Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Monday, January 31, 2005

UN: No Genocide Here!

Kofi and his corrupt team of cronies have tossed Sudan's people to the wolves.
Sudan's foreign minister said Monday a U.N. report concluded that no genocide was committed in his country's Darfur region, where tens of thousands of civilians have died in a nearly two-year crisis.

The United States has accused Sudan's government of directing militia who attack civilians in what Washington has called a genocidal campaign in the western region.

"We have a copy of that report and they didn't say that there is a genocide," Sudan Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said on the sidelines of an African Union summit in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Last year, the United Nations said the Darfur conflict created the world's worst humanitarian crisis. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Sunday a report on the situation would be forwarded to Security Council members "very shortly."

Annan declined to say whether the team made a determination that genocide was committed.
Unbelievable. Even after the Oil for Food scandal, even after the Congo sex abuses, even after Iraq, the UN is approached with a clear cut case of a people who desperately need their help and they piss away what credibility they may have had left. And what does Kofi do? Pardons his pals so they can keep cozying up together and swapping stories while their countries burn. This is a sad joke.

- mAc Chaos

Iraq Elections Got You Down?

Depressed? Does the prospect of Bush being vindicated strike you gloomy? Looking to make the best of a bad situation? Then just head on over here to update your repetoire of disengenious criticisms. Not a moment to waste!

- mAc Chaos

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq Will Be Just Fine

Mark Steyn on the elections:
The Afghan election worked so well that, there being insufficient bad news out of it, the doom-mongers in the Western media pretended it never happened. They'll have a harder job doing that with Iraq, so instead they'll have to play up every roadside bomb and every dead poll worker. But it won't alter the basic reality: that today's election will be imperfect but more than good enough. OK, that's a bit vague by the standards of my usual psephological predictions, so how about this? Turnout in the Kurdish north and Shia south will be higher than in the last American, British or Canadian elections. Legitimate enough for ya?

But look beyond the numbers. When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they've been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don't want to blow their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the fetid swamp of stable despotism. The naysayers in the Democratic Party and the U.S. media are so obsessed with Rumsfeld getting this wrong and Condi getting that wrong and Bush getting everything wrong that they've failed to notice just how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been -- which in the end is far more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border. In fact, as partisan pols go, they sound a lot less loopy than, say, Barbara Boxer. Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it's time to cut themselves into the picture.
Read it all.

- mAc Chaos

Voter Turnout Surge

Al-Sharqiyah Television in Baghdad reports that 14 million voted. That would be 90% turnout, which is far above what anyone expected. Other reports place it around 72% turnout.

I was watching Fox News earlier today, and Geraldo was talking about how wonderful all of it was, comparing it to the Civil Rights Movement. I flipped to CNN and the first thing I hear is, "But are they legitimate?"

Kerry made the elections his first priority, as well, and he wasted no time in storming on television to criticize the election.

- mAc Chaos

Kojo Confesses


UNSCAM UPDATE:
THE son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein.

Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme.

The alleged admission will increase pressure on Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who is already facing calls for his resignation over the management of the humanitarian programme.
Guilty as charged.

- mAc Chaos

Iraqi Election Pictures






More images are below, if you continue.


















- mAc Chaos

The March of Liberty in Iraq


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press)- Iraqis danced and clapped with joy Sunday as they voted in their country's first free election in a half-century, defying insurgents who launched eight suicide bombings and mortar strikes at polling stations.

Turnout was brisk in Shiite Muslim and mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhoods. Even in the small town of Askan in the so-called "triangle of death" south of Baghdad, 20 people waited in line at each of several polling centers. More walked toward the polls.

Rumors of impending violence were rife. When an unexplained boom sounded near one Baghdad voting station, some women put their hands to their mouths and whispered prayers. Others continued walking calmly to the voting stations. Several shouted in unison: "We have no fear."

"Am I scared? Of course I'm not scared. This is my country," said 50-year-old Fathiya Mohammed, wearing a head-to-toe abaya.
Omar, an Iraqi blogger, writes:
I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.

I put the paper in the box and with it, there were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said "brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn".

It was hard for us to leave the center but we were happy because we were sure that we will stand here in front of the box again and again and again.

Today, there's no voice louder than that of freedom.


- mAc Chaos

Pot & Kettle

Victor David Hanson on the hypocrisy of the Left on illegal immigration:
The only solution — enforcement of existing laws, employer sanctions, legal and measured immigration, closed borders, a radical return to assimilationist policies in education and government, a one-time (not a rolling) amnesty for those here for a decade or more — is palatable to most Americans but ignored by both parties. Yet the Left will give no credit to the president for what turns out to be a de facto continuation of its own open-border policy; it will only ankle-bite that the motivation for Bush's apparent liberalism is not humanitarian but mercenary appeasement of the corporate Right.
I'm not quite fond of Bush's plan, to say the least, but the Democrats are hardly in the position to whine.

