Friday, April 26, 2002

The Cultural Elite's Courageous Provocative Mockery

The Cutlural Elite's Courageous Provocative Mockery
It would seem that there are flags and then there are flags. But one thing we have all learned is that not all flags are created equal. To many in the cultural elite, it’s a mark of courage and almost a constitutional obligation to burn certain flags. But others, well you’d be far better off if you didn’t even think about it.
An immature and rather clumsy attempt by some students at the University of Idaho to burn the flag of the Gay/Straight Alliance has resulted in a bit of a firestorm and has the culturally anointed upper crust sniffing its disapproval. But one would have to be entirely irony-proof not to notice that many of these same, self-anointed cultural elitists are among the first to heap scorn upon anyone who would defend the American flag from similar treatment.
The flag that the U I students found so offensive was an intentional mockery of the American flag. Like the real thing, it had a field of white stars on a blue background, but the red and white stripes were replaced with colors of the rainbow. The offending U I students considered the flag disrespectful of the genuine article, and took it upon themselves to defend the solemnity of the real American flag. They broke into the offices of the Gay/Straight Alliance, stole, and tried to burn the flag. The flag was made of a fire retardant material and refused to ignite. So the students ended up tossing it into the garbage. The offenders have been discovered and have been made social pariahs. Their dishonored carcasses have been cast into the abyss of political incorrectness.
All were members of the student government and have since resigned. They now find themselves under criminal investigation.
Somehow, I doubt that someone who burned a genuine American flag would be subjected to similarly harsh treatment. In fact, many of the very same people now calling for the heads of these particular flag burners would defend those who burned a real American flag. The American flag burners would probably be hailed for their audacity and the elite would be instructing us to somberly consider the flag burners message and to understand the root causes of their righteous indignation.
Certainly there is more here than just flag burning. Breaking into the office and stealing the flag are crimes themselves. But such aggravating factors are not considered where American flags are burned. For example, a few years back when a group of conservative legislators in Olympia, Washington suggested that open burning and air pollution laws might be used to punish American flag burners, the cultural elite responded with a storm of snorts. In truth, just about anytime an American flag is burned, the flag burner could be charged with some sort of disturbance. Just try burning a cardboard box on a street corner sometime and see what happens to you. But, when an American flag is burned, all crimes associated with it are excused.
Without a doubt, the very same people who can be counted upon to snort derisively at those who wish to defend the flag of the United States, are huffing and puffing about the attempted burning of the homosexual flag. There can be no doubt that, if a student senator were to burn an American flag, he or she would not be expected to resign.
Consider what would likely transpire if a very similar series of events occurred, but with a less politically correct flag. Imagine that some white supremicists had displayed a flag on which the stars were replaced with little white swastikas. Were somebody to break in, steal and burn that flag, I doubt that the cultural elite would have huffed even one puff and probably would have applauded whomever had burned that flag.
Perhaps now, the anointed can start parading the damaged flag around, giving it much the same treatment as the partially shredded flag found in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Maybe they can even stage their own Iwo Jima-like flag raising. It would be just the sort of courageous provocative mockery that the cultural elite admires.
The lesson to be taken from this episode is that common people revere the American flag, but only the best people revere the diversity flag.

