Archive for May, 2007

UN=BS

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

The UN just proved, once again, that they have no business being trusted with any real power:

Zimbabwe was recently elected to chair the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), to the dismay of human-rights groups and nations, like the United States, that would like the United Nations to take its responsibilities seriously. This election is more than a travesty; it is a cruel demonstration of disregard for the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe on the part of the U.N. and those African countries that helped Zimbabwe to the chairmanship.

Seriously, I can understand — sort of — why liberals get excited about world government. Actually, I can’t. The Constitution of the United States is so vastly superior to anything else out there, I can’t imagine anyone would want to trade it in.

Anyway, doesn’t reality have to intrude on liberal fantasies at some point? When the UN is appointing Robert fucking Mugabe’s government to figure out how to run Africa, doesn’t that tell you that something is deeply deeply wrong with this institution?

Verschafte Vernehmung

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

On the Right is going to go apeshit when they read this.

Before the Right Wing Echosphere can get the word in, Sully is not saying Bush=Hitler. He’s saying that once you start crossing the bright lines that separate acceptable interrogation from torture, you’re in some hidous company.

NYT Hypocrisy

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Raise your hand if you’re surprised by the hypocrisy Neal Boortz has demonstrated in the NYT:

It’s no surprise really. The New York Times came out in support of “a new 4 percent tax on income above $200,000 a year for married couples and above $100,000 for single taxpayers.” But liberal hypocrisy rears its ugly head when you consider the tens of millions of dollars the Times received in tax breaks, just so they could build their fancy headquarters in Manhattan. Oh and not to mention that they seized the city property by abusing a little power called eminent domain—and then viciously criticized the Supreme Court decision expanding eminent domain powers as “a set back to the ‘property rights’ movement.” For a paper that is so renown, I guess it lives by the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” Too bad I can’t tell the IRS that when they come knocking on my door.

The NYT actually runs some very good articles on science and the economy. But their editorial board basically gets faxes from the DNC and republishes them.

OK, maybe they don’t. But could you honestly tell the difference?

NOPEC

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Cato takes apart the latest stupidity on oil, the idea of passing an anti-trust law against OPEC.

econd, what exactly gives the Congress the right to impose its economic regulations on state-owned companies that, for the most part, aren’t doing business in the United States? Do all national governments have this right, or only the United States? If the former, what’s to prevent Saudi Arabia from declaring it illegal for U.S. banks to charge interest on loans — an activity ostensibly banned in many Islamic countries? If the latter, then it’s a naked statement that U.S. policy is premised upon the idea that the biggest guy on the playground makes the rules for everyone else whether they like it or not. That is, might makes right.

There is no limit to Congress’ arrogance. Or stupidity.

Bits and Pieces

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Rather than write one big immigration post, maybe I’ll just let out bits and pieces as I respond to others’ bullshit:

The labor market (and health inspectors) would no longer determine who came here; quotas were imposed on immigration from specific countries to reflect the ethnic composition of the nation in 1890. The apparatus of state was strong enough to enforce these restrictions, and, in any case, there was no market demand for immigrants during the depression of the 1930s and no way for them to come during World War II.

This is laughable, especially coming from a conservative. Had there been no market for immigrants, the government wouldn’t have needed to act. And this policy led, indirectly, to the deaths of millions in the concentration camps when America refused to admit Jews in a wave of xenophobia.

Then there’s Boortz:

Strengthen the borders and make Americans get off their lazy butts, turn off American Idol, get off of welfare and fill the demand of these market forces.

Unemployment in this country is about 4%, which is extraordinarily low.

Then there’s Peggy Noonan:

Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

Again, a Right Winger is saying that government should decide what our economy needs, rather than the market. We do need skilled people. But we also need low-wage workers.

Of course, one way to diminish the need for low wage workers would be to diminish the agricultural subsidies which keep unprofitable businesses going. In many ways, it could be argued that illegal immigration is simply another business subsidy.

DHS=BS

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

You’re kidding me:

Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group.

This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS.

The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said.

Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.

“The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that’s just not true,” said David Burnham, a TRAC spokesman. “Either there’s no terrorism, or they’re terrible at catching them. Either way it’s bad for all of us.”

First off, the group is a little off in their criticism: one of DHS’s primary duties is handling immigration. They replaced the INS in that respect. Every step Sue and I took to get her Green Card dealt with DHS, not INS.

However, they are absolutely accurate in that the Bush Administration has always represented DHS as an anti-terrorism agency. To quote from the official announcement of its formation:

The mission of the Office will be to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks. The Office will coordinate the executive branch’s efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.

But to lift a paragraph from my immigration post:
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Two More

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Just watched two more of 2006′s best films. The Queen actually isn’t great, but Hellen Mirren’s performance was easily the best of the year.

Pan’s Labyrinth has to be in the mix with Children of Men and United 93 as my best picture of 2006. Simply beautiful. I can now see how Children of Men lost the Best Cinematography oscar (although it still should’ve taken Best Editing). I’m annoyed that Ivana Baquero did not get a Best Actress nomination. I haven’t seen the other films (apart from bits of The Devil Wears Prada, but it’s hard to imagine all four of the other performances were better than the mesmerizing turn the 11 year-old spaniard put in.

I noted last year that the critics’ favored movies of 2005 was loaded with downer movies. The best you could say about some of them was that they were “hopeful”. And before you say “critics always like downer movies”, that’s not always the case. It wasn’t in 2004 or 2003 or most years.

2006 looks like more of the same.

We Like the Little Guy!

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

So say the liberals

Garbage.

