Thursday, November 14, 2002

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but given their support for us in Afghanistan and Iraq, I'd say lets back Tony to the hilt.
Okay, even if you're a pacifist, you can't help but realize that this technology is really, really, cool
The Acidman has a great posting on a point that I made previously. He just does it better.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

This article (via Instapundit) just nails a conclusion I've been coming to for a while, now. Here's an excerpt:

Europeans do not yet get this, the great sea change that has taken place in the American foreign policy establishment. It would be easy to date this from the terrorist attack on 9/11, but it goes back further. I can recall hearing the first faint notes of this leitmotif of American contempt, like the distant hunting call in some Wagnerian opera that foreshadows the musical thunder to come, during the Bosnian crisis in 1993-95.

Perhaps we should have recognized hints of it back in the 1980s, over the sanctions against the Siberian gas pipeline and over 'Star Wars.' Most European diplomats dismissed these arguments at the time as clumsy Reaganism, the embarrassing kinds of excess to be expected from provincial American politicians. Doubtless, they smugly assured one another, Reagan's crudities would soon be tamed by their good friends in the foreign policy establishment: the State Department; the Council on Foreign Relations; and the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Well, the Europeans may still be able to count on the sympathies and cultural deference of many East Coast journalists, but something has shifted among the diplomats, the think tanks and even many of the academics. At a think-tank meeting last week, when a European diplomat asked rather patronizingly what all these American weapons were actually for, a renowned liberal academic simply quoted Kipling's line about "Making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep." And then he turned on his heel and walked away.

Now generally, I consider myself an internationalist. A conservative, yes, but an internationalist. Increasingly, however, I can't help but see many of our Western European allies as imposing incredibly unreasonable demands and offering us nothing but contempt in return. This might be okay if they proved militarily or politically useful, but, so far they've been neither. Simply put, I'm starting to feel that "cooperation with our European allies" has become little more than a euphamism for "getting raked over the coals by people who play us for fools".

The thing is, I know I'm not alone in thinking this. More and more over recent months, I've been hearing educated people on the center-right who pay attention to international affairs (you know, the sort of people who've traditionally formed the core of NATO supporters) questioning what the U.S. actually gets out of the NATO alliance or asking whether we might not be better served by a Churchillian Anglosphere alliance, or even an approachment with Eastern Europe.

Now the thing is, every time I've quetioned the necessity of adhering to these allies' views or questioned whether their goals are compatible with our interests when talking to more left-of-center internationalists, I've gotten stares like I'm an escapee from the 1950s-60s John Birch Society. I think this is a parallel here to what's happening in the diplomatic front. Many of our NATO allies have gotten used to dictating the price of their continued support. Meanwhile our support has been costless. But this situation is nothing more than a holdover of the Cold War. Inasmuch as they have absolutely nothing of value (and no, I place not value whatsover on their incessant carping) to offer us, our continued support for the alliance has become strictly voluntary; it bears no relationship whatsoever to geostrategic reality. Now I'm sure the left will accuse me of trying to sabotoge the Western alliance. That's just patently not the case. I'd go so far as to say, that the alliance is still salvageable. But a Europe that refuses to acknowledge the altered geopolitical situation, that continues to act as if it can dictate terms while having no military or strategic leverage, that insists that it has the right to become a geostrategic counterbalance to the U.S. on our dime, is doing worse than acting politically and diplomatically immature and irresponsible. It is fiddling while NATO burns.
From the Best of the Web

The California Patriot reports that some 200 little kids got dragged to Berkeley City Hall for an "antiwar" protest yesterday:

*** QUOTE ***

Armed with protest signs, microphones, and Harry Potter lunch-boxes, elementary and pre-school children demanded city leaders contact President Bush and halt his hawkish "war for oil." . . .

Though most students at the rally could not even name Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, many seemed certain the pending U.S. led war in Iraq is about oil.

Celia, age 6, who could not spell her hyphenated last name, told the crowd President Bush "wants to make war because he wants oil."

"What is so important about cars anyway," she asked.

Later, when asked if she could name the president of Iraq, Celia, stumped, turned to a friend and asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" Her friend, equally puzzled, responded, "I think it's a boy."

Noah, who declined to give his last name, also age six, asserted the looming war is not only about oil, but also "other things, like Bush wanting land."

"It is like us squashing ants," he said. . . .