Friday, April 19, 2002

The Teachers' Union's Dumb, Dangerous Lack of Ideas

The Teachers' Union's Dumb, Dangerous Lack of Ideas
From the perspective of the teachers’ union goons, I suppose that obeying the law ranks as a “dumb, dangerous idea.” That might be because obeying laws seems to confound the teachers’ union. And they don’t like it when obeying those laws is demanded of them. For the second time in recent years, the teachers’ union has chosen to spend its members’ dues illegally. And for the second time, they’ve been called to task by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. As evidenced by their temper tantrum, the union goons don’t like it one bit.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation is a libertarian leaning think tank, that thinks, among other things, that laws should be obeyed. It is particularly interested in seeing to it that its own pet project, Initiative 134, is obeyed, enforced and upheld.
Initiative 134, otherwise known as the Paycheck Protection Act, forbids trade unions from spending compulsory union dues upon political campaigns. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation thinks that your money is your own and nobody has the inherent authority to seize your money and use it to promote political candidates or causes – particularly if the earner of that money does not support the same political agenda as the union bosses. And even if the wage earner does support the same candidate or cause as the union, the wage earner should have the right to decide just what, if any, support to give. As much as a teacher might want Al Gore to win, that same teacher might prefer to buy her child a new pair of shoes rather than buy a radio spot for that particular sweat soaked failed politician.
Washington Education Association president is particularly miffed because his union would probably get away with flouting the law if it weren’t for the EFF. As the state’s law enforcers betray little enthusiasm for enforcing laws that take money out of their own political coffers, the EFF has once again taken matters into its own hands by suing the WEA. This has provoked the WEA into a spasm of name calling.
So now that the union cannot use its members dues’ for political campaigns, the union goons have decided to spend their members’ dues on a campaign of name calling. The union has placed advertisements in newspapers and on radio ridiculing the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s leader, Bob Williams. On radio they refer to him as a “failed politician.”
To qualify as a failed politician, the radio ad recalls Bob Williams last two political campaigns: "Bob Williams, remember him?" says the radio ad. "Ran for governor -- lost. Ran for Congress -- lost. Washed-up, out of work, Bob decides he's an `idea guy."
The newspaper ad depicts a man in a dunce cap and disparages the Evergreen Freedom Foundation as a group of, “extremists with dumb, dangerous ideas."
"A legitimate think tank doesn't spend the money they do litigating," whined Washington Education Association President Charles Hasse, in defense of the name calling campaign.
I dunnoh about that. But, according to the law, a legitimate union does not spend its money on political campaigns.
The union likes to make a big issue of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s finances. It points out that much of its money comes from out of state. The Walton Foundation, of Bentonville Arkansas, donated $300,000 to EFF from 1998 through 2000. Richard Mellon Scaife’s “Sarah Scaife Foundation” gave EFF $150,000. The Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation contributed $250,000.
To the teachers’ union, there is something nefarious about people giving money freely to causes they favor. The union goons’ view is that there is something pure about spending the money that it strong-arms from its members.
What’s of particular interest is the level of debate the teachers’ union has chosen. Rather than engage the EFF on the battlefield of ideas, the goons prefer immature ad hominem attacks against the man who puts a whuppin’ on them every time he can draw them onto that battlefield.
The teachers, whose money is being spent on this temper tantrum, really have to ask a couple of questions: In what light does this sort of childish behavior place their profession, and is this really what their leadership is paid to do? Somehow, I doubt that appearing more immature and petulant than their charges in the classroom really does them any favors.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Democrats' Best Hope is a Republican?

Democrats's Best Hope for Unseating Bush is a Republican?
Showing just how weak the Democratic Party has become, two influential Democrat-leaning magazines have begun touting John McCain as the Democrats' best candidate for 2004. The only problem is that John McCain is a Republican, at least on paper.
What does this say about what the party theorists think about such as Tom Daschle, Tricky Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and sweaty Al Gore?

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Cynthia McKinney's Terrorist Ties

Cynthia McKinney's Terrorist Ties
Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney has bee the most sympathetic of all prominent Democrats toward the cause of Arab terrorism. A look at her list of financial backers might tell us why. The Southeastern Legal Foundation has assembled a list of McKinney contributors who have close ties to Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. You might want to take a look.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Eyman Sets off Government's Immune System

Eyman Sets off Government's Immune System
Once again, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation has found the need to assume law enforcement duties that are being neglected by Washington state’s law enforcers. That’s because, for the second time in recent years, a renegade teacher’s union has managed to run afoul of Washington’s campaign finance laws. And, for the second time, the state has pursued the union’s transgressions as ploddingly and indifferently as possible.
Back in 2000, the National Education Association poured half a million dollars into the campaigns for the teacher backed initiatives 728 and 732. These initiatives ensured that Washington would hire lots of teachers and that these teachers would enjoy guaranteed pay raises every year. It’s a nice deal if you can get it, and they did get it. The problem is that, a few years prior, Washington’s citizenry voted that unions may not use their members’ dues for political campaigns.
It’s not all that easy to violate this particular law anymore. Ever since the state’s Public Disclosure Commission and the Attorney General’s office interpreted the law into near impotence, to be prosecuted under this law, it takes some seriously flagrant wrongdoing.
Unlike the recently passed and signed federal campaign finance law, Washington’s law is actually constitutional. It forbids unions from spending its members’ money on political campaigns without the individual member’s permission. The Washington State Attorney General’s office and the Public Disclosure Commission have manage to essentially emasculate the law by simply requiring that such of their members’ money as they wish to spend must simply be funneled through a slush fund beforehand. Apparently, the ham-handed NEA couldn’t even manage that subtlety.
Even so, it required a complaint from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation to get law enforcement off its fanny and into the game. In the end, the case ended up before the Public Disclosure Commission, which is empowered to punish violators with little more than a gentle slap on the wrist. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation could easily see what was coming and took the case out of the state’s hands by filing a lawsuit of their own.
This stands in stark contrast to the state Attorney General’s reaction to the supposed malfeasance of anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman. Whereas it once appeared that Eyman’s chronic initiative crusades were a manifestation of his Clintonesque narcissism, it has now come to light that he has also managed to skim a pretty good supplemental income from his initiative drives. Unsurprisingly, Attorney General Christine Gregoire sharpened her fangs and went straight for Eyman’s jugular.
Compare the state’s reactions to these two cases of campaign finance violation. Two years elapsed before Washington threatened the teachers’ union with a scolding. Before the foundation’s lawsuit, the NEA was threatened with a maximum fine of $2500 per violation. Even getting to that point required prodding from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. That paltry fine is a pretty small price for the union to pay, considering what a rich harvest those two initiatives have yielded for the union. The teachers’ union initiatives virtually guaranteed that the first priority of the public education system will be the financial best interests of teachers.
On the other hand, it took only a couple of months for the Attorney General to train both barrels on Eyman. He too was originally threatened with only $2500 fines, but Gregoire demands $30,000 per violation.
It is virtually certain that the comparative urgency with which the state pursued these grievances had something to do with ideology. The party of government, otherwise known as the Democratic Party, casts a cold eye on people who deprive them of power or money. That’s what Tim Eyman does.
Dianne McDaniel, of the Washington State Labor Council, complains that Tim Eyman’s initiatives are, “a threat to our state and local governments." She blames Eyman for the closing of libraries and parks, and for unfilled potholes.
A similar accusation could be made against the teachers’ unions. Initiatives 728 and 732, sponsored by and perhaps illegally campaigned for by the NEA, have bled money from other programs, such as parks, libraries and road maintenance.
But, unions, and in particular, the teachers’ unions, share the same root system with the Democratic Party. The party of government will predictably hesitate to pursue a government union.
Tim Eyman, on the other hand, is of a competing species, who will inflame government’s immune system.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Religion of Peace Update

