Friday, September 28, 2007
On that note I proudly direct you to National Review Online's long awaited (by some) Star Trek Weekend. There are many fine, self-deprecating, and funny pieces. The best of which, is the parody National Review Editorial from the 24th Century The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Pelosians:
For the record: I have never been to a Trek convention nor do I own a pair of pointy ears!
Editor’s Note: The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone in this particular spot on the space-time continuum, or even in this universe. There are an infinite number of alternate realities. In some the Federation is evil, female crew members dress like Britney Spears and Lt. Sulu has sex appeal, so it should not be overly implausible that in at least one of these alternate realities the editors of National Review and National Review Online would know what a Romulan is.
The situation with the Romulan Empire is rapidly becoming the defining crisis of our age.Over the course of this magazine’s four centuries (not counting the Great Interegnum during the Eugenics Wars, when conservatism was deemed a mental defect) National Review has always endeavored to chart a course balancing idealism with realism. Even in its infancy, facing the first great existential crisis of Old Earth, we argued for challenging aggression, whether in the form of the Soviet threat or the violence done to humanity through hubristic tinkering with the genetic code. We are proud to say that our opposition to the Soviets played its part in the prevention of one nuclear holocaust and saddened that our warnings fell on deaf ears before as so many of us were marched off to reeducation camps on the Mars colonies. After the Interregnum we counseled a different course when making first contact with the Klingons and the Romulans than that chosen by Starfleet Command. History has vindicated us on both scores, which is small comfort given the terrible price we all paid for Starfleet’s stubbornness.
We do not dredge up old memories merely to gloat. Rather to point out that history and consistency is on our side. Nancy IX, the current chair of the United Federation of Planets is a decent sort, but clearly out of her depth. Like all Pelosians, she lets her passions crowd out sound judgment. One needn’t be a Vulcan to grasp that logic does not hold much sway on Pelosi Prime. Indeed, it seems we should have learned our lesson when the planet Sigma Iotia II became an enormous cargo cult to 1920s Chicago mobs. But no, the Pelosians have developed an entire civilization based on a once obscure bit of political doggerel, “It Takes a Village,” and suddenly billions of Earthlings — yes, we’re still proud to use the word “Earthling” rather than the politically correct, galactically cosmopolitan, and toothy “Humanoid of Terran Extraction” — are willing to surrender their fate to race bound to the dictum that children are the greatest philosophers. Does no one remember Charlie X? Miri? The horrors of planet Triacus?
We have long been on record in our belief that much of the current crisis can be traced back to the baleful influence of rampant Picardism in the diplomatic corps. Ambassador Picard’s conviction that the “European Hegemony” was a lasting model for intergalactic peace has led us into one calamity after another (for this analysis always leaves out of the equation the Pax Americana which made the European Hegemony possible). Picard’s disagreements with the late Governor Worf stretch back to their service on the Enterprise-D and while the younger Worf was often too much of a hawk (or bird of prey, one might say) there can be no doubt that he had the better of the arguments when it came to the Romulans. No doubt he had learned important lessons from his father’s slaughter at the Katyn forest of the 23rd century, Khitomer. Picard, meanwhile, after a distinguished — but by no means perfect — military career became entranced with the 20th-century writings of Warren Christopher. Prior to Picard’s popularization, few remembered who Crhistopher was. Indeed, it’s been said that people forgot who Christopher was while they were still having conversations with him. A diplomat of no significant achievement in his own time, Christopher’s writings in a fusty privately published tome — Diplomacy: The Forgotten Imperative — nonetheless ensorcelled the former starship captain. Picard’s proposal, directly inspired by Christopher’s writings, to mandate that all phasers be limited to “light stun” deprived federation security officers from using deadly force and as a result untold millions died and billions more were sentenced to permanent slavery to the Borg collective. But all this, too, goes down the memory wormhole, only to pop-up at some later time and place when such memories provide no practical guidance to current affairs, serving instead for conversational fodder at academic junkets to Risa.
Now the Picardians and Pelosians have become natural allies and would-be quislings in the burgeoning showdown with the Romulans. The old adage that the “Prime Directive is not a suicide pact,” means nothing to them. Would that the spirit of James Kirk (contributing editor from 2261 to 2271, we’re proud to say) could be conjured at this moment. Who among us can forget those immortal words, “Praetor Pardek tear down this neutral zone!” What would Kirk think as he watched the Federation appease the Romulans, feeding the targ one limb at a time, as the Klingons say.
The Romulans are arming Cardasia to the gills while we stand idly by watching the Bajorans get slaughtered. The Pelosians, always eager to protect tribbles wherever they happen to sprout up, turn a blind eye to the fate of actual sentient humanoids and allies. Based on the most dubious science, they are willing to place a speed limit on warp drive, but images of actual Bajorans stacked like cordwood move them not a nanometer. We have had our disagreements with Klingons and Ferengi, but we can look on with nothing but admiration as they fulfill their promises and contracts with the Bajorans while we spend our days here on Earth debating whether the entirely defunct Organian Peace Treaty applies to non-signatories of that irrelevant piece of parchment. It’s enough to make one declare “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no sign of intelligent life here.”
First, let me deal with the big issue surrounding the debate, which were the no-shows Romney, Giuliani, Thompson and McCain. I can sum their absence in three words, stupid, stupid, and stupid. I understand some of their reasons for skipping the debate, especially the fundraising imperative with the filing deadline approaching. The Campaign Spot details other reasons here.
However, campaigns both primary and general are battles of ideas. When Republicans and conservatives skip out on a chance to express those ideas to an audience that has been historically hostile to them, then they just missed out on an opportunity that all the campaign donations in the world can’t buy. The general wisdom is that Blacks and Latinos do not matter in Republican primaries because they are heavily Democratic. Fair enough, but that is not the point. The point is that we pride ourselves on being the “Big Tent” party, which on an ideological level is true, but ignoring groups that generally hold opposing views makes for less people in that “Big Tent.” The four candidates should have jumped at the opportunity to address minority concerns with conservative ideas. In fact, as Tim Russert noted this morning, “there were Republican answers to those questions.”
Also by skipping this debate, Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain gave the national and local species of crapweasal an avenue to propagandize and make base accusations about Republicans in general.
Now my rambling account of the debate.
Driving along Hillen Rd. and Argonne Dr. it was plain to see that the Paul Bearers had arrived early. Ron Paul signs were planted all along both sides of the street, the median grass and the parking lot.
Thanks to John Flynn and Georgia Woerner with the MDGOP for getting me a VIP ticket, which allowed me to bypass the regular entrance line (and the Paul Bearers) and go right in.
The Gilliam Concert Hall at Morgan State is a superb facility, a real jewel for Baltimore.
Cornell West was in attendance, does he wear a scarf everywhere he goes?
Tom Joyner opened the evening with some thoughtful comments and playful but well deserved jabs at the missing candidates. His best line was that he felt “as out of place as Dan Rather at CBS Premiere Week.”
He also gave a shout out to Michael Bell of the Jena 6. Joyner announced that Bell had been released from jail and would tried as a juvenile for his part in a “high-school brawl” over nooses being hung in a tree that Black kids had asked permission to sit under. Sorry Tom, it was a little more than a “high-school” brawl. As Jason Whitlock noted in his powerful column:
There was no “schoolyard fight” as a result of nooses being hung on a whites-only tree. Justin Barker, the white victim, was cold-cocked from behind, knocked unconscious and stomped by six black athletes. Barker, luckily, sustained no life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital three hours after the attack.