Another good article by VDH, so read all of it if you want.

- mAc Chaos

Quote of the Day

Alexander Hamilton:
"As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. ... It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others."

- mAc Chaos

Reporter's Log: Elections in Iraq

BBC correspondents are reporting on events across the region. Thus far, violence has broken out, but curiously, has had little effect on the turnout.

Ben Brown : Basra : 0410 GMT
Well, I'm standing outside the Markul (ph) polling station in central Basra - polling station number 935, where they were so eager to get voting under way that the polling station actually opened five minutes early.

There's been a queue of 40 or 50 people outside desperate to get in and vote, most of them men it seems.

They've been going in. I spoke to the first man to cast his ballot. He emerged with his finger covered in purple indelible ink to prove that he has voted and he came out saying he was 55 years old, that he'd never done anything as important in his life as voting today, casting his ballot.

And there is heavy security around this polling station. Iraqi police sharpshooters on the roof, Iraqi policemen at the gates of the polling station carrying out a meticulous search of every single voter.

Of course the fear is that suicide bombers could try to attack polling stations here and to that end there is very strict security in place. All vehicles are banned from moving around on the roads of this city as well as everywhere else in Iraq.

People are having to walk to the polls. They don't mind doing that here because they feel that it's improving their security and of course they're slightly nervous coming out to vote.

They know in some ways they're taking a risk with their lives just turning up to a polling station here. But in Basra at least they are determined to vote and turnout looks like it's going to be pretty high.

Jim Muir : Arbil : 0457 GMT
Voting was off to a slow start at polling stations near the centre of the city.
Some of the first voters waiting in the cold dawn said they had come early to avoid the rush that's expected later in the day.

People have to make their way to the polls on foot - all cars are banned from the roads except for those with special passes.

There are many checkpoints - some roads are blocked off. Security around the polling stations, mainly in schools, is even tighter, with body searches and sniffer dogs on the way in.

One early voter said that after decades of suffering under Saddam Hussein, it was the dream of the Kurds to take part in free elections in Iraq.

Others said they weren't put off by the threat of attacks at the polls - they found all the security reassuring.

The Kurds held their first free elections in 1992 but that was for their own regional assembly. This time they're looking forward to asserting their political claims on the Iraqi national stage.

In 1992 the turnout was massive. Voting hours had to be extended and some polling stations were still besieged by hundreds of voters when they closed at midnight.

This time the turnout is also expected to be very big but there are many more voting stations so huge crowds and delays may be avoided.

Christian Fraser : Ali Alghabi : 0530 GMT
In the small market town of Ali Alghabi voters arrived early this morning.

The main school is one of five election stations in the town and security was tight. Armed police surrounded the perimeter and there were marksmen on the roof.

The army was also there in strength on the outer security cordon of the town and piles of earth have been dumped around the election stations to stop traffic going in.

Voters from the outlying villages arrived last night, many of them bussed in by local leaders. Inside the school it all seemed to be going smoothly. Each voter was given a quick body search before being shown into the voting room.

Each candidate's name was checked against a list which had been compiled during Saddam's regime for the UN's food programme and then they were each given two pieces of paper - one for the national assembly and one for the local council.

There were electoral commission staff on hand to explain the process before each voter went behind a screen to vote in private.

Once they had registered that vote and placed the slips in two clear boxes which had both been sealed with plastic ties, their index finger was dipped in a pot of indelible ink. There were several monitors in the room to observe that it was all being done fairly.

Over 2,500 people, half the population of the town, have registered to vote at this station and there was a steady stream filing into other centres around the town. The polls here will close at five, before the count begins in the same rooms where the votes have been made.

- mAc Chaos

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Friends of Democracy

They've got on the ground information from the election process in Iraq.

- mAc Chaos

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Jobs Boom '04


The Hoover myth gets busted again:
"As for employment, it turns out to be empirically and irrefutably false that the president lost jobs during his first four years in office, as Hoover did, and empirically and irrefutably true that Bush’s election-year jobs-growth rate was one of the highest on record."
Ah, and the Dems along with the media only used the notoriously slow tracking payroll survey data over the more accurate and fast tracking household survey data. What a surprise!

I blame the tax cuts.

- mAc Chaos

The Conservative Philosopher

It's a promising new blog with engaging contributors and rigorous intellectual debates. I'll be reading it from now on. Check it out.

I wonder if they'll ever tackle abortion, as I've been hammering out the last few kinks in my own argument.

- mAc Chaos

Torture at Gitmo?

Some of the techniques used at Gitmo to "break" terrorist detainees have been released:
One female civilian contractor used a special outfit that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra during late-night interrogations with prisoners, mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close contact with women who aren't their wives.