Skyler Johnson, 5, hadn't learned much about the conflict in Iraq. When he was asked who is the President of Iraq, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "My mom might know." After she came over and gave him little coaching, he was able to muster, "We don't want war. Oil kills lots of people."

*** END QUOTE ***

Putting matters simply, I find this sort of tactic disgusting. By having thier children make arguments that they're unwilling to stand on the merits alone, he parents urging this are using their children as a human shields against argument. Whatsmore, I think its very unlikely that they're allowing the children to think through views of their own, robbing the kids of the ability to develop their own free will. Now, before you go off accusing me of ranting and raving simply because I don't agree with the position the children are taking, imagine that the situation were reversed and it was the right pulling these stunts.

Say on abortion: Under Woe vewsus Wade, a mean ol' abortionist could have wipped my widdew head off.

or on gun control: If we didn't have such westwictive gun waws Mommy and Daddy could have stopped the bad ol' wobbu' befaw he hurt dem.

the accounting scandals: Don't make Daddy go to jail for messing up on those silly math problems....!!!

or tax cuts: I would've gotten my own bedwoom but the mean ol' IRS took aw Daddy's money

or even Iraq: We gotta stop Saddam Hussein befoa he bwows up a buncha peopow wike dose mean ol' tewowists did to my Daddy in Wowd Twade Centaw.

Sleazy isn't it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I've noticed that a few of the lefty bloggers (by the way, this one is classic tin-foil hat stuff) have been bringing up the Apollo missions and the space program and waxing nostolgically for the Space program. Now you're not going to find too many bigger supporters of the space program than me. I'll go even further and criticize them for demanding it remain an undeveloped no-mans-land. What I don't get, though is their fondness for the program. Are they aware that the Apollo program represented probably the ultimate in dual-use technologies? Are they aware that, technically, rockets and missles are the same exact thing? When we sent the rocket to the moon, we were telling the world that OUR missles are capable of hitting the moon. Guess where else they're capable of hitting. ANYWHERE WE WANT!! Wierd.

Monday, November 11, 2002

On the site for his show, Bill Moyers has a bit of whining about the results of the mid-term elections (surprise, surprise). However, I find the mendacity in this comment just a little too much:

Way back in the 1950's when I first tasted politics and journalism, Republicans briefly controlled the White House and Congress. With the exception of Joseph McCarthy and his vicious ilk, they were a reasonable lot, presided over by that giant war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, who was conservative by temperament and moderate in the use of power.

That brand of Republican is gone. And for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government — the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary — is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate.

So, tell me Bill, would you include, say Barry Goldwater in that "reasonable lot"? If so, how do you justify the fact that you led Lyndon Johnson's smear campaign against him? I'm sure you recall: "In your heart you know he might" or the "Daisy Petals" commercial. If you'll have the basic decency to admit that you were guilty of a smear job then (somehow, I'm sure you'll find a rationalization), maybe you'll be able to enlighten us as to why we shouldn't think you're doing the same thing this time.

Saint Bill got his start as Lyndon Johnson's hatchet man. His ground-breaking accomplishment was to paint the Republican candidate as a psychotic who intended to blow up the world. In short, to smear the opposing candidate. Since that time, he's moved on to become a "journalist of the intellect". Essentially, what this amounts to is pimping out a few popular intellectuals on the PBS dime. Of course, as salaried president of the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, which provided grants to a number of the intellectuals, Mr. Moyers never quite made clear that he had a direct interest in some of these intellectuals' public credibility. Somehow or another, all of this is supposed to make Mr. Moyers a moral authority. I'm sorry, but in my book, it just makes him a smug hypocrite.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Be careful about calling people stupid....

For the last two or three years or so, I've heard my liberal friends talk contemptuously, dare I say venemously, about how stupid and unintelligent President Bush is. Its something they seem to have taken on from various opinion leaders. Maureen Dowd, using references to the president like "The Boy Emperor", seems to be one of the most vociforous. In light of the recent electoral gains, I thought it might be a little bit useful to make a few observations.

President Bush is a graduate of Yale undergrad and Harvard Business School. He proceeded to make a fortune in the oil business, and then proceded to make a second fortune running a baseball team. He served as a two-term Republican Governor in Texas, something that hadn't happened since Reconstruction, and decided to run for President.