A black U.S. attorney, Don Washington, investigated the “Jena Six” case and concluded that the attack on Barker had absolutely nothing to do with the noose-hanging incident three months before. The nooses and two off-campus incidents were tied to Barker’s assault by people wanting to gain sympathy for the “Jena Six” in reaction to Walters’ extreme charges of attempted murder.
But I digress.
Tavis Smiley, the moderator came up next. Smiley said that since this was PBS he couldn’t say what he really felt about those who didn’t show because of they perceived that they wouldn’t get an appropriate reception. He did say, however that he expected the audience to show respect to the candidates that did show up. The audience met that expectation.
Smiley also gave us a surprise, when he introduced two of the Little Rock Nine that integrated Central High back in 1957. They received a standing ovation, and rightly so. Smiley also thanked Michael Steele, Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich, and Ken Melhman for their assistance.
Next was Michael Steele, who reminded the audience that it was Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, who added the full force of the federal government to the integration of Central High. Ike sent the national guard to Little Rock to ensure the integration of Central High. He also spoke of the divide between Blacks and the GOP. Steele spoke of the terrible consequences of the missed opportunities for both.
Ron Paul received the loudest ovation in the candidate introductions. The Paul Bearers owned the upper balcony sections.
The candidates all had a chance to comment on the absence of the front-runners. Huckabee was embarrassed, (so was I). Duncan Hunter said that his family reunions when someone doesn’t show up we usually talk about them. Alan Keyes defended the no-shows citing that they declined an invitation to a value-voters debate.
On to the panel questions.
Cynthia Tucker asked the candidates to address the racial disparity in employment between Blacks and Whites. Huckabee and Brownback pandered. Paul gave his usual freedom and liberty response, and that prosperity serves everybody, which has the virtue of being true. Tancredo rightly criticized the welfare state for one of the reasons.
Huckabee did give a great answer to a question about what Republican presidents did for African-Americans, he brought up Ike again, and that it was Democrat George Wallace who stood at the doors to the University of Alabama to stop integration. Hunter also brought up the pesky fact that more Republicans voted fort the 1964 Civil Rights act than Democrats.
The candidates were also asked about voting rights in DC. All of them were in favor of voting rights for DC residents if done through constitutionally appropriate means. Hunter’s response was the best when he said, that he would favor DC statehood is the Dc government would respect the second amendment and allow its citizens to bear arms.
Before he asked his question, Juan Williams gave us another surprise. He introduced Capt. Vernice Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot in U.S. history. Armour has already served two tours of duty in Iraq. She received a well-deserved standing ovation.
My state senator Catherine Pugh chose that exact moment to exit. She did not even bother to clap for Capt. Armour. Bad form senator, bad form.
Huckabee, Paul, and Tancredo made great points about the futility of the drug war and asinine federal drug laws. There is a movement in conservative circles that the drug war is a bad idea, and that it needs to end. There is room for allying with like-minded minority groups, you know like inviting more people to the big tent!
All candidates spoke of market solutions to health care issues. Hunter talked about bringing back the family doctor. Keyes retorted, that we need to bring the family back first.
Huckabee: A likable guy but I don’t think he has the gravitas to be president.
Paul: I love his domestic stuff, but he loses it with his moonbattery on foreign policy.
Hey Ron, try reading Sayid Qtub or Lawrence Wright, then you might understand why people say Al Qaeda attacked us because of our freedoms.
Brownback: A good senator, but as a presidential candidate he is too wooden and canned. He must have run against some real slack-jawed yokels back in Kansas.
Tancredo: He made another great case for enforcing our existing immigration laws, and I like him a great deal, but like Huckabee, it just isn’t gonna happen.
Hunter: People talk about John McCain as a possible Secretary of Defense if the GOP wins the White House in 2008, Hunter could fill the role just as well.
Keyes: He made great points about the centrality of the family to our nation and culture. Keyes is a great orator and is more suited for the pulpit than the podium.
Whether you agree or disagree with Tavis Smiley, there is no doubt that he is tailor made for moderating a debate and working in the media. He kept the pace moving and the candidates on their time limit. The one time he interrupted was to ensure that Duncan Hunter actually addressed the question he was asked. I disagree with Smiley on many things, but he kept things fair.
Overall, it was good debate, and as Tim Russert pointed out, there were Republican and conservative answers to minority concerns. The real shame was that the likely GOP nominee was not there to present them.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The behavior of the Paulnuts on the Mackinac ferry, noted by David, is a common consequence of pacifism and extreme libertarianism. Both think the state at war is the worst thing in the world. (Extreme libertarians think the state doing most everything else is also bad.) Most—maybe all—libertarians acknowledge a right to self defense. But in the modern world this cannot be done by militias. It requires a military industrial complex, with all the attendant consequences. Some libertarians accept this fact (while proposing modifications). Extreme libertarians do not; therefore they support self defense only in theory.
In any actual situation, the prospect of the state at war is so monstrous that the pacifist/extreme libertarian must prettify or deny the threat, and abuse Cassandras. Thus 9/11 was an inside job, the war on terror is a project of warmongering Jews, Giuliani stole WTC gold, etc.,etc.
The honest pacifist/extreme libertarian would say, I will not fight, for any reason, at any time. If evil triumphs, so be it. It will be less evil than my fighting would have been. I at least have preserved my rightness. But that is a hard saying, hence these maneuvers.
Ron Paul is a pencil head, leading a jacquerie of wicked idiots.
What Brookiser is refering to is the harrasment of Rudy Giuliani on the Mackinac ferry in Michigan by Ron Paul supporters. From the Detroit Free Press
According to one eyewitness, Giuliani was beset by dozens of Paul enthusiasts as he was leaving the island, some of whom shouted taunts about 9/11, including: “9/11 was an inside job” and “Rudy, Rudy, what did you do with the gold?” -- an apparent reference to rumors about $200 million in gold alleged to have disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
In June, the Times was in high dudgeon -- it knows no other degree of dudgeon -- about the Supreme Court's refusal to affirm a far-reaching government power to suppress political speech. The court ruled that a small group of
Wisconsin residents had been improperly refused the right to run an issue advocacy ad urging the state's two senators not to filibuster the president's judicial nominees.
Because one of those senators was seeking reelection, the group's ad was deemed an "electioneering communication" -- one that "refers to" a candidate for federal office. McCain-Feingold bans such communications by corporations, including incorporated nonprofit citizens' groups, in the weeks before an election -- when the Times' editorial page is in full-throated enjoyment of speech rights it would deny to others...
The Times, a media corporation that is a fountain of detailed editorial instructions about how the rest of the world should conduct its business, seems confused about how it conducts its own. The Times now says the appropriate rate for MoveOn.org's full-page ad should have been $142,000, a far cry from $65,000, which is what the group paid. So the discount of $77,000 constitutes a large soft-money contribution to a federally regulated political committee. The Times' horror of such contributions was expressed in its enthusiasm for McCain-Feingold...