Beginning in April 2003, "there hung a short skirt and thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door" of one interrogation team's office, he writes. "Later I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a team which conducted interrogations in the middle of the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk."

Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say they were tormented by "prostitutes." . . .

The man closed his eyes and began to pray, Saar writes.

The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.
It seems somewhat superficial compared to what could happen, considering most people consider torture to involve acid on the skin, ripping out fingernails, cutting the tongue off, etc.

Maybe once this gets more public awareness we'll end up finding more terrorists to send away...

Safe, Legal, & Never

William Saletan looks into the consequences and changes in the political landscape we can expect because of Hillary's recent shift on abortion. Her attempt to ursurp the morality of the issue could be devestating.

- mAc Chaos

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hillary Watch

She's at it again, folks!
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- While her political party conducts a furious battle over the issue of abortion, pro-abortion Senator Hillary Clinton says abortion advocates and pro-life stalwarts need to find "common ground" on abortion.

In a speech to abortion activists on Monday night, Senator Clinton, often mentioned as a top Democratic presidential prospect in 2008, described herself as a "praying person."

"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate. We should agree that we want every child in this country to be wanted, cherished and loved," Senator Clinton said. "We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic, choice to many, many women."

"Yes, we do have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion, and I, for one, respect those who believe with all their hearts and minds that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available," the former first lady said.
This is from the same woman who used to climb on stage and hysterically screech about the woman's absolute 'right to choose' and how the government should stay out of her uterus, blah blah blah. "Safe, rare, and legal," echoes ol' Bill's remarks from years ago. Of course, if you're not aborting a baby, then why should they be rare?

Priceless:
Her comments drew gasps from the abortion advocates in attendance.
Yes, Hillary was saying those things. They're shocked! Shocked!

- mAc Chaos

Playing God

Cloning enters a new realm:
Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.
I wonder if this means we can make trolls and dragons, too.

- mAc Chaos

Social Security Calculator

Counting on Social Security? Check out this nifty little gadget and plug in an age and gender to see how much you would get under the current system. It shows you the difference of results in a slightly privatized system, to boot.

- mAc Chaos

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

So Long, Democracy

Supremacist Judges are running our schools.
"On Jan. 3. the Kansas Supreme Court ordered the Kansas legislature to appropriate more money for public schools. According to the National Center for Education statistics, Kansas spends $8,206 per pupil per year, but the judges said the state must spend much more to give schoolchildren the "suitable" education guaranteed by the state constitution.

"The Montoy v. Kansas decision implied that the state must spend an additional $850 million or more annually on public schools. The court then suspended its final order to goad the legislature to raise taxes by a court-imposed deadline of April 12.

"Since when do judges tell legislatures what laws to pass and what taxes to levy? If any governmental function is (or should be) a legislative function, it is imposing taxes and spending citizen money."

- mAc Chaos

Sunday, January 23, 2005

What They're Saying

Below are some excerpts of what people are saying about Bush's inaugural address.

Dick Morris, Former Aide To President Clinton:
“Was The Greatest [Inaugural Address] … Since John F. Kennedy’s And One Of The Five Or Sixth Greatest Of All Time. It Was Beautiful, It Was Poetic. … And It Articulated A Bold New Doctrine For American Policy. It Was A Very Substantive Speech.” (Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” 1/20/05)

The Wall Street Journal:
"Not Since JFK In 1960 Has An American President Provided Such An Ambitious And Unabashed Case For The Promotion Of Liberty At Home And Abroad." (Editorial, "Liberty Bell Ringer," The Wall Street Journal, 1/21/05)

William Safire, The New York Times:
"I Rate It Among The Top 5 Of The 20 Second-Inaugurals In Our History. Lincoln's Profound Sermon 'With Malice Toward None' Is Incomparable, But Bush's Second Was Better Than Jefferson's Mean-Spirited Pouting At 'The Artillery Of The Press.'" (William Safire, Op-Ed, "Bush's 'Freedom Speech,'" The New York Times, 1/21/05)

NBC's Tim Russert:
"Well-Crafted, Well-Delivered. The Themes Of Freedom And Liberty " I Thought The Call To National Service Will Resonate With All Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents." (NBC's, "Special Coverage Of The 55th Inaugural," 1/20/05)

- mAc Chaos

al-Zarqawi Declares War on Democracy

Democracy is evil, says Zarqawi:
In the audiotape, a speaker identifying himself as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — the leader of Iraq's al-Qaida affiliate — called candidates running in the elections "demi-idols" and said those who vote for them "are infidels."


"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," the speaker said. "Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it" — a clear warning to both candidates and those who choose to vote.

