Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bad News For Democrats

Gas prices are expected to fall dramatically this autumn. Expect Democrats to accuse teh Bush Administration of manipulating oil prices just in time for the elections.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shut Up!

Whether or not Jessica Simpson chooses to follow this advice, John Kerry certainly should.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Iranians Should be Very Nervous

Iran's psychopathic president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that he would "sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel."

I wonder which half. I'm sure Iranians are wondering the same thing.

Hizbollah's Devastating Defeat

I can still remember Saddam Hussein declaring victory over the United States after the 1991 Gulf War. The media laughed then. Strangely, today's media was less skeptical when Hizbollah claimed to have won the war against Israel.

The article argues otherwise.

Politically, however, Hezbollah had to declare victory for a simple reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hezbollah's shield against criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the knowledge of its government and people. Mr. Nasrallah alluded to this in television appearances, calling on those who criticized him for having triggered the war to shut up because "a great strategic victory" had been won.

The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the critics, who have become louder in recent days. The leaders of the March 14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese Parliament and government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hezbollah of having provoked the tragedy. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hezbollah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hezbollah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.

More on the subject here.

To Hell With Living Wage, We Need a Luxury Wage

The Moscow City Council missed a real opportunity earlier this week. The councilmen and women purchased themselves a little self congratulation with somebody else’s money. By raising the city’s minimum wage to $10.25 per hour for contractors wishing to transact business with the city, the council may now parade around its compassion for the working man without individually costing themselves a dime. There’s nothing original in that. In fact, wealth redistribution is what many politicians consider as government’s primary function. And many people define compassion as forcing somebody else to contribute to the benefit of another. Some politicians even manage to award themselves a handling charge. Such compassion deserves earthly rewards, I’m sure.
Moscow made little waves by making itself the first city in Idaho to adopt a living wage ordinance. Previously, such policies were the exclusive dominion of California cities populated by the Hollywood stars, like Malibu and internet nouveau rich of Santa Cruz. For reasons I’ve never quite grasped, the denizens of those affluent communes could not bring themselves to pay their servants a living wage without an ordinance telling them that they must do so. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
And so Moscow’s claim to fame is that it represents an island of economic enlightenment in a state otherwise known for its laissez faire economics, where jobs that do not generate more than $10.25 of value in an hour’s time are still legal. In other words, the city council let a real opportunity for self-aggrandizement get away.
If Moscow really wanted to make a name for itself, then it should have instituted the luxury wage. Why should Moscow’s social progressives be satisfied keeping what Pullman’s liberals call “undesirable social elements” barely afloat? I mean, figure it out. Moscow’s new living wage barely permits its beneficiaries to pull down 1800 bananas a month before taxes, social security, bar tabs, cell phone, high speed internet, cable and widescreen plasma television payments. The lifestyle that one may afford on a mere $10.25 per hour is not commensurate with the expectation that one would have for the Northwest’s premier worker’s paradise. On top of that, there is no provision to force employers to pay for health care. So medicine comes out of that income.
I wonder how many on the council could make ends meet on $1800 per month? Danged few I’d bet.
And so, it’s time for Moscow to get off its duff, get serious about its social progressivism and raise the minimum wage to $40 per hour. That would elevate the lowest paid Muscovite to the upper middle class.
Just think of all the economic benefits that would rain down on Moscow. Car sales would shoot the roof as the newly prosperous checkout clerks and hamburger flippers went out and bought new luxury cars and four-wheel drive pickups so high off the ground that to get in, they would need stepladders. Certainly there will be a sudden surge in demand for Chardonnay and Bordeaux. Those who distinguish between French Burgandy and Gallo Burgandy might buy stem glasses too. And, as most minimum wage earners are young entry level types holding their first job, we can expect an enormous surge in video game and comic book sales. Or, at least we’d better, or the businesses that sell those things will go out of business.
Yes indeed, then Moscow won’t just be the first city in the Gem State to require a living wage, it would be the first city in the western hemisphere to outlaw poverty. Moscow could become the first city this side of Dubai where only the well-to-do live.
Of course, undesirable side effects would be include sales of pate de foie gras at Moscow’s most politically incorrect restaurant, “West of Paris.” The newly prosperous will probably buy the wrong kind of cars, big gas-guzzling SUV’s and the like. And, they might not be far sighted enough to equip their new homes with carbon neutral solar panels. But, Moscow’s social engineers will certainly get around to banning foods they disapprove of in their own good time. And of course, the next step will be to require certain approved expenditures, such as tofu and hybrid cars, while banning non-progressive consumerism, such as ATV’s, tobacco, and coffee not verified as organic and fair trade.
This can all be dealt with at the next meeting.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And Then, There Were Eight

Pluto loses in a smackdown of celestial proporitions.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930.