Bob Bauer, a Democratic lawyer specializing in laws regulating political speech, notes -- not approvingly -- that the Times supposedly has a policy of rejecting ads involving "personal attack" speech. But the Times accepted MoveOn.org's ad accusing a soldier of betraying his country. According to the Times' public editor, a Times official said the ad was "a comment on a public official's management of his office."
Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., defending the decision to run the ad, said: "If we're going to err, it's better to err on the side of more political dialogue. . . . Perhaps we did err in this case. If we did, we erred with the intent of giving greater voice to people." Bauer notes that Sulzberger might have used words from a Supreme Court decision: "In a debatable case, the tie is resolved in favor of protecting speech." And: "Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor." So spoke Chief Justice John Roberts in the Wisconsin decision that Sulzberger's paper denounced because it would magnify the voices of, among other things, "wealthy corporations." The Times Co.'s 2006 revenue was $3.3 billion.
And people wonder why the Times circulation is down.
Progressives have now offered a corollary to that:
Progressives have never met a fellow Bush-hating radical islamist, who would just as soon put them to the sword, that they didn't like.
From the Daily Kos
"I know I'm a Jewish lesbian and he'd probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon... I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.
Ahmadinejad, who has flagrantly trounced due process and the rule of
law in his own nation is still way ahead of Bush on this point, too.
he hints at a conspiracy theory that US intelligence forces may have
been involved or complicit --- but it’s not a huge departure from the 9/11
commission and our collective recognition that, for all their failings leading
up to the attack, the FBI and CIA got away clean.
It striking when a leader with an abysmal human rights record is the one championing the rights of the poor and oppressed to the president of the United States who proclaims to be the world’s savior. Dangerous, indeed--certainly to the status quo he critiques.
Monday, when Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University in New York, I’ll be listening. Maybe with a bottle of wine and some soft music playing in the background. If I can get past the fact that, as a Jewish lesbian, he’d probably have me killed, I’ll try to listen for some truth.
This is not a new phenomenon. David Horowitz, no stranger to the radical left detailed the progressive love affair with other totalitarian enemies of the United States in his 2004 book Unholy Alliance.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Over at The Corner Stanley Kurtz astutely notes that A'jad's speech finally forced the left to confront what it consistently evades or outright denies when it comes to the Iranian threat, to the extent that they acknowledge a threat at all. And that opening up of an honest left-right dialogue among ourselves is the positive that came out of this whole affair. Emphasis mine
The reality of Iran–the threat it poses and the despicable nature of its policies–is something that the American left would prefer not to emphasize. But having proffered an ill-conceived invitation, and then having been widely challenged on his bad judgement, Bollinger was forced to speak out loud many of the truths that the left in this country would rather avoid. That is indeed a most fortunate outcome. The reality of the Iranian regime and its threat have been thrust into the foreground, and a prominent spokesman for the American left has acknowledged this reality on record, in a way that no respectable player can now deny.
It shouldn’t have been necessary to invite Ahmadinejad to Columbia to get the left half of America’s political spectrum speaking more honestly about the challenge we face in Iran. The evidence to justify Bollinger’s remarks was available well before Ahmadinejad spoke, and Bollinger himself pointedly predicted that there would be little in the way of a serious or substantive reply forthcoming. Yet the unfortunate fact is that it took a naive invitation from the academic left, followed by biting criticism from the right, to finally elicit an honest acknowledgment of the truth. Dialogue and debate really do work, but the dialogue that counted most was our own–not the shadow-play with Ahmadinejad.
It’s true that Ahmadinejad’s own blundering and ridiculous talk added to the outrage at his policies. Yet Ahmadinejad’s capacity to spout nonsense was well known before hand. After all, Bollinger’s opening remarks were based on Ahmadinejad’s offensive track-record. Again, the novelty yesterday was not anything Ahmadinejad said, but the fact that umbrage on the right finally prompted eyes to open on the left. In effect, public outrage over Bollinger’s invitation allowed the media to force a left-right dialogue onto a university that usually avoids precisely that sort of exchange. If thoughtful representatives of a broad spectrum of opinion had been available at Columbia all along, however, it wouldn’t have required the Ahmadinejad circus to make such a breakthrough.
Unless the city wants to waste time patching more “loopholes,” it should stop the cycle that got it into this position in the first place. The only way to do that is to cut property taxes in half or more to levels of surrounding counties. As nonprofits have shown, take out the tax issue, and the city is an attractive place to locate. That would drive up demand for property — and prices — and bring more young professionals into the city to work and live, and eventually own homes. That could only benefit the city treasury and city life. It would also decrease demand for state aid. With a looming $1.7 billion “structural” deficit, that would be welcome news for all Maryland taxpayers.
If only the machine politicians that run this city understood the fact that lowering property taxes creates greater tax receipts from the increase in businesses and home owners. Alas that would be like convincing the medieval Church that the sun did not revolve around the earth.
Schickel strikes another blow to the anti-anti-communist façade that those blacklisted in Hollywood were not innocent liberal martyrs , rather they were full-throated supporters of Josef Stalin and his murderous Soviet regime. This was the lie that Kazan exposed in his HUAC testimony in 1947, and for which he was booed by clueless and callow celebrities in 1999.
As a lifelong liberal, I am quite naturally and obviously a lifelong anti-Stalinist; a liberal cannot support totalitarian ideologies no matter how persuasively they are presented. That's especially so when the true face of Soviet communism was so early and often visible. As early as 1931, there were public rallies protesting the Russian prison camps. The mass exterminations(through managed starvation) of Russian peasants were widely reported in the same era. Then there were, in 1937, Stalin's parodistic show trials of old Bolsheviks, followed by the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact and the invasion of Finland in 1939. Yes, the Soviet Union was our vital ally during World War II, but its essential nature did not change, and those who continued to support it cannot be excused...
Eventually, everyone - the remnants of the communist left included - took to ritualistically denouncing Soviet communism before joining whatever argument was going on later. But at the same time, those victimized by McCarthyism, in particular the Hollywood Ten and the rest of the show-business blacklistees, were elevated to heroic status. In the years that followed the 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee hearings that led to their dismissal from the movie industry (for a First Amendment absolutist like me, a very bad idea), they have been celebrated in an endless series of books and tributes. As if by magic, the unapologetic defenders of a deadly doctrine have been transformed into martyrs to liberal belief - which none of them embraced in their day.
This is a massive, apparently unresolvable disconnect, and communism's one lasting American triumph. Frankly, it makes the anti-communist left crazy. Mountains of new documents - notably the Venona transcripts, records of the cable traffic between Soviet spies and Moscow - prove beyond doubt the conspiratorial nature of American communism. But still its apologists stand beaming on the heroic heights, mere "dissidents" who paid an awful and unfair price for expressing their opinions.
One of these expressions of opinion was an obituary tribute to Stalin when he died in 1953, signed by 300 American communist intellectuals. It said, in part: "Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands." I don't really want to defend to the death anyone's right to that kind of insanity. Maybe we can afford to leave poor old Pete Seeger in peace - but not, I think, his co-religionists.
Today's progressives MoveOn, Kos, FSP et al. are the heirs to the anti-anticommunists, in fact they called themselves progressives back then as well.