In 1937, New York, full of liberalism’s itch to regulate everything, knew, just knew, how many taxicab permits there should be. For 70 years the number (about 12,000) has not been significantly changed, so rising prices have been powerless to create new suppliers of taxi services. Under this government-created scarcity, a permit (“medallion”) now costs about $500,000. Most people wealthy enough to buy medallions do not drive cabs, any more than plantation owners picked cotton. They lease their medallions at exorbitant rates to people such as Paucar who drive, often for less than $15 an hour, for long days.

There are examples of this all over the nation. Regulated interior designers, hairdressers, beauticians. Rent control. Price fixing. All because some elites, including many conservatives, think they know better how to run the world than the people who live in.

At least, that’s what they say.

What Is Acceptable

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Over at Right-Thinking, I’ve gotten this in response to opposing torture:

So, there is NO WAY to get information from a prisoner. Drugs? Thats torture, because it’s against his/her will. Asking nicely? No, that’s torture, because you think of the prisoner as an idiot and it insults him/her. And as we all know insulting a prisoner (a naked women in the room with a muslim) is torture. Just having a muslim prisoner being questioned by an inferior infidel is humiliating to said muslim, and humiliation is torture. Offering a cup of coffee and not tea to a muslim prisoner is torture. An interrogator eating a ham sandwich in front of a muslim prisoner is torture. All these don’t even have to do with muslims, and can be turned around by anyone looking to be a victim.

I’m sick of this ad hominem bullshit. If I say that water-boarding and sleep deprivation are torture, I therefore think that anything is torture. I’m a namby-pamby flower-sniffing, tree-hugging liberal who just thinks we should give all terror suspects blow jobs.

Why is it so hard for people to wrap your their minds around the idea that there are acceptable and unacceptable means of interrogation? Anything that threatens or inflicts physical pain or fear of death is, by the definition listed in our treaties and our laws, torture. Anything that doesn’t is acceptable. We don’t go have to go all culture-sensitivity patrol but can still be effective.

Read this excerpt from the Army Field Manual on effective interrogation techniques. Thinks like simple questioning, “good cop bad cop”, incentives, rapid-fire questions, yellling, appeal to family, appeal to ego. None of these are considered torture. Just because you don’t waterboard someone doesn’t mean you become a wuss.

Now these techniques – which involve nothing more than a patient interrogator, sound wimpy don’t they? “Oh Mike”, you say, “You pussy! That won’t work. That’s just namby-pamby liberal bullshit. We need to beat ‘em up!”

But you know what? We found them effective for two hundred years. The Soviet Union used these techniques when they wanted information, not breaking. The Israelis use them all the time. And cops use them in our own country so effectively that the vast majority of crimes are solved by uncoerced confession.

There is a difference between interrogation and torture. And I’m sick and tired of the Orwellian Newspeak that blurs the line between the two.

Impeach Cheney

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

How repulsive is Dick Cheney? Sullivan’s been documenting his support for reckless war on Iran. Now he’s slamming Geneva at West Point.

“Capture one of these killers, and he’ll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States,” the Vice President said in the Saturday morning speech. “Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away.”

I am so fucking sick of this line of reasoning. “Al-Quaeda doesn’t observe Geneva, why should we?”

Why? Because we’re better than they are!. The British and Hessians were brutal in their occupation during the War of Independence; Washington insisted on humane treatment. The South had Andersonville; Lincoln had reasonable prisons. The Germans, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese tortured our people; we didn’t. Douglas MacArthur specifically instructed his soldiers to treat POW’s with honor. Because he wanted them to know that ciitizens of a Democracy were better, that their leaders were lying to them about how Americans tortured all prisoners. He defined America by a bright moral standard.

The Right is always railing against moral relativism. Liberals and Libertarians are supposed to be a threat to the very fiber of the nation because we tolerate gays, question drug prohibition and oppose abortion criminalization. But now they want us to define our morality relative to Al-Quaeda. What kind of broken is your moral compass when gay marriage is a threat to our national integrity but torture is OK?

Dick Cheney can define his moral compass by Al-Quaeda. I’ll define mine by George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Douglas MacArthur.

Ugh

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

I turn on the Braves’ game and they promptly give up seven runs on the way to a sweep by the Philthphadelphia Philthies.

Man, I should have just stayed asleep. This isn’t the same team when Chipper Jones is out.

Godwin’s Law

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

You know things are bad when you’re borrowing euphemisms from the Nazis.

Bush. He’s made everything liberals have ever said about conservatives true.

Moorewatch

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

An early review of Michael Moore’s new movie. I have not seen it, of course. But it sounds like the usual medly of liberal horseshit pooped out by the ignorami on the left from time to time. I’m sure this will lead to more calls for socialized medicine — which will cure the disease by killing the patient.

Gore Again

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Sullivan thinks that Gore is a man of reason and common sense.

Yeah, right. Gore is saying the seas are going to rise a meter in the next decade and it will make droughts and crop yields worse in America.

FACT 1. There is not one shred of evidence in the refereed scientific literature speaking of a three-foot increase in sea level in ten years. The best estimates from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change range from 0.8 to 1.7 INCHES.

FACT 2. There is no trend towards increasing drought area in the United States that is related to planetary warming. We have good data on drought area back to 1895. The correlation between the area of the U.S. under drought and planetary temperature is statistically ZERO.

FACT 3. As the mean planetary temperature has warmed since 1975, U.S. crop yields have INCREASED significantly, just as they did during the period of cooling from 1945 through 1975, or during the warming from 1910 to 1945.

Al Gore is what he has always been. A pseudo-intellectual trying to sound smarter than he is. He makes some good points on the stupidity of the current Administration — it’s hard not to these days. But people of reason do not engage in panic-mongering. Whether it’s the President authorizing torture or a self-opinionated would-be president hyping climate change.