And Floyd Landis thought he had it tough.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Admit Who the Enemy Is!

Surely somewhere in some psychology textbook, there must be a name for the neurosis that afflicts this nation’s most enlightened thinkers. These same people who still scold the Bush Administration for failing to “connect the dots” in pre-9/11 intelligence, cannot find the dots that point to the real peril that this nation and all western civilization faces. The page is nearly blacked out with dots and yet those who hail themselves as better able to protect our security claim not to see them.
We are at war and our deep thinkers don’t seem to find that fact particularly noteworthy. For example, when a terrorist plot to bomb airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean was revealed, the media’s attention span was largely exhausted overnight. Within 24 hours the focus turned to the inconvenience of travelers. Even on day one CNN managed to find airtime to pass along the latest Jennifer Aniston - Vince Vaughn engagement rumors.
However, when a suspect was arrested in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, all other news (including the war) was shoved into the background. Similar wall-to-wall coverage was devoted to the Lacy Peterson and Natalee Holloway disappearances. Considering the relative gravity of a war of civilizations and missing pretty girls, the media’s chosen focus is difficult to justify.
Earlier this week a Zogby poll discovered that more Americans could name the three stooges than could list the three branches of government. Americans knew the Seven Dwarfs better than the nine Supreme Court Justices. It’s hardly surprising that Americans are so ignorant of the world considering the news they are fed. It is no less surprising that Americans know so little about the progress of the war, why it is being fought, or what are the likely consequences of failure.
The so-called war on terrorism is a silly misnomer. We are fighting Islamic fascism and almost every Islamic nation on earth serves an incubator for these terrorists. In fact, the nation needn’t be Islamic. It only needs to harbor a significant Islamic community. The terrorists who attempted to blow up planes departing from Heathrow to the United States were native-born British citizens who grew up in Islamic neighborhoods. A recent poll of British Muslims found that about 6% supported suicide attacks such as those plotted for last week. Another fraction amounting to about 500,000 total citizens favored extermination of Jews. All this is brewing in the country that is our most stalwart ally.
We don’t seem to have nearly so obvious a pustulating tumor as that threatening us here. Instead our greatest peril derives from those whose hatred of George Bush blinds them to the genuine peril that we face. They are so ideologically blind that when Bush described our enemy as Islamic fascism, at least two prominent Democrats criticized Bush for fanning fear to gain political advantage.
From the Crusades to the Spanish Inquisition, one can easily recount historical events when rogues calling themselves Christians have invoked Christ’s name to justify horrific crimes that Christ most certainly would not have condoned. But Mohammed himself committed ghastly crimes in his own name and to advance his religion. The beheadings that terrorists commit, videotape and post on their websites today are entirely consistent with the teaching and practices of Mohammed. In 627 AD Mohammed led the attack, siege, and ultimate conquest of Medina’s last Jewish tribe, the Qurayza. His army’s victory left him with thousands of prisoners. After consultations with Allah, Mohammed ordered his troops to lop off the heads of the city’s 600 – 900 surviving men. The prettiest girls were distributed among Mohammed and his lieutenants as concubines, and the rest of the women and the children were sold into slavery.
This incident, and others like it, are referenced by radical Islamic scholars when they attempt to reconcile seemingly contradictory passages in the Koran. One may easily find suras where Mohammed counsels his followers to practice peace and tolerance toward unbelievers and others where he exhorts his flock to kill the infidel where he stands. When confronted with these dilemmas, scholars give greater weight to words spoken by Mohammed later in his life and also compare his words to his deeds. The fiery, violent brand of Islam we have become too familiar with wins both of these tiebreakers.
We need to know our enemy at least as well as we know our stooges.

French too Chickenshit Even for the NY Times

The New York Times has suddenly discovered that the French are unreliable.

It would be tempting to laugh about France’s paltry commitment of 200 additional peacekeepers for Lebanon, if it weren’t so dangerous. After insisting for years that they be treated like a superpower, the French are behaving as if they have no responsibility for helping dig out of the Lebanon mess.

When the Security Council agreed earlier this month on a cease-fire resolution, scripted by the French and the Americans, it was with the clear understanding that Paris would head the 15,000-member international force and contribute a large number of troops. Now President Jacques Chirac’s generals have cold feet. Such a condition is highly contagious. And there are serious concerns about whether the United Nations can field enough well-trained troops without the French to ensure that Israeli troops withdraw completely and Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel do not start again.