For some on the radical left, this is a literal inheritance. The next time you see Sean Penn foaming at the mouth about George Bush and the war, just remember it runs in the family. His father Leo Penn was one of those "innocent liberal" directors blacklisted by evil anti-communists. In reality, this "innocent liberal" was a card-carrying member of the CPUSA, unequivocally supported Stalin, and opposed American entry into World War II during the period of the Nazi-Soviet pact.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Last week Smith threw a tantrum because the Senate rightly voted to condemn MoveOn.org's Betray Us ad but did not pass the The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007. He says:
So let me get this straight: The Senate doesn't think the right of habeas corpus applies to everybody, nor does it think our soldiers deserve adequate time to rest between deployments, nor that the taxpayers of the District of Columbia are entitled to a vote in the U.S. Congress. It does, however, think that criticizing a general in a newspaper ad is beyond the pale.
Sorry Isaac, I hate to break it to you, but habeas corpus does not apply to "everybody". That is, our government is not bound to respect habeas corpus for those who do not have rights under our constitution, as in alien enemy combatants, which the proposed act tried to return the cases of these people to district court. Isaac, before you get upset, try checking that pesky little document called the constitution.
The Baltimore Sun Editorial Page
Like Isaac Smith, The Sun did not bother to consult the constitution before setting off on a spittle-flecked tirade against Republicans. In an editorial misleadingly titled politics vs. principle the Sun laments the failure of the DC voting rights bill in the Senate. The Sun says "much of the opposition to the current bill is rooted in politics and not principle. Riiight, no Republican opposition could have been rooted in constitutional principle to a bill that was so blatantly unconstitutional. Nope, and the prospect of an additional safe Democratic seat in the House could not possibly be a political motive for Democrats.
So for the Sun's edification. Congress lacks any constitutional authority to grant DC voting rights via legislation. The constitution does grant Congress the power to apportion seats, however it states specifically that representatives shall be apportioned among the several states; According to the constitution, DC is not a state. There are only four options, constitutional amendment, statehood, retrocession to Maryland, or exempting DC residents from federal taxation.
The fourth option seems to be the best and easiest to achieve. Plus it would be a bonus for DC residents. Think about it, pay no federal taxes with an ineffective delegate, or pay federal taxes with three ineffective representatives.
The Sun also accuses Republicans of tactics that are a throwback to the "tactics used against major civil rights legislation more than 50 years ago" oh you mean the racist Democrats who used those tactics. Democrats like senator and former Klansman Robert Byrd who opposed this current bill.
I have only one complaint for Martin Watcher: Where's my T-shirt?
Update: My T-shirt has arrvied, and I it has annoyed my Baltimore city neighbors to no end!
For more, I highly recommend this symposium, really a 6-way interview between historians hosted by Jamie Glazov at FrontPageMagazine.com dealing with historian Geoffrey Roberts new book Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 and the historical and moral issues surrounding the attempts to rehabilitate "Uncle Joe's" reputation.
A rule in life I try to live by is that there is always someone smarter and better than you. This is particularly true in blogging. There is always a stonger thinker and writer out there who can say it better than you can. A case in point is Roger Kimball at the New Criterion. Kimball has an excellent post regarding Ahmadinejad at Columbia at the New Criterion's blog Armavirumque titled The Poverty of Liberalism.
Kimball throroughly destroys Lee Bollinger and the lefts facile free speech argument in favor of Columbia inviting Ahmadinejad to speak.
A portion of Kimball's post:
Universities are institutions dedicated to the pursuit and transmission of learning and the furtherance of civilization.
They are not circuses for the exhibition of politically repugnant grandstanding. Free inquiry is not a license for moral irresponsibility. At a university, as at every other human institution, freedom can thrive only when it is limited by allegiance to certain positive values--the value of historical truth, for example, or the moral truth that human dignity is worth preserving.
President Bollinger's sophomoric conception of free speech is precisely the sort of supine intellectualism that,if consistently embraced, would make free speech impossible. President Bollinger primly lectures us that "It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas," etc. But he is quite wrong about that. By providing a madman like Ahmadinejad with a platform at Columbia University, President Bollinger has in effect welcomed him into the community of candid reasoners. He has granted him a patent of legitimacy that no amount of "dialogue and reason" can dissipate. In this case, "listening" is indeed tantamount to an endorsement. It reduces free speech to a species of political capitulation and renders dialogue indistinguishable from a suicide pact.
Kimball finishes with a relatively unknown but prescient quote from17th century English essayist Walter Bagehot:
The spectacle of these left-wing academics repudiating men like Larry Summers and Donald Rumsfeld even as they abase themselves scrambling to find excuses for welcoming a fanatic like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the halls of a great American University is disgusting. I think again of Bagehot's observation that "History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it." Are we really willing to let ourselves--our ideals, our way of life--be carelessly traduced by a rancid leftism so enfeebled that it can no longer distinguish between free speech and suicide? We are even now in the process of answering that question. How we answer it will determine a lot more than the issue of who gets to speak on American college campuses.
From the Baltimore Sun:
Dale G. Clark, 45, had provided computer services to City Hall over a six-year period, during which he worked mostly under a contract. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Clark was sentenced to five years of probation and a $5,000 fine for failing to file tax returns from 2002 to 2004.According to Deputy State Prosecutor Thomas M. McDonough, Clark failed to file tax returns
from his computer company, Ultimate Network Integration, since 1998. After being questioned last year by state authorities, Clark submitted unsigned and undated copies of Maryland tax returns for tax years 2000 through 2005. In 2002, for example, Clark said his taxable income was $7,044. He later amended the filing to indicate his taxable income was $86,883.
McDonough declined to comment about an investigation into the City Hall bidding process, but the plea agreement in Clark's case states: "Defendant agrees that he will cooperate fully with [the] state by providing truthful and complete information concerning his duties and activities and those of other employees and contractors of which he has knowledge when as required, including, but not limited to providing truthful and complete testimony concerning his dealings with officials and employees of the City of Baltimore."
Clark's attorney James Wiggins suggested that his clients preferential treatment from prosecutors was due to the fact of his relationship with Dixon and City Hall.
"He provided services to the Baltimore City Council; no one has
disputed this," Wiggins said. "There were some things said about the Baltimore City Council and the council president, who is now the mayor, that they may have in some way done something to give Mr. Clark [preferential treatment].
The Sun had previously reported that in 2001, the chief of staff to Dixon then City Council President, Beatrice Tripps had an email exchange with Clark to keep payments below $5,000 so the work would not have to be approved by the Board of Estimates, which surprise, surprise Dixon chaired.
Mayor Dixon's office had no comment other than, "Dale Clark is a private citizen. This is between him and the state prosecutor."
It is, for now.
For a complete archive of the Sun's reporting (34 articles) on the federal and state investigations into City Hall see here.
By now, everyone knows that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak at Columbia University today. Despite much public outcry, Columbia’s president Lee Bollinger has not rescinded the invitation as he did last year. It should not shock anyone that Columbia invited this thug to speak. Columbia has a long history of inviting anti-Semitic totalitarians. In the 1930s, Columbia invited a Nazi shill to praise the qualities of Adolph Hitler in the midst of Kristallnacht. When a student protested this, they expelled him. Like I said that Columbia invited Ahmadinejad to speak and the faculty willingly acquiesced, adds further proof to the axiom that some ideas are so bad only academics could think of them.