Religion of Peace Update
Nat Hentoff, writing in the Washington Times, assembles quotes from a variety of sources that all ask the same question: Were there ever to be an independent Palestinian state, what form would it take? As Thomas Friedman states, "a state brought about by suicide bombers will forever be deformed."
Even former Peter Jennings' former girlfriend, Hanan Ashrawi, in a rare moment of honesty is quoted as condemning the attacks. "Why and when did we allow a few from our midst to interpret Israeli military attacks on innocent Palestinian lives as license to do the same to their civilians? When and why did our elected (Palestinian) legislative council become a political instrument for the few, or a self-negating powerless body for the many?"
She has been conspicuously absent from the world forum since.
Again, Thomas Friedman notes, suicide bombing "threatens all civilization because if suicide bombing is allowed to work in Israel, then like hijacking and airplane bombing, it will be copied and will eventually lead to a bomber strapped with a nuclear device threatening entire nations. That is why the whole world must see this Palestinian suicide strategy defeated."
This is why those pussies in Europe must be ignored. Civilization must not allow Yasser Arafat's strategy to succeed. Rome fell because it lost its resolve to defend its civilization. When the Gothic king Alaric laid siege to Rome, the Romans asked what they would get in return for opening their gates to his hoards.
"Your lives," was his answer. And it was enough. Rome allowed Alaric into their city and the foundational rot that had afflicted Rome finally caused its collapse. The Europeans, for all their snooty self-importance are too willing to surrender to the world's barbarians and are offended when others stand up for it. It's apparently up to The United States, Great Britain, Israel, and perhaps Afghanistan to defend it.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Religion of Peace Update

Religion of Peace Update
It's not news that the Arab world is ferociously anti-Jewish. But, just to provide you with a flavor of their hatred, I'm providing some links to particularly pungent editorial cartoons that are appearing in Arab and Iranian newspapers.
A Jewish website has collected these gems.
These, from an Egyptian newspaper show the Jews as controlling the US government and as Nazis.
Finally, we have a fine collection of hateful trash collected from a variety of sources.

Should the Sins of the Father be Visited Upon the Son?