At least part of the explanation for Paris’s bait and switch is that Mr. Chirac is a politically unpopular lame duck, unable to keep his generals in line. But the French military command has also raised some legitimate concerns about the peacekeeping force’s lack of a clear mission. Most notably the resolution (might we note again that the French helped write it?) sidesteps the question of who, if anyone, will disarm Hezbollah.

The French say they are waiting for the Lebanese government, which is even more frightened of Hezbollah, to cut a deal to get the militia to give up its arms or withdraw from southern Lebanon. If so, they will be waiting safely at home for a long time, while the war could start again at any moment.

The unfortunate reality is that the best that may be hoped for in Lebanon is an eventual political marginalization for Hezbollah. For even that to happen, a well-armed peacekeeping force needs to deploy quickly. At a minimum the troops could block Hezbollah’s supply lines from Syria. They could also send an important psychological message to the Lebanese people that if they are looking for a new sheriff, Hezbollah is not the only candidate in town.

The United States, which is badly overstretched in Iraq, has made clear it will not send its own troops. And Americans are so unpopular in the region that that is probably a sound decision. President Bush, however, needs to get on the phone with his on-again friend Mr. Chirac and make clear the cost for both Lebanon and France, if France shirks its responsibility. And Mr. Bush needs to be canvassing other leaders, promising that the United States will be very grateful for any help at all. The United States also needs to take front-line responsibility for rebuilding southern Lebanon. Hezbollah draws at least as much influence from its social services programs as it does from its guns.

The French generals are right to be nervous. This is a very dangerous mission. And there are no guarantees that it will succeed, even with a full complement of peacekeepers, massive deliveries of foreign aid and the sustained attention of the international community. But without such an effort it will certainly fail. A second-tier power can sidestep difficult choices. The superpowers cannot.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Math is Hard

After the mainstream media dutifully reported Hizbollah claims that an Israeli airstrike had killed 40 agricultural workers, the Lebonese prime minister says that the actual count was only one.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Recruiting the Dead for Liberalism

The dead have long served as one of liberalism’s most loyal constituencies. They vote almost unanimously Democratic in elections. Perhaps only Iraqis under Saddam Hussein were more dependable. There is something about dying that just brings out liberalism in people. For example, in life, Casey Sheehan was a vociferous supporter of the war in Iraq who volunteered to serve a second tour of duty in Iraq. But since giving his life for that cause we are reliably informed by his mother, Cindy, that he has since seen the light and now opposes the war. The New York Times recently edited and published the last letter written by a serviceman killed in Iraq to make him sound like a peacenik. Before the Times improved it, the letter was unambiguously pro-war.
And here in little old Pullman, the dead have been recalled to active duty to support the latest liberal mother of all battles, the war to end all wars, the crusade to spare Pullman the depredations of a Wal-Mart super center. Wal-Mart should not be built because Pullman’s dead don’t want it.
Before calling out their deceased reserves, Wal-Mart’s opponents have lost a election, in which two city council candidates squared off almost exclusively over the issue of whether or not to build a Wal-Mart super center on the south edge of Pullman. The pro-Wal-Mart candidate won convincingly. And all votes were cast by the living and breathing. Next, the city planning commission decided in Wal-Mart’s favor. And finally, even though our compassionate liberal friends argued that a Wal-Mart would result in the “intrusion of undesirable social classes” into Pullman, their appeal before the hearing examiner was also denied.
Wal-Mart’s opponents have recently appealed to the courts and found a judge who claimed that he could not understand the hearing examiner’s findings and asked that it be rewritten to his reading level. I had no trouble with the report. I think that perhaps reading proficiency should be a campaign issue the next time that Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier comes up for re-election.
In all probably, this judicial hair clog will soon yield to back pressure and progress will flow freely again. And so, the opponents have returned to one of their original tactics – ventriloquizing the dead.
There is a cemetery adjacent to the proposed Wal-Mart site and Wal-Mart’s opponents reliably inform us that its subterranean residents would rather not have their rest disturbed by undesirable social classes either patronizing or working at the super center. And if that weren’t enough, in the new liberal tradition of “supporting the troops,” we are even told that this cemetery deserves special respect as there are veterans resting there.
This is a strange argument as veterans are buried just about everywhere. Just recently, a friend of mine who distinguished himself during World War II was laid to rest next to a school bus garage and across the street from a restaurant/tavern. Clearly there is no tradition of creating tranquility zones around cemeteries so as not to disturb the reverie of the dead whether the graves hold the bones of heroes or not. That Wal-Mart’s opponents would suddenly and sanctimoniously drape their cause in patriotism and respect for the dead drips of a cynical and desperate opportunism.
If liberals genuinely wish to demonstrate their respect for the dead, then they should stop exhuming them to cast votes in elections. The dead deserve the dignity of not being exploited as marionettes for political causes.
Before I am exploited as a sock puppet for liberals, I would like to say that once my bones are planted, I don’t care who moves in next door, as long as it’s not a statue memorializing president Clinton, Bill or Hillary. The same goes for Jimmy Carter now that I think of it. And Michael Moore.
Okay, never mind. We are talking about my dry old bones and my bones won’t care who is memorized nearby. I would just as soon that my bones be treated like old shoes that I’m done with. But after I’m gone, if anyone wants to speculate on what I might have said, I have left a large body of words to draw from. Although I shudder to think what words the New York Times editorial page editors might insert in my mouth once I am unable to refute them.