Let us be crystal-clear about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he denies the Holocaust calling it a “myth,” and aspires to be the man who brings about the destruction of Israel. About this, there is no dispute. Under Ahmadinejad Iran has fought proxy wars with Israel through Hezbollah, against the United States in Iraq, and taken British sailors hostage after abducting them in international waters. Read this Human Rights Watch report on Iran to see how rosy things are in Iran under Ahmadinejad’s domestic policies.
What place does a cretin like Ahmadinejad have to speak on an Ivy League campus just miles from Ground Zero? Ah yes freedom of speech and academic freedom comes the retort from the anti-American/anti-Israel (and usually anti-Semitic) crowd. I am all for free speech and academic freedom. However, in the case of Ahmadinejad at Columbia, free speech is a red herring. Ahmadinejad has had plenty of forums and opportunities to share his views with the American public. Dan Rather, Anderson Cooper and Scott Pelly have all interviewed Ahmadinejad and none sharply challenged him. Matt Lauer of the Today Show filed this softball interview of an Iranian professor schilling for Ahmadinejad during his trip to Iran.
Bollinger stated that he will issue a series of “sharp challenges” to Ahmadinejad. However, given that so-called “tough” professional journalists have consistently let Ahmadinejad off the hook, there is no reason to believe that Bollinger will be any more critical of him. We should take Bollinger’s paeans to free speech at face value. As National Review noted, Bollinger’s commitment to free speech is dubious at best. When the University of Michigan adopted a constitutionally odious speech code, Bollinger as dean of the law school stayed on the sidelines and only denounced the code AFTER a court struck it down.
No, the real issue here is that by inviting Ahmadinejad to speak, Columbia has granted him its imprimatur and the prestige that comes with an invitation to address the faculty at an Ivy League institution. That is not something a prestigious Ivy League university should be doing. Sadly, it is in line with the prevailing anti-Israel/anti-American, pro-terrorist views of its leading Middle East scholars like Joseph Massad, Gil Anidjar, and Hamid Dabashi. With faculty like this, Columbia has enough “scholars” bashing Israel, calling for its destruction, and spouting ant-Semitic hatred. Bollinger and the Columbia board of trustees should be ashamed for providing Ahmadinejad, the man seeking the power to make the dreams of these “academics” come true, a forum and respectability to spew this hatred.
I Stand With Israel.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Here are two such examples. I note them becuase they are fellow bloggers, not here in Maryland, but in other parts of the country.
Usually when I blog about Ron Paul, I get spittle-flecked comments from his supporters. so I was suprised to see that John Gorentz who runs a blog The Reticulator out of Battle Creek Michigan linked to, and gave a positive review of my critique of Paul's foreign policy. He describes his life story in reverse chronological order, “His days ended in one of Hillary’s internment camps.” Thanks John, lets hope we can stand athwart history.
Donald Douglas sent me a nice comment about my post-mortem on the Duke nonRape Case.
Douglas is a "pro-victory Associate Professor of Political Science teaching in Long Beach, California." I love the United States of America, and I fully support current U.S. military operations around the world. I despise the hard-left radical agenda and discourse. " He operates the blog Burkean Reflections.
Bravo Donald, you are indeed a rare species in academia.
I highly recommend his post about the true nature of the leaders of the anti-war movement.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
O’Malley made a lame attempt at a “bipartisan” appeal to Republicans saying, “To those of the more aberrant strain of that (the Republican) party, who believe that a government that works is bad, or that taxes and the payment of them is something dishonorable, I'm not really capable of reasoning with them, in a way that persuades them.”
WBAL reported that O’Malley said “abhorrent” not “aberrant.” On the audio file it is pretty clear O’Malley said “aberrant.” However, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that he considers us “aberrant” types “abhorrent” as well.
It is pretty choice of O’Malley to talk about government that works since he has never been a part of or led a government that did work. Oh wait I forgot that’s Baltimore bashing. We don’t consider taxes or paying them as dishonorable, in fact we do pay our taxes because it is the law and breaking the law is dishonorable. We favor LOW taxes because that spurs economic growth and increases tax receipts. What we take issue with is drastically raising taxes to cover a structural deficit while simultaneously expanding spending. This will not reduce the deficit because the state has so much legally mandated spending, far beyond what in takes in, hence the term “structural deficit.”
Of course O’Malley is not capable of reasoning with us; that would require some amount of reason on his part.
The survey was a 60 question multiple choice quiz. You can take the quiz here.
The five major findings are:
1. College Seniors Failed a Basic Test on America’s History and Institutions
2. Colleges Stall Student Learning about America
3. America’s Most Prestigious Universities Performed the Worst
4. Inadequate College Curriculum Contributes to Failure
5. Greater Learning about America Goes Hand-in-Hand with More Active Citizenship
See the school rankings here.
By the way I scored 55 out of 60, 92%. The mean score for Harvard seniors was 70%.
Earlier I took Kujan to task for twisting out of context, the words of Maryland Stadium Authority Board Member Dennis Mather as quoted by the Baltimore Sun. This is just the latest example of this nasty habit . Kujan’s response to me reveals the habit is just getting worse.
“Seeing as the MSA operates Camden Yards, and Mr. Mather sits on the MSA, he would be directly involved in creating the new contract for the living wage workers. Therefore, when he says these workers might be fired, his words certainly carry some weight, as he can influence whether or not this happens. The $4.30 hr raise, effectively referred to here as "a break" for the workers in question, is what Mr. Mather voted NO on. Forgive me for wildly peicing [sic] together that he doesn't want to give stadium workers a break.”
First, Kujan is dead wrong about Mather being directly involved in which workers are fired. He isn’t. The contractor, Knight Facilities Management Inc., as the Sun article specifically states, “hires the crews” not the MSA. The Sept. 6 vote stipulated that whatever else is in the new contract with Knight, they will have to pay the living wage to the workers they higher. The mandated living wage increase will negatively affect the number of people Knight can hire. This also reveals the typical progressive prejudice behind Kujan’s flawed logic. Mather based his position on the economic reality that higher costs will force Knight to higher fewer workers, but Kujan refuses to acknowledge that. No there must be some other sinister motive. Ah yes that’s it! Mather works for a conservative think tank therefore he must be against giving stadium workers “a break”.
Kujan willfully dismisses our larger economic argument in favor of the cheap shot at a conservative, which proves another point I made here. The reason Mather says these people may lose their jobs is that the mandated increase in wages for part-time workers leads to more people seeking a smaller number of positions putting some of the people the living wage purportedly helps, out of job. This is pure economic fact, as my colleague Brian Gill pointed out “If the stadium owners are forced to pay the cleaners more, they will not have as much money and cannot hire the same number of cleaners. Mandated wage increases causes unemployment, it's as simple as that.”
Mather voted against mandating the living wage because he understood that salient fact. Here are his exact words “My concern is that the people we are trying to protect may not have a job…Often, when we pass laws, we intend to do one thing and something else happens.” As in some of the stadium-cleaners won’t have jobs due to the living wage increase.