The speaker warned Iraqis to be careful of "the enemy's plan to implement so-called democracy in your country." He said the Americans have engineered the election to install Shiite Muslims in power.
And here I thought they were simply fighting for Iraq.
He railed against democracy for supplanting the rule of God with the rule of man and the majority, saying it was based on un-Islamic beliefs and behaviors such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression, separation of religion and state and forming political parties.
Zarqawi took that hook, line, and sinker. There isn't any other way Bush could have been validated more. After all, he too sees the importance of democracy and the threat it poses to his kind.

If they were truly fighting for Iraq they'd be helping usher in democracy. Instead, he openly reveals the fascist he was all along.

- mAc Chaos

Feminist Disconnect

About the only support of Rice in the entire section:
In the nation's capital this week, national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice faced confirmation hearings for her new role as secretary of state. Being the first black woman and the youngest woman ever nominated to what once was quintessentially a man's job, would seem like an occasion for champagne at NOW.

But there was nary a peep from women's groups on the milestone.
A surprisingly good read.

- mAc Chaos

Distorted Picture

On terror, reporters only see what they want to see.
The Washington Post's Dana Priest has demonstrated yet again why so many Americans don't trust the "mainstream" media to tell the truth about what is going on in the war on terror.
 
Her story Jan. 14 on a study by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA's think tank, ran under a scare headline: "Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground: War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report."

One wouldn't gather from the headline or Priest's lead that the study, "Mapping the Global Future," has next to nothing to do with Iraq. Based on interviews with 1,000 non-government experts around the world, it paints four scenarios for what the world might look like in 2020.

The most important developments in the next 15 years, these experts said, will be the rise of China and India as economic powers that could rival the United States, and the decline of Europe, due to its shrinking and aging population and sclerotic welfare states. . . .

Except, of course, there is nothing "new" about Iraq being a breeding ground for terrorists. Saddam Hussein had a special camp at Salman Pak to train terrorists from other lands, and had given sanctuary to terrorist leaders, including one of the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing, and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian who is the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The biggest thing that's changed since the American invasion is that now there is a high likelihood that jihadists who come to Iraq will be killed there.

But if Priest told the truth, she couldn't turn a story on the NIC report into an attack on Bush administration policy in Iraq. . . .

"Print and video journalists are covering only a small fraction of the events in Iraq, and more often than not, the events they cover are only the bad ones," said Ryan, who is now stationed in Fallujah. "Many of the journalists making public assessments about the progress of the war in Iraq are unqualified to do so, given their training and experience. The inaccurate picture they paint has distorted the world view of the daily realities in Iraq."

Ryan wondered why journalists devote so little attention to atrocities committed by the resistance, and so much on scandals like Abu Ghraib.

"The media serves as the glass through which a relatively small event can be magnified to international proportions, and the enemy is exploiting this with incredible ease," Ryan said. "It's a disgrace when many on whom the world relies for news paint such an incomplete picture of what actually has happened."

- mAc Chaos

Eve of Destruction

Mark Steyn is in top form with his latest column, savaging the reaction to Bush's speech.
I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''

Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.

- mAc Chaos

Social Security Not In Crisis?

From the Washington Post:
Democrats have their own linguistic problem: They want to banish the term "crisis." Democratic Party leaders are urging members to discuss future Social Security shortfalls as a "challenge" rather than a crisis, and assert that Bush is trying to manufacture a crisis to justify making changes that many Democrats say are unnecessary. The White House has fired back with a transcript showing that President Bill Clinton, during a Georgetown University address in 1998, spoke of "the looming fiscal crisis in Social Security.
A friend pointed out that the coming Social Security crisis was what practically half the election in 2000 was about, hence all the talk about 'lockboxes' and so on. But four years later, it's fine?

Even if we assumed, quite generously, that the trouble would start coming around 2050, wouldn't it be better to nip the problem in the bud rather than wait until it was a crisis? Or is it usually considered a good thing to procrastinate?

Besides, this needs to be dealt with now, because even if it was 2050, which may seem far off, that would be dealing with our retirement. We have to deal with it now for the changes to effect us later. Who else do you think is hitting retirement age around 2050? If we don't fix it now, we'll be the ones who get screwed over when it comes crashing down like a shaky house of cards.

- mAc Chaos

Friday, January 21, 2005

Expensive Inauguration?

TKS points out that Bush's inauguration, costing $40 million, falls right into the average in terms of expense between 1981 and 2005, which ranged in cost from $36 million to $47 million.

Clinton's inauguration cost more. Just standard procedure; It's nothing unordinary. So why the big fuss? (Via Blogs for Bush.)