Should the Sins of the Father be Visited Upon the Son?
There is a very loud and powerful political constituency out there that is always on the lookout for religious folk who want to “impose their morality” on the rest of us. But it seems that this same crowd is much less considerate when immorality is imposed upon the church.
Last week, Washington governor Gary Locke signed a standard piece of progressive legislation that requires Washington hospitals to offer morning-after birth control pills to female victims of rape. As many hospitals are owned and operated by the Catholic Church, this means that the state is now forcing the church to do something that Catholics consider immoral.
According to the Catholic owned and operated Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, the law is consistent with their current policy.
"We provide contraceptive drugs for the purpose of preventing fertilization in cases of sexual assault," said hospital spokeswoman Marilyn Thordarson.
But Planned Parenthood all but accuses the hospital of lying and breaking the law.
"What I would hope is the anecdotal evidence I hear is wrong and that the new law will reinforce what is already happening," sniffed C.J. Gribble, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest. She claims to have spoken to at least two rape victims who insist that they were not offered the morning after pill at Sacred Heart.
The cover that everyone seems to be hiding behind is that nobody really knows for certain how these morning-after pills work. The hide-your-head-in-the-sand crowd likes to pretend that they somehow prevent conception in the first place. I think these people still believe in the tooth fairy. It’s far more likely that the fertilized egg is simply prevented from implanting itself in the womb. The embryo is simply washed out of the body and dies in a toilet somewhere. No matter how one tries to decorate it, the morning after pill is an abortion.
It’s true that the little embryo at this stage does not have hands, feet or a beating heart, and those who are eager to be humbugged will no doubt find some comfort in that. But everything that happens to a human embryo from conception to death of old age is a gradual process or maturation, with no clear distinctions that would allow anyone to say, “before this stage of development, the embryo is not a human.”
The moderate pro-life and the moderate pro-abortion forces seem to agree with the notion that abortions should be permitted in cases of rape or incest. This moderate view therefore agrees that the sins of the father should be visited upon the son or the daughter. But a child is not less human if the circumstances of his conception are unsavory. The moderate view holds that if a child is conceived of one of these particular sins, then it is the child that is to receive the death penalty.
The Catholic Church’s hospital administrators seem to favor the buried head approach.
"If, after appropriate testing, it is considered medically appropriate, approved FDA drugs can be administered in a Catholic hospital for contraceptive purposes for the prevention of fertilization," according to a statement by The Catholic Health Association. "In a narrow set of circumstances, a Catholic hospital cannot provide these drugs if their effect would be abortifacient: that is, the fertilized ovum would be destroyed."
Do they know something the rest of us don’t? Or are they choosing willful ignorance? Would they change their mind if it were determined with certainty that the drugs simply prevented implantation? Or, will they simply claim that it cannot be known for certain if the woman receiving the drugs was in fact pregnant? Currently, there is no medical test that can reliably establish pregnancy before 72 hours after sex.
And in reality, this new law is a totally unwarranted intrusion into the hospitals’ affairs. Washington state law already permits victims of rape to acquire abortion pills at a pharmacy without ever visiting a doctor in the first place.
So what’s the real intent of this new law, and why all the complaining by Planned Parenthood? Women who need the medication already have unfettered access to it. It seems that this is just a case of state sponsored bullying.
After all, bullies aren’t really interested in beating people up, just in humiliating them.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Designer Disabilities

Designer Disabilities
I am sad to report that we have already entered the world of designer babies. A Washington Post article over the weekend told the story of two deaf lesbian lovers who decided to have a baby. But, not just any baby. It had to be a deaf baby. The local sperm bank told them that, no, they did not have any sperm from deaf donors. They specifically excluded obvious genetic disabilities from their collection.
So, these two kind and compassionate lovers sought out a deaf male to donate the sperm. In just a couple of more months, the happy couple will have their first child, who will be born deaf because that's what they wanted.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Clinton Makes a Fool of Himself Again

Clinton Makes a Fool of Himself Again
The most immature, selfish, and self-indulgent president in our history holds forth on his favorite topic, himself in Newsweek Magazine. The article and the accompanying interview remind us just how lucky we were that no real problems arose during his tenure. He belittles the war on terrorism as no big deal and that history will not record the attacks on the World Trade Center as a significant moment in history.
This is a bit ironic as, immediately after the war, he moaned at how unlucky he was that such an attack did not occur on his watch. It would have given him the opportunity to show just what a great president he really was. But, now that he's gotten used to the fact that it is actually somebody else's challenge, well, it's no big deal.
Even his regrets about the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich are framed, not in right or wrong (Clinton has no sense of right and wrong), but in political terms. He regrets the damage the pardon did to his reputation. The truth is that he pardons did not damage his reputation, only reinforced what we already knew about him.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Religion of Peace Update

Religion of Peace Update
“See this child?" Said Umm Wissam of her own 10-year old son, "I am ready to use him as human bomb right now if I have to.” She is quoted in the Lebanese Daily Star. No doubt she also has an eye on the $25,000 Saddam Hussein has been rewarding the families of suicide bombers with.
The Christian Science Monitor relates an interview with a 14 year old Palestinian girl who was a good friend of the most recent female suicide bomber. "If God wills it," she says in a low, serious voice. "If I had the means, I would have done it yesterday," she answered when asked if she too would be willing to blow herself up to kill Jewish civilians.
Does anybody else remember when the FAA first suggested that the co-pilot of the Egyptian Airlines plane that crashed into the Atlantic had committed suicide? Islamic scholars and clerics assured us that such things were anathema to Islam. I guess now, we know better.