Kujan at some basic level understands this, and the fact that Mather’s position is based on sound economic principle and (gasp) genuine concern for stadium workers who will lose their jobs. However, Kujan is not interested in engaging that argument. He would rather vilify Mather as not caring about low-wage workers instead. Why let the hard work of actually making an argument get in the way of smearing someone you disagree with.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Meeting behind closed doors with Democrats only, Governor O'Malley unveiled his massive, yet sketchy plan for tax increases. From the Examiner:
According to lawmakers at a breakfast meeting, O’Malley is suggesting a 20 percent hike in the sales tax, higher income taxes on the top 17 percent of households - making more than $100,000 a year - and doubling the tobacco tax to $2 a pack. The governor would cut taxes for lower income levels, provide additional credits for low wage earners and also cut the small state property tax.
He also backs slot machine gambling as a way to raise revenues.
O’Malley envisions no gas tax hike, but prefers to raise the titling tax on vehicle purchases to 6 percent. He also was not backing the so-called Green Fund, creating a new tax on development to help fund Chesapeake Bay restoration.
The plans were part of a swift PowerPoint presentation that did not include many specifics, legislators said, but was more a broad outline of his approach.
O'Malley is not backing the Green Fund because he knows it is a loser. It failed to pass the General Assembly last year. Oh to be a fly on the wall to see Maggie Macintosh's, the bill's sponsor and chief O'Malley supporter in Baltimore City, reaction. Also, O'Malley does not want to burden his crony and faux environmentalist David Sutherland with any extra costs for developing his new tax payer funded real-estate acquisition on the Eastern Shore.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
According to the Maryland Department of Planning, Baltimore City lost 45,882jobs from 2000 to 2005. The number of retail establishments fell by 257 and retail sales dropped 11 percent during that time frame.
The data makes it no coincidence that 64,168 people moved out of the city to surrounding jurisdictions from 2000-2006. Fewer people means fewer property tax dollars to hire police, teachers, offer vital city services and pay the massive pension and health care bills for city employees.
Dixon has promised to throw “every ounce” of herself into the job, but energy is no substitute for realistic priorities, fundamental integrity and ability to rise above machine politics to serve all citizens.
Her transition team as interim mayor recommended 245 items needing immediate attention. There was no way she could have addressed them in less than a year as interim mayor and no way she will fix them in four years.
But by focusing on opening the city for business she may accomplish many of the items on the list. First on her agenda must be halving property taxes to the same levels as surrounding jurisdictions. It is the key to luring young, well-educated professionals and the employers that want to hire them.
We do not need any more evidence of how high taxes “help” the city.
Knowing that Dixon is a major cog in the machine, I won't hold my breath.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The crime sparked a “speak out” rally at Cole Field House and engendered debate on the subjects of race, culture, and diversity. The editors of the Diamondback hope that the incident and the “speak out” will prompt actual interaction among the diverse segments of the student body. The editors correctly state, “The university's apparent hyper-focus on keeping students statistically diverse seems as though it may have distracted it from what keeps the community from embracing its diversity.”
They hit on the central problem of diversity, summed up by Jonah Goldberg as “liberalism's reigning understanding of "diversity" is that every institution should "look like America" but think exactly alike.” If real dialogue and conversations about serious issues is going to occur then we need to understand that diversity, real diversity, is more than achieving a “critical mass” of skin color or ethnic background on campus. Real diversity, to quote Goldberg again, “allows for a diversity of ideas, not one set of ideas imposed across the entire country under the label ‘diversity.’”
Unfortunately, the diversicrats and totalitarian campus thought police have created an atmosphere on campus where thinking differently or dissenting from their multicultural orthodoxy gets you in hot water with the administration, your publications stolen, or worse. Look no further than the Duke non-Rape Case to see the length to which multicultural ideologues will go to perpetuate their orthodoxy.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
For perhaps the best explication of the farce that is Baltimore City politics see this piece from the Winter 2001 issue of City Journal.
Einstein said that repeating the same action over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Yesterday proved that nothing has changed and nothing will unless the people of this city decide to end the cycle of patronage and corruption. So far I see no evidence that they are willing to do so.
"The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings"
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Kevin Dayhoff has offered a very thoughtful commentary as well. I appreciate Kevin’s response. However, I take issue with his statement that “The National Review article painstakingly attempted to be as factual as possible it nevertheless unfortunately did a disservice to not only the reader but also to the National Review. It seemingly purposefully mislead, or at least at a minimum easily allowed the reader to be left with the impression that the site of the “Pumpkin Papers” was in danger – when this impression could not be farther from the truth.”
This is simply not true. I specifically noted so in my post, and John Miller did so as well in the article. Miller writes, “The proposed Union Mills Reservoir would not submerge any of the three houses on the Chambers property, which is nearly 400 acres in size, nor would it come near the spot where Whittaker Chambers stashed microfilm in a hollowed-out pumpkin at a climactic moment during the Hiss ordeal.”
The important thing here, is as Miller states, “To the son, however, the damage would go far beyond the loss of 15 acres, or an additional parcel of the farm that the reservoir would cut off from the rest of his land. ‘This place is about more than the pumpkin patch,’ he says. ‘You can’t tell me that one part of it matters less than another part of it. This is our home.’”
Mauricio Tamargo emailed me saying, “the main farm house and the pumpkin patch area are not threatened by the planned flood but the rear house, where Whittaker lived for the last ten years of his life and where he died is threatened by the water. I believe the water will, during a high pool level period of heavy rain or storm, come close enough to the rear house to flood it's basement with its antique stone foundation. Those basement walls will not hold and the whole house will collapse into the basement and be destroyed.”
There is nothing in the article, purposefully or otherwise, that can be construed as misleading the reader to think that the Pumpkin Papers site is in danger.
Monday, September 10, 2007
First, Ron Paul is a serious candidate and his views should be considered. However, his views on foreign policy are seriously flawed, which is why he should be taken seriously and refuted in a substantive manner. Conservatives, who refuse to take Paul seriously, are akin to those like the editors of the Wall Street Journal who refused to substantively debate the editors of National Review on the merits of the immigration reform bill. We on the right take great pride in our ability to hold great intellectual debates amongst ourselves. In fact, it was similar intramural debates within the right that gave rise to the modern conservative movement. When conservatives marginalize Ron Paul they detract from that august intellectual tradition. At least Mike Huckabee engaged Paul, if rather clumsily, in the last GOP debate. In the market place of ideas the better ideas win out. I believe that in a substantive debate between Paul’s ideas about foreign policy against so-called “interventionist” or neoconservative ideas, Paul loses.
So herewith is my substantive yet non-exhaustive response and rebuttal to Ron Paul’s foreign policy.
Ron Paul’s strict constitutionalist ideology in regards to foreign policy is an anachronism. Paul believes in a 1796 foreign policy where we stay behind our borders and ignore the changing world around us. If we keep our nose down no one will bother us. For Ron Paul, George Washington just finished telling us to avoid “entangling alliances” and is now in line at Starbucks ordering venti skim mocha. The world has changed, and like it or not there are those who mean to do us harm, because they hate our foreign policy AND our freedoms.