- mAc Chaos

And the Wall Tumbles Down

Fred Barnes on Bush's speech and the division between the idealists and realists:
Security, of course, is the goal of the realists. They prefer democracies, but they're not adamant about it. If an autocratic country is friendly to the United States and opposes America's enemies, the realists are quite satisfied. Transforming such a country into a democracy would not be part of their foreign policy agenda. Think of Saudi Arabia in this regard, or Pakistan.

Bush rejects this thinking. The best way to achieve the realists' goal of maximum security for America, he believes, is for there to be more democracies in the world. In effect, Bush said the policy of idealists will lead to the goal of realists. "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one," he said. Boom! The wall between the two schools is gone, at least in the president's formulation.
I wouldn't be so optimistic, but it's certainly a possibility, and it's definitely the goal.

- mAc Chaos

Driving in Style

Now this is the car the terrorists should be driving. A perfect fit, I think.

They'll make an explosive entrance.

- mAc Chaos

Hillary Watch

The enigmatic Hillary Clinton throws another bone to the religious, trying to appear more conservative while at the same time laying the groundwork for justifications for her leftism.
The liberal Democratic senator from New York makes a startling announcement.

At a recent fundraising dinner, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said there is no constitutional problem with faith-based initiatives, mentioned God more than a half dozen times and noted that she has always been a "praying person."

The announcement from the liberal New York Democrat is being met with raised eyebrows in evangelical circles.

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum, laughed out loud at Clinton's remarks.

"I think that shows that the religious people really did win the election last Nov. 2," Schlafly said. "And nobody ever said Hillary Clinton was dumb. She has gotten the message."

Clinton, Schlafly added, is shrewdly staking out specific issues where she can appear to look more conservative.

"They are looking—and in a very calculated way, realizing—that unless they have the sympathy of at least some of the evangelical and traditional Catholic community, they're not going to be able to win," Schlafly said.
Feed the poor, sure. She's all on board. Liberate millions of people across the globe and free them from tyranny? Nah.

The Conservative Answer

To Michael Moore?

Despite the paper's characterization, I reject that title. Michael Moore is a slothful propagandist. The man in our corner is a cool guy with a sharp wit who ventures into protest crowds and let's them hang themselves with their own ridiculous actions.

- mAc Chaos

Jealous?



- mAc Chaos

The UN Champions Abortion

Devoting itself to its neutrality with the same fervor Clinton devoted himself to fidelity to his wife, the UN is pushing abortion on Poland.
The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Committee has urged Poland to "liberalize its legislation and practice on abortion" in its periodic review of compliance with the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The UN committee based its recommendations on the work of radical feminist and pro-abortion groups led by the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Polish Federation on Women and Family Planning. Yet the ICCPR not only doesn't mention abortion, it states: "Every human being has the inherent right to life."
Ah, so they're not even faking neutrality, then.
The New York-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute quoted Poland's Ewa Kowalewski, an opponent of the taking of innocent life in the womb and the director of Human Life International Europe: "A committee of the UN said that abortion is a human right according to international law. Where is this right? Show me this right!" She claims that the UN report should be looked upon as a warning sign to the rest of the world: "It is against our sovereignty, and if they can do it to Poland, they can do it everywhere."
Furthermore, their information is worthless:
Kowalewski pointed out that the work of the radical feminists and pro-abortionists relied upon by the UN agency is "full of inaccurate data" such as the claim that 200,000 illegal abortions occur in Poland annually. Instead, she noted that a Polish government estimate placed the number of such abortions in the hundreds.
Perhaps the most disturbing part is the UN's advocacy for the Polish government to track down every doctor living within its borders and force them against their will to violate their Hippocratic Oaths.
The UN report also urges Poland to track doctors who refuse to participate in abortion, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation," and to alter the teaching of sex education in the schools in order to meet the Human Rights Committee's standards.

- mAc Chaos

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Reviewing Bush's Inaugural Address

The President delivered today what may have been one of the greatest inaugural addresses in American history. Perhaps the best since JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you," speech. It was stunning in its scope, its breadth, and the ground it covered. Here's the full transcript of the speech. Read it through if you please; I'll comment on the parts I found noteworthy and offer my analysis.