How About a New Front for the War on Terror

When Buford Furrow, a white supremacist who had incubated his hatred among like-minded souls at the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden, Idaho, attacked a Jewish daycare center in Los Angeles, no one doubted his motive. After Naveed Afzal Haq was arrested and charged with killing one woman and wounding 5 others at the Seattle Jewish Federation, Seattle’s sensitivity trained police and media were reluctant to call it a hate crime.
According to news reports, Seattle police declined to discuss possible motives for the attack. "We believe ... it's a lone individual acting out his antagonism," said David Gomez, an FBI assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle.
Antagonism? You mean this isn’t a hate crime? It’s an antagonism crime?
Even the suspect’s own words don’t seem to be tipping anyone off on the west side. “I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,” he was quoted as saying before opening fire. Even so, the Los Angeles Times managed this headline in Sunday’s paper: “Jewish Center Shooter’s Motive is a Mystery.”
There exists a curious reluctance to remark the obvious in these cases. And this squeamishness is not unique to Seattle. A few years back, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet walked up to the El Al (Israeli) airline ticket window at the Los Angeles International Airport drew a handgun and started blazing away, killing two and wounding four. The police scratched their heads in puzzlement at that shooter’s motives in that case as well. When a bomb plot and a conspiracy to behead Canada’s prime minister were uncovered in Toronto, police wondered what might have tied the plotters together. Every effort was made to treat the fact that all attended the same mosque as an inconsequential coincidence.
Why our self-anointed finger pointers can so easily sniff out the faintest aroma of hate from one group and yet neither hear, see, nor speak evil elsewhere is very likely a symptom of what author Shelby Steele has labeled, “white guilt.” Nevertheless, were we to get serious about attacking hate wherever it arises with the same vigor with which we pursue white supremacists, we might see some progress.
Six years ago, northwesterners were ready to hold parades for Morris Dees. Morris Dees is the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a pioneer in the legal strategy that held hate groups responsible for the crimes committed by their members. In two notable cases, Dees was able to put neo-Nazis out of business by winning enormous monetary judgments against hate groups by proving in court that the violent criminal behavior of its members was encouraged by those organization’s teachings.
In Northern Idaho, Dees represented a woman and child who were fired upon by Aryan Nations members. Dees convinced a jury that the crimes were inspired by the teachings of the Aryan Nations’ high priest, Richard Butler. He won a judgment that bankrupted the “church” and forced the sale of the Aryan Nations compound. The suddenly uprooted Nazis dispersed hither and yon by the gentlest currents.
Now, I am not a lawyer, and I don’t plan to play one in this corner, but it would seem to me that we have quite a number of hate groups in this country masquerading as religious organizations whose members commit violent hate crimes against others on the basis of race, color or creed. While I will grant that most American Muslims are non-violent and that most mosques refrain from preaching madrassas hatred, the fact remains that there are a significant number of mosques that preach a hatred that would bring joy to the heart of Richard Butler’s lost acolytes.
So, where is Morris Dees?
Okay, we know where Morris Dees is. He is very selective about the hate he hears or sees.
But, if the Aryan Nations could not hide their hateful intentions behind the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion, then there is no reason why mosques where crimes of hate are encouraged should not be vulnerable to the same legal harassment and destruction as was the Aryan Nations.
Now, I don’t know what was preached in Naveed Afzal Haq’s mosque in the Tri-Cities prior to the commission of his alleged crimes. But if the teaching there resembled the racist effluvium we often hear from too many imams and ayatollahs, then it needs to be held to the same standard as the Aryan Nations.
Woudn't it be something if lawyers could actually be useful for a change?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Final Solution

It's the same as Hitler's.