When Ron Paul says “I’m suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it,” fine, let’s do that but it is dishonest for Paul to limit their reasons only to their dislike of our foreign policy, when in fact bin Laden and the islamo-fascists do indeed hate the very freedoms we hold dear. One only needs to read the intellectual godfather of al Qaeda, Sayyid Qtub. Qtub’s work influenced Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s mentor. Qtub traveled through the United States in the 1950s and studied education in Colorado. Here is his overall assessment of America: “This great America: What is its worth in the scale of human values? And what does it add to the moral account of humanity? Nothing.” A 1950s sock-hop literally offended him. Qtub saw the contrast between America and the Middle East as the old world versus the new world. America was the antithesis of what he saw as the true zenith of civilization: Muhammad in the seventh century and the triumphant Muslim armies of the Middle Ages i.e. the caliphate and the dominance of Islam. Qtub railed against what he called Jahiliyyah or pre-Islamic ignorance and lack of Sharia law, all of which America represented. The means to fight Jahiliyyah was through offensive jihad. There is a direct line from Qtub to Osama bin Laden.
Al Qaeda would have attacked us even if the state of Israel withered away, all the Middle Eastern oil dried up and we removed our troops from the region. The islamo-fascist impulse to kill Americans is driven by far deeper motives than opposition to our foreign policy. This is the truth that Ron Paul cannot understand or refuses engage.
Ron Paul thinks all our problems stem from blowback of “50 years of bad policy.” Really, so that means we were wrong to stand up to the Soviets during the Cold War and wrong to support Israel the only functioning democracy in a region of despots! According to Paul, we really should not commit to an interventionist foreign policy because it might upset someone. Better to let West Berlin starve because airlifting supplies would make Stalin mad. By Paul’s reasoning cutting off oil supplies to the Japanese in 1941 was wrong because it caused them to attack Pearl Harbor.
Paul believes that we should not have an interventionist foreign policy because it invites blowback. That is his position, ok fine, but he never offers an alternative to the historical examples or the present day issues that complicate his simplistic view. It is like the peaceniks during the Vietnam War who sang, “all we are saying is give peace a chance.” That’s right, that’s all they were saying. They did not offer any arguments as to why giving peace a chance would have benefited the United States in Southeast Asia, furthermore look at the human tragedy that happened when peace was given a chance. Ron Paul is doing the same thing. Instead of peace, it is isolationism. Paul never offers a solution other than empty platitudes about the intent of the founding fathers. That is all fine and good, but it is not an argument. Paul never, makes an argument past stating his position of preaching non-interventionism in foreign policy and urging the GOP to return to its isolationist past (look how that turned out). Paul and his supporters spout their nonsense then sit back as if saying they have ended the argument, when at best, all they’ve done is start one.
As a veteran of last year’s Jessica’s Law campaign, I can tell you that it will take the same intense citizen effort to roll Joe Vallario, Brian Frosh, the trial lawyers who control the General Assembly. The trial lawyers and the criminal friendly progressives in the General Assembly will only do the right thing if they are constantly bombarded by sustained public pressure for fear of loosing their elected position.
I vividly remember the March 2007 testimony on behalf of Jessica’s law. I recounted the details of the campaign, especially Democrat obstructionism here. I was especially proud of my wife for her display of courage in testifying and telling her story to a room of complete strangers. The other thing I distinctly remember was the outright indifference to sheer hostility toward the bill and the snide attitude many of the Democratic committee members showed to those who testified. Two committee members Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) and Todd Schuler (D Baltimore County) were so upset at having to listen to testimony that they essentially asked, “what will it take you people to go away.”
One would expect Governor O’Malley to get behind the end of dimunition credits for child sex offenders. Don’t hold your breath, because O’Malley’s Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is a on the record opponent of Jessica’s Law and worked alongside Vallario to kill it 2006.
Ladies and Gentleman, if you want truth in sentencing for child sex offenders, if you want 25 years to mean 25 years then it is time to battle the same foes we defeated last year. We know the winning strategy; we must again muster the will to fight.
Jason Campbell's 2007 debut was inconsistent. He showed flashes of his potential, and showed us that he still has a ways to go yet. However, I am amazed by his composure, especially after throwing a pick on his first pass attempt. Campbell has the work ethic and composure, all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. Given time, he is going to be very very good. Although, his performance was inconsistent (12-22, 222 yards, 2 int) he made plays when he had to, the two deep balls to Randle-El and a key scramble for a first down to keep a scoring drive alive. Campbell and Randle El seem to be developing into a good combo. I only hope Moss gets into the act as well.
The running game finally made an appearance and was the difference in the game. 98 yards and a score for Portis, not bad for missing the entire pre-season. Ladell Betts added 59 yards.
400 total yards of offense, not bad.
The defense was solid giving up only 66 yards on the ground . The Dolphins picked on Fred Smoot in the flat and short passes to their backs exposed what could be the unit's weakness. We will see against the Eagles and Brian Westbrook, who use the short pass in lieu of the run.
It was an ugly grind it out victory. Stout defense and a bull dozing running game. Despite Dan Snyder's purchase of explosive offensive talent over the last three years, this is the essential character of the Redskins right now. It is also a good formula for making the playoffs.
Week 1 Grades:
Special Team B+
Also, I keep hearing rumors about the Redskins moving back to DC. If anyone has anything solid on this I would appreciate it if you could send it to me.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
To add a minor complication to Capital Punishment's assertion that "As for this supposed R belief in lack of governmental control wherever possible, that always seems to end when someone wants to, say for example, smoke a joint...,"
Not all conservatives believe so. In fact none other than the godfather of the modern conservative movement William F. Buckley Jr. has argued on both libertarian and utilitarian grounds against the drug war and the prohibition of drugs see here.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Johnson and his co-author Stuart Taylor have a great op/ed piece in today's Washington Post.
The malfeasance of Mike Nifong is well known and documented. However, Johnson's chronicle of the perverse actions of Duke's radical faculty is just as important.
Johnson and Taylor write:
But the case was also a major cultural event exposing habits of mind among academics and journalists that contradict what should be their lodestar: the pursuit of truth. Nifong's lies, his inflaming of racial hatred (to win the black vote in his election campaign) and his targeting of innocent people were hardly representative of criminal prosecutors. But the smearing of the lacrosse players as racist, sexist, thuggish louts by many was all too representative. Dozens of the activist professors who dominate campus discourse gleefully stereotyped and vilified their own students -- and not one member of Duke's undergraduate faculty publicly dissented for months. Duke President Richard Brodhead repeatedly and misleadingly denigrated the players' characters. He also acted as though he had no problem with Nifong's violations of their rights to due process.
Johnson is no stranger to these tenured radicals. Johnson ran afoul of their brethren at Brooklyn College for the transgression of demanding academic freedom for and academic rigor for Brooklyn College students, and dissenting from their radical totalitarian groupthink.
The Duke case is the most visible reminder of the intellectual rot that poses as scholarship on our college campuses. There are many other less publicized cases of tenured radicals stomping on the rights of students who dare to think for themselves or dissent from their ideological worldview.
Ron Paul Goes to the Post Office
Clerk: Good afternoon, sir. What can I help you with today?
"Dr. Paul": I'd like to mail out these letters of marque and reprisal.
Clerk: What's the zip code they're being sent to?
"Dr. Paul": There is no zip code. I'm sending them to Pakistan.
"Dr. Paul": Yes, Congress has the authority under the Constitution to issue letters of marque and reprisal to authorize private citizens to take action against person or property that would otherwise be considered piracy. I'm sending these to some individuals in Waziristan so they have our authority to capture Osama bin Laden.