The entire speech was filled with beautiful and breathtaking imagery. I'm not sure who his speechwriter is, but whoever it was must have been crafting this together for a long time.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.
'The day of fire' - September 11th. It strikes me as apocalyptic language, heralding the new era.
We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
Here, he reveals what his policy has been attempting to capitalize on for the last four years: the force of freedom as a weapon - tapping into the latent desire of all human beings to enjoy the freedom they are denied and destroy the sympathy for the Islamofascists. What's more, this applies to every oppressed citizen under every regime.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one.
A stroke of brilliance. The two warring aspects of the conservative movement - Nixonian/Kissingeresque realism and Reaganesque idealism, have long been at odds with each other. Bush has done what nobody else has done before - he has tied the two together, into one. A synthesis has been formed. For no other time in American history has the global expansion of freedom also served as the objective under a realistic national interest. And yet, today, it does. (And perhaps during the Cold War, as well.)
Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.
"Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave." Perhaps the best line in his speech. Borrowed from Lincoln, it serves to highlight the similar purpose advocated by Bush, as well as the historical inspiration we can derive from past accomplishments for our cause.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities.
Not straying much from the beaten path here, save that it's necessary to protect the minority's rights to protect our own. Iraq itself cannot succeed unless its own citizens decide that the right to self-rule is worth fighting for. If they don't, and all those years under Saddam's brutal rule has indeed beaten out of them any sense of independence, then all the American power in the world will not save them from tyranny.
And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
This may be troubling: Though we seek to transfer liberal democracies across the globe, realistically, not all cultures are going to embrace it right away, or at all. So long as it isn't tyrannical, we can hope for the best, though. And we must nurture prospective revolutionary and independence movements in other countries.
America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
A rebuttal to those who moronically insisted that the people like it 'better' under the tyrant's rule - because, after all, there's stability. Hey, the Soviet Union wasn't so bad. Sure, people got liquidated every day, but at least you knew there was bread at the end of the bread lines for you. (When there weren't any shortages, anyway.)
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
A jab at the governments that we've been begrudgingly tolerating, but who have a rather miserable human rights record themselves: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, etc. Their time will come.
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
This is as appealing as Reagan's call to 'tear down this wall' at Berlin. People under the dark veil of oppression will hear it, and democratic forces throughout the forces, galvanized.
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon.
In other words, let's not bail out of Iraq.
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
Another great line: "By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men." Yes, nothing else promotes human ingenuity and creativity like capitalism and the government getting out of the way, empowering the individual to seek out his own life rather than crushing it for it's collective goals.
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Ah, even better yet, here we have a reference to the great goal of fostering a better culture, one more suited to self-empowerment, where individuals understand the concept of personal responsibility rather than endless victimization. He got a Koran plug in there, too.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
This was a great conclusion. The entire speech was amazing - it was completely unlike the normal politican gobbledeygook I'm normally accustomed to bearing. It actually meant something. It was substantive.

Prior to the speech itself, the papers were reporting that the purpose of the speech was to set the stage, philosophically, and lay out what his ideas were, so that historically, it would be easy to look back and see the entire viewpoint encapsulated in the inaugural address.

I doubt that the reporting tomorrow will be anywhere as near as befitting; look for mentions of Iraq, whining about troop deaths, and small-minded rhetoric about the short term.

- mAc Chaos

Anti America or Anti Bush?


John Kerry called them his 'base'.

- mAc Chaos

Sponge Bob's Evil Plans

Doesn't James Dobson have better things to do than go after Sponge Bob Square Pants? And you wonder why conservatives get a bad reputation sometimes.

- mAc Chaos

Inauguration Photos

Pictures from Bush's big day.

U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush's limousine is flanked by Secret Service agents on Pennsylvania Avenue with the U.S. Capitol in the background in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2005. Bush was inaugurated earlier today for a second term. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

From left to right, U.S. President George W. Bush , with first lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney observe the official gift of the U.S. Congress to the President and Vice President at Inaugural luncheon at the National Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2005. This year's official gift is a pair of hand-cut, crystal hurricane lamps engraved with a likeness of the White House. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Casey Owens, a wounded marine, salutes during the Inaugural speech by U.S. President George W. Bush on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2005. Bush was sworn in for his second term in office. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Police officers fire streams of pepper spray over a crowd of protesters after demonstrators threw objects over the fence at police as the Bush inaugural parade passed by on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, January 20, 2005. Anti-war chants competed with pomp and circumstance as the inauguration of President George W. Bush for a second term took place amid the barricaded streets of central Washington. REUTERS/Jim Bourg [emphasis mine to deter all the rioter apologists]

U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush make the 'Texas Longhorn' sign as a Texas float goes past the reviewing stand for the Inaugural Parade in Washington, January 20, 2005. Bush was sworn in for he second term in office earlier in the day. REUTERS/Larry Downing
And of course, I couldn't leave this one out:

Absolute proof Bush is evil!

- mAc Chaos

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Shrinking Deficit

A little knownfact is that the deficit has been shrinking rapidly:
Last week's Treasury report on U.S. finances for December shows a year-to-date fiscal 2005 deficit already $11 billion less than last year's. In the first three months of the fiscal year that began last October, federal cash outlays rose 6.1 percent and tax collections grew 10½ percent. When more money comes in than goes out, the deficit shrinks.