It was then that he came to the attention of various left-leaning opinion leaders. And it was then that the comments about his intelligence started. Now, lets examine the record since then. He was able to win a presidential election against a two-term liberal Vice-President serving under a popular President during a period of peace and prosperity. Congressional authorization for use of force against Iraq? No problem! The UN? Piece of cake! And now he's been able to push the left out of control of Congress. So, I guess I need to ask, if the President is so stupid and such a moron, and he's been so able to consistently outwit the liberals opposing him, what does that say about their intelligence?

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

As a card-carrying member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (tm) (I'm still waiting on the nifty new decoder ring), of course I'm happy with the results of last night's election. Make no mistake about it. This election was a referrendum on the POTUS (i.e. President of the United States). The Democrats specifically saw to this. Unfortunately for them, it was a strategy that blew up in their face, as one might expect in a referrendum on a popular sitting president. Had they made it about specific candidates, its entirely possible that they'd have done much, much, better. While I think that the rule of law took a hit in New Jersey's election of Frank Lautenberg, I'm particularly happy that Walter Mondale got beaten in Minnesota. The skeevie Wellstone "memorial" (sorry for the scare quotes, but one tacky turn deserves another) service, probably hurt him and the entire Democratic party. Not only do people just not like to see politics taking on that kind of centrality to personal life, the entire thing probably served to energize the Republican base by giving them the impression that "those Democrats will stop at nothing". Also, as James Lileks points out, Mondale is so out of touch with the digital age, he thinks that getting the western part of his state high-speed internet access is about lower interest rates and plowing more money into the state college system.

I've heard some commentators on the left starting with the "Okay, who do we can?" spiel. I suppose that it makes sense to clean house following a major defeat. Some of the more liberal Democratic commentors are saying it should be Daschle and/or Gephardt. The reasoning goes that their authorizing force in Iraq didn't save control of the Senate as expected, so.... I think that would be a mistake. If Republicans had been left the Iraq issue, Democratic losses would have been much, much more significant. Terry McAulife, on the other hand, seems a pretty good candidate for the axe. While a terrific fundraiser, Mr. McAulife, as chairman of the Democratic Party, is also supposed to set the course for the party's strategy. In this, he clearly failed.

That said, I'd also advise the Republicans to keep in mind that the election was a referrendum on the POTUS's performance in office so far. They feel he is doing an okay job on the economy and they favor the Republican position on national security and foreign policy. I think that most people who voted for the Republicans weren't doing so because they want to ban abortion, outlaw internet pornography, or restore traditional values. Undoubtedly, the temptation to do things on these sorts of issues will be strong for most Republicans. It will satisfy a large portion of the party base and will be fairly easy with control of both the White House and Congress. Therein lies the danger. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If they want to actually keep control of both branches of government through the 2004 election, they'll have to resist the temptation to go in this direction and stay focused on the issues that won last night's election.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Jane Galt has a posting where she expresses a degree of condolence for Michael Bellesiles, the author of Arming America, who recently got axed from Emory University for some very distict problems with the veracity of his work (euphamism for the guy was lying through his teeth...). And there's more than a little shadenfreude displayed in the comments section. As Jane sees it, one of the issues Mr. Bellesiles now faces is that:

His life is effectively over. He will never work again in his chosen field. He will never publish again. He stands revealed to everyone whose opinion ever mattered to him as a liar and a fraud. Frankly, I find it hard to imagine what he will do, since professors rarely have a lot of money, and their skills are somewhat rarified. Most of the professors I've worked for couldn't even type or file well enough to work in an office.

I'm not so sure. Even leaving aside the conspiratorial possibilities of some sort of left-wing consolation prize, I think the professor still has a lot of career options ahead of him. Teaching high school history (or even teaching at a community college) or library work might not carry the prestige of serious academia, but it certainly can make for an okay life. Whatsmore, I think it helpful to consider the risk / return tradeoff in Bellesiles' decision to publish fraudulent work.

It could very easily have turned out that the discrepancies in his work didn't get caught. Its been pointed out that 10 years ago, its very likely that he would have. So, where that leave us. Had this not happened, Bellesiles was well on his way to academic superstardom. He was still young and had just won the most prestigious prize for American history out there. His next book would probably top the bestseller list. He would have been doing very lucrative lecture tours, giving amicus briefs to various federal courts, etc. etc. In short, he would have led a charmed life...based on fraud. In short, when he decided to start fudging numbers, this outcome was also part of his agreed upon set of outcomes. After all, do you feel bad for someone who bought a lottery ticket and didn't win?