter isn't calling on the Palestinians to give up terror and murder now as a way to convince Israel they are serious about peace. Rather, he says they can wait until they've achieved their goals at the bargaining table. No need, says Carter, to give up terrorism until then.

Certainly, that's how 14 members of the Carter Center's advisory board read that paragraph. Indeed, it's why they angrily submitted their resignations last week.

That's also how Melvin Konner read it. He's a respected anthropology professor at Emory University and had been asked to be part of an academic group meant to advise the former president and the Carter Center on how to respond to criticism of the book.


And he's understandably offended by Carter's "repeated public insinuations that the Jews control the media and the Congress - well-worn anti-Semitic slurs that, especially coming from President Carter, present a clear and present danger to American Jews."

UPDATE: The above shouldn't cause one to lose sight of Mr. Carter's humanitarian instincts. For example, Neil Sher explains that Jimmy Carter expressed humanitarian concern for Martin Bartesch, a Nazi death camp guard who was deported from the US. UPDATE II: On the other hand, Scott Johnson says the story may be true but that Neil Sher should not be regarded as a reliable source.

UPDATE III: Jimmy Carter apologizes about the book passage.

UPDATE IV: Jimmy Carter continues to "clarify" his anti-semitism.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Sandy Berger Mystery

The Wall Street Journal sheds some light on Sandy Berger and his theft and destruction of classified documents related to the handling of bin Laden under the Clinton administration:
One incident is particularly suggestive. By his fourth and final visit to review documents and prepare for testimony before the 9/11 Commission, the Archives staff had grown suspicious of how Mr. Berger was handling the documents, so they numbered each one he was given in pencil on the back of the document. When one of them--No. 217--was apparently removed from the files by Mr. Berger, the staff reprinted a copy and replaced it for his review. According to the report, Mr. Berger then proceeded to slip the second copy "under his portfolio also." In other words, he stole the same document twice.

This gives the lie to Mr. Berger's story that he was taking the documents for his own convenience, to assist with his preparation for testimony to the commission. If that were the whole story, one copy of document 217 would surely have been sufficient. That document was an email pertaining to a draft of the Millennium After-Action Report on the attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. The episode suggests that Mr. Berger had some other motive for removing No. 217, even if he was ultimately unsuccessful in doing so. But neither his April 2005 plea agreement, nor the Congressional report, nor the report of the Archives' Inspector General shed any light on what that motive might have been.
So, unlike initial claims, his thefts were systematic. The question remains: what was he trying to cover up?

UPDATE: Apparently to avoid answering further questions on the subject, Sandy Berger relinquishes his law license.

Criminal Logic

James Taranto regularly chronicles a recurring bit of liberal-logic on the issue of crime. In his latest, he quotes a Chicago Tribune editorial commenting on falling crime rates in Illinois:
What's harder to explain is why, though crime has fallen so sharply, prison admissions have continued to rise.
To non-liberals, the answer is obvious: When a criminal is in prison, he cannot commit crimes against innocent citizens. Consequently, a rise in prison admissions means that corresponding fewer criminals are on the street committing crimes.

Liberals, such as the Chicago Tribune editors, see the criminal justice as focused on punishment. Because they usually have sympathy for criminals, they usually see too much punishment going on. To non-liberals, punishment is only a secondary goal. The primary goal is the protection of innocent citizens. The Chicago Tribune captures the failure of the system in the following comment:
Recidivism rates are disturbingly high. Half of the people who leave prison wind up back behind bars within three years.
That appears to mean that they shouldn't have been let out in the first place. The cost to society of of the crimes that they committed while out is incalculable. There is even significant to the justice system in investigating the crimes they commit, re-arresting them and re-trying them. It would be better for innocent citizens and less expensive to the government to just have kept them locked up for those three years instead. Illinois spends only $22,000 per year to keep a criminal in prison while the cost to society of convicting him, which would include police, lawyers, the judge and court staff, and the time that jurors donate, is quite high.

Further, recidivism may be worse than the Chicago Tribune's number would indicate. The US Dept. of Justice did a multi-state 3-year study on inmates released in 1994. They found the 3-year recidivism rates for robbers, burglars, and thieves to be in the range of 70 to 80%. Further, the DoJ found
The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.

That is a lot of crime. But, to the editors of the Chicago Tribune, it is worth it.

Adolescents in the (US) House

Freshman U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis) has been impressing activist groups with tales of his first days in Washington. He tells this story of his meeting the always pleasant first lady Laura Bush:

Then I go to his (President Bush's) wife, 'Hi Barbara, how are ya?' I did that because I learned on the campaign that the meanest thing you can say to another gentlemen is, "he's a fine fellow," and you then refer to his spouse by a different name.

While meeting with a group of 'peace'-activists, Rep. Kagen, a well-to-do physician, told a story of his meeting Karl Rove:

While meeting last month with a group of area peace activists, then Congressman-elect Steve Kagen told a story of his first visit to the White House that shows a feisty and humorous side to our new man in Congress.

After Rove washed his hands ('At least he's a hand washer,' Kagen said), he attempted to leave, but Kagen prevented his departure by holding the door closed and said, "You're in the White House and you think your safe, huh? You recognize me? My name's Dr. Multimillionaire and I kicked your ass."

Kagen expected to make Rove squirm, but said (he) acted like it was a tennis match and simply said, "Oh, congratulations."

Rep. Kagen is 56-years old. He doesn't sound like it, does he? Also, note the contrast with the calm and mature way that Mr. Rove handles the Kagen's provocations.

Rep. Kagen's stories and their ever changing versions along with Kagen's non-denial denials are nicely cataloged by Dan Riehl.

As a culture of corruption update, the FDA has informed Dr. Kagen that he is under investigation violation of federal law "for manufacturing and selling allergy shots without a valid license." It is always funny how Democrats don't think that they should have to follow the rules that they so happily have the government impose on us. (Remember that Bill Clinton had a hard time finding a nominee for Attorney General who hadn't herself violated the law. Janet Reno was his third choice after Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood both had income tax problems.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Protecting evil

The AP reports:
The U.N. has an official stance opposing capital punishment and [U.N. Secretary-General] Ban's predecessor Kofi Annan reiterated it frequently. The top U.N. envoy in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, restated it again on Saturday after the former Iraqi dictator was hanged.
This is expected: the protection of the lives of thugs, crooks, and fascist dictators would, of course, be a top priority for many of the UN's member states.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Being innocent can be expensive

According to this quite interesting article on the misconduct of prosecutor Nifong and the MSM in the Duke "rape" case, the cost of defending against false charges is quite high:
For the past 10 months, the defendants’ families each have paid $80 thousand a month for the legal services of the various attorneys representing them.

UPDATE: Dorothy Rabinowitz compares the Nifong scandal to the child-abuse case scandals of the 80's and 90's.

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