At this pace, the 2005 deficit is on track to drop to $355 billion from $413 billion in fiscal 2004. As a fraction of projected gross domestic product, the new-year deficit will fall to 2.9 percent, compared with last year's 3.6 percent.
A massive portion of Bush's deficits were caused by 'system perturbation' - in other words, the trillion dollar shock the economy took when the destruction of the two towers on 9/11 shook this country to it's foundations. Tellingly, the job losses which occured mainly took place during the first few months after 9/11.

The current increase is prompted by tax relief led economic growth for the last 18 months. Every time a President has cut marginal tax rates, the same thing has occured, such as under FDR and Reagan. They are still too high as it is, but the benefits of cutting them have been shown, and as such they should be significantly cut down further to ensure further economic growth.

Not to mention that the size of the deficit itself will slowly be eaten away by the increasing revenues from greater economic growth because of tax relief. After all, it may not seem obvious at first, but when one cuts taxes, businesses flourish and the economy prospers, leading to a greater profit than if the taxes had been in place originally.

- mAc Chaos

Kerry, Stage Left

The election is over, and Kerry doesn't have to worry about posing as a semi-conservative candidate on the war anymore. On the contrary, he's going straight for left field now. His vote against Rice, only accompanied by the nut-case Boxer, puts him in a class of his own.

- mAc Chaos

Email Settings Fixed

Clicking on my name at the end of each post should work now. If you ever have anything to say about an entry or something to comment on, don't hesitate to fire off an email or post a comment.

- mAc Chaos

The Legal Hoopla Surrounding the Death Penalty

Rob at Say Anything makes the point that the death penalty system is a mess because it can take years for the actual punishment to be carried out, after all the legal wrangling is said and done.
He was convicted for his crimes over two decades ago. I don’t see where anyone could claim that the death penalty has any real deterrent effect upon criminals when its taking us decades to carry it out.

Nor do I feel there’s anything we should do to speed up the process. I have first-hand knowledge of more than one innocent man who has been sentenced to death. These people who are sentenced to death should be afforded every right to ensure that the facts upon which they were convicted are legitimate and honest. Unfortunately, that process can use up decades of time and millions in tax payer dollars.

Now I’m no bleeding heart, but I think the reality of this situation should tell us that its cheaper and just as effective at deterring crime to keep these criminals locked up for the rest of their lives than to go through the legal hoopla (which is necessary none-the-less) surrounding an execution.
Regarding the cost, in its current state it is unmanageable. But that's only because the system has been so lawyered up with endless appeals processes and so on.

However, that doesn't seem to be a reason to stop supporting the death penalty - rather, it seems to be a reason to reform the system that would implement it. For instance, if one was the owner of a car manufacturing company, and one of the car factories produced flawed vehicles, the solution wouldn't be to stop making cars, but to fix the problems in the factory.

- mAc Chaos

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bremer Defends Troops Disbanding

Political Musings has an excellent post detailing a defense by Paul Bremer on the disbanding of the troops after the initial invasion. Indeed, the misconceptions surrounding the disbanding of the army are many; I doubt that the majority of Iraqis would have been even as receptive as they are now had they known the infrastructure and power system was still run by the same people who pushed their family members into plastic shredders. What was Bremer going to do, wave a magic wand and suddenly all of these murderers would turn into saints?

- mAc Chaos

Guns 'n Doctors (Not Howard Dean)

Tom over at MuD & PHuD is saying that goes over some fancy number work generated by a misunderstanding that he was arguing that doctors were more dangerous than guns, in terms of accidental deaths. (Well, perhaps in a socialized system...)

I want to interject: A person's right to bear arms shouldn't be measured on the safety of the right. These being our rights, they should be granted the benefit of the doubt, as they're inalienable and do not rest on the premise that they are more effective for society or serve some greater purpose. Consider freedom of speech: If we applied even half of the cost/benefit analysises that we rigorously rake guns over with, we'd see that there is a lot of speech that is in fact harmful to society - but why haven't they been restricted? (To an unreasonable degree, anyway.) Because it's our right to speech, and it isn't held up by something as shoddy as simply being preferred by a transient majority at the time.

As such, it shouldn't really matter - and besides, why isn't anybody taking into account the defensive purposes a gun can serve? A gun is the great equalizer - the tool that puts the old grandmother on the same standing as the brutish thug emerging from the dark alley.

Sure, you might die in a gun related accident, but you also might die in a car related accident, and that's hardly a case to ban or stop using cars.

- mAc Chaos

The Sex Revolution

Doesn't this just make you feel all warm and queazy inside?
A 13-year-old girl and her 15-year-old boyfriend yesterday revealed in a grisly confession to cops the sickening events that led to the death of their newborn boy, whose body was found in a "Happy Birthday" gift bag outside a Bronx church. The young mom said she gave birth in her second-floor bedroom Friday but panicked when the baby started to cry, sources said.