"Dr. Paul": Because the President's authority in wartime is far more limited than this president believes.
"Dr. Paul": And we could have avoided much of the war since 9/11 if we'd just authorized a bunch of privateers to apprehend Mr. bin Laden.
Clerk: You're a member of Congress?
"Dr. Paul": Yes.
Clerk: You're entitled to send mail for free.
"Dr. Paul": It doesn't say that in the Constitution. All it says is that Congress has the power to establish post offices and post roads.
Clerk: You really are a one-trick pony.
(Video of Hugh Hewitt's interview, via Ace.) (Also here.)
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Melissa makes four points. Points 2 and 4 I don’t have a problem with because they point out ostensibly factual errors in the article and were in fact quite informative. However, points 1 and 3 are, no pun intended, odd.
Point 1. “You quote Donald Fry pretty extensively. But you don't mention that, as president of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), he has an axe to grind. Namely, that raising corporate taxes to help increase funding for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) -- the very one he laments is suffering from underfunding -- is terrible, awful, no-good, and very bad (see GBC's press release). I'm thinking journalist ethics generally require full disclosure.”
Quoting a member of the business community who opposes tax increases constitutes a violation of journalistic ethics? Sorry Melissa, but the article has extensive quotes from mass transit citizen advocates as well.
Point 3. “Obtaining "choice" riders. Yes, this is priority. But please don't act as though it is an impossibility. Getting riders out of their cars could involve increasing gas or excise taxes to more heavily subsidize transit over highway.”
“Choice riders” is a deceptive term for us troglodytes who have not seen the light and forsaken our cars for the government funded glory that is mass transit. The prescription of increased gas and excise taxes is nothing more than government coercion to limit our choice to poorly run government run mass transit, much like government schools.
I’m not against public transportation in fact I have used it in the past, where it has worked for me and declined to use it where it has not. I used to commute from Baltimore to jobs in DC and Old Town Alexandria. I drove my car from my home in Baltimore near Hopkins to Penn Station and took the MARC train to Union Station and then METRO to my DC or Old Town destinations. At one point, I tried taking the MTA bus from the stop near my home to Penn Station. The bus was hardly on time, for the scheduled stops, and during some periods of the year that line did not run a full slate of buses. Going back home from Penn Station after work there wasn’t even a reliable bus that would arrive within 30 minutes of the time my MARC train arrived back in Baltimore, if that train even arrived on time at all. It was more time and cost efficient for me to drive to Penn Station, getting there early enough to find the free parking spots surrounding the station. Now that I work in Baltimore, it still doesn’t make sense to use mass transit because I can get to and from work faster driving my car than taking the bus. The Baltimore transit system is not reliable for all of us, and the progressive prescription, milking the taxpayers to throw more money at the system, like their discredited solution for schools, won’t make it more reliable.
Why should those of us who drive—the best choice for us—have to incur higher fuel costs and taxes to increase funding to an unreliable system we do not use?
New York Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai’s new book The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics offers a well-reasoned, persuasive argument that even though folks like George Soros, MoveOn.org, and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga now control the Democrat Party, the left as a whole lacks any real intellectual framework, nor does it advance any real intellectual argument at all. As Times reviewer Nick Gillespie writes, “Bai describes a movement long on anger and short on thought.” Progressives love to shout, “Bush lied!” “No blood for oil!” or “Halliburton” then sit back as if they have won an argument, when at best, all they have done is start one. The key point in Bai’s analysis is, “There’s not much reason to think that the Democratic Party has suddenly overcome its confusion about the passing of the industrial economy and the cold war, events that left the party, over the last few decades, groping for some new philosophical framework.”
Bai gives a keen insight into the mentality of the left that shows us why, in the long term, the new owners of the Democrat Party will not be successful in electoral politics. From Gillespie’s review:
“The Argument” provides plenty of reasons to think that the Democrats, owing to an off-putting mix of elitism toward the little people and glibness toward actual policy ideas, are unlikely to go over the top anytime soon. Or, almost the same thing, to make the most of any majority they hold. The book describes Soros, after Bush’s victory in 2004, coming to the realization that(in Bai’s words) “it was the American people, and not their figurehead, who were misguided. ... Decadence ... had led to a society that seemed incapable of conjuring up any outrage at deceptive policies that made the rich richer and the world less safe.” Rob Reiner, the Hollywood heavyweight who has contributed significantly to progressive causes and who pushed a hugely expensive universal preschool ballot initiative in California that lost by a resounding 3-to-2 ratio, interrupts a discussion by announcing: “I’ve got to take a leak. Talk amongst yourselves.” Bai never stints on such telling and unattractive details, whether describing a poorly attended and heavily scripted MoveOn.org house party or a celebrity-soaked soiree in which the host, the billionaire Lynda Resnick, declared from the top of her Sunset Boulevard mansion’s spiral staircase, “We are so tired of being disenfranchised!”
Another example of progressive intellectual “heft” from the “The Argument”:
Moulitsas, the Prince Hal of the left-liberal blogosphere, comes off as an intellectual lightweight, boasting to Bai that his next book will be called “The Libertarian Democrat” but admitting that he has never read Friedrich Hayek, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and social theorist, who is arguably most responsible for the contemporary libertarian movement. Moulitsas’ co-author (of “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics”), Jerome Armstrong, talks a grand game about revolutionary change, but signed on as a paid consultant to former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, an archetypal centrist Democrat whose vapid presidential campaign ended almost as quickly as it began. When MoveOn — the Web-based “colossus” whose e-mail appeals, Bai says, have always centered on the same message: “Republicans were evil, arrogant and corrupt” — devised its member-generated agenda, it came up with a low-calorie three-point plan: “health care for all”; “energy independence through clean, renewable sources”; and “democracy restored.”
So now progressive left is now organized and it owns the Democrat Party. But what have they done with it? What new ideas or intellectual arguments have they advanced? None! This is because they are not about advancing an ideology they are more concerned with winning. Moulitsas, openly admits it “…I'm not ideological at all I'm just all about winning.” The netroots love to claim how they started a new revolution in politics. However, the only thing revolutionary they have done is use new technology as a means to spread a message. However, the vehicle through which a message is sent, means nothing if the message itself is bunk. Progressives fall for the false assumption that conservative political victories are the product of slick, deceptive PR campaigns, strict party discipline and the “right wing noise machine.” However, conservatives won victories on the substance of their ideas and arguments. The conservative movement was chiefly an intellectual movement founded to oppose expanding Soviet communism abroad and creeping statism at home. The “right wing noise machine” that draws so much ire from progressives did not exist until after the foremost conservative victory, the election of Ronald Reagan.
Furthermore, the left appears bent on creating their own version the right’s organizational and media apparatus without concentrating on the intellectual underpinning of the message they disseminate. For example, see Issac Smith’s political paramour Matt Stoller’s praise for one of left’s archenemies, conservative organizer Grover Norquist. “To the extent that I have a political hero, it’s probably Grover Norquist, not Ralph Nader.” Conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, in particular is successful because of the substance of what he says, not just because he has a microphone. If that is all that is required, then Al Franken and Air America would be juggernauts. They aren’t, because when it comes to advancing ideas they peddle the same tired and progressive tropes.