She then cracked open the bedroom window and threw the infant into an alley, where he remained for more than 10 hours in the cold.

The girl said her boyfriend, the baby's dad, later arrived at the apartment. After she told him what she had done, he went down to the alley, saw the child and placed him, with the umbilical cord still attached, in the bag, the sources said.

- mAc Chaos

Women in Combat

President Bush summarized his position on it yesterday in four words: "No women in combat."

I tend to agree. Here's why. And before anybody starts going on and on about 'equal rights', the military's purpose is to win wars, not serve as a healthcare extension. It's about winning.

- mAc Chaos

European Freedom of Speech

Turns out that the swastika might be banned by the EU because of Prince Harry's idiotic escapade.

Of course, the Nazi swastika is a symbol of the horror perpetrated by Hitler's regime; but the sickle and hammer remains curiously ignored.

- mAc Chaos

Saddam Has Feelings Too

Ramsey Clark, who co-founded the communist stalinist sympathizing A.N.S.W.E.R. (now linked to Saddam) is back in top form, defending Saddam as an attorney and doing what he does best, bashing America.
One of America’s most renowned human rights lawyers has astonished even close friends and supporters by taking on Saddam Hussein as a client and describing the former Iraqi dictator as “reserved, quiet, thoughtful and dignified”.

While most of the world regards Saddam as a brutal dictator who gassed entire villages, launched wars that cost millions of lives and murdered thousands of political opponents, Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney General, said he had been unfairly “demonised” by his captors.

Mr Clark spoke about his client, who faces trial in an Iraqi court for war crimes, after returning to the US from Jordan, where he met other members of his legal team for the first time. He provoked a furore by declaring that Saddam had been subjected to “savage” treatment by his American captors and comparing it with the abuse of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. “Demonisation is the most dangerous form of prejudice,” he said. “Once you call anything evil, it’s easy to justify anything you might do to harm that evil. Evil has no rights, it has no human dignity, it has to be destroyed. That’s how you get your Fallujahs, your Abu Ghraibs, your shock-and-awes.” ...

He said he was shocked by the “savage presentation” of Saddam after US forces found him hiding in a hole in the ground. The former Iraqi leader was “dishevelled, with his mouth open, people probing his mouth,” Mr Clark told the New York Observer. “This is hardly the road to peace if you want respect for human dignity.”

He said the court that would try Saddam was “a creation of the US military occupation” and did not meet the standards of international law.
You know, that Hitler, he got a bum rap, too.

- mAc Chaos

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Abortion Zeal of the UN

Today, the UN continues to stack the deck against pro-life groups having any influence in the organization by granting NGO (Non-Governmental Status) to the National Abortion Federation. What's that mean?
The new status means that NAF will have a greater voice at the UN: organizations that have consultative status can attend meetings of the Council, circulate statements, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda.
And exactly what kind of influence can we expect to see coming from these people?
The NAF was instrumental in blocking the implementation of US President George W. Bush’s partial-birth abortion ban. In 2002, Life Dynamics Inc. exposed a partnership between the National Abortion Federation and men who sexually abuse underage girls.
Something the UN is no stranger to. Indeed, the aspiring One World Government™ never disappoints. Except maybe the fetuses, but we don't have to worry about their opinion on the matter. It turns out that there is a good case to be made that the inclusion of these abortion groups contradict's the UN's own ideal policy, incidentally.
A representative of the Holy See opposed the NGO status of the NAF, stating that no human right to abortion existed and that abortion contradicted the essence of the human rights to life. The United Nations did not support or promote abortion as a method of family planning, he said, and the Committee should, therefore, question its current policy on abortions to ensure that its activities did not erode the most fundamental human right to life.
That only gave them a moment's pause before they gleefully rushed to approve the motion, however. "Let's include as many abortion groups as possible, in the interest of fairness," they say. After all, we want to have a debate, no? Naturally, you would think that admitting the pro-life group Feminists For Life in return would be acceptable, as well.
Germany and Cuba voiced objections to the Feminists for Life inclusion as an NGO, arguing that there should be a “level playing field” in the Committee regarding applications from organizations that dealt with reproductive rights.
Of course, Cuba, of all countries, is the first in line to voice it's objections to human rights, quickly followed by Germany, no doubt left toothless after losing one war too many.

Considering the absurd amount of enthusiastic pro-abortion groups, I would hardly call it a 'level playing field'.

Just another day at the UN.

- mAc Chaos

Bush Calls For Pell Grant Raise

And here I thought Bush was savaging them. CNN:
Students should "aim high in life," Bush said at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, "and that's what the Pell Grants can be used for."

Bush called for raising the Pell Grant by $100 in each of the next five years. That would put the maximum grant at $4,550 by 2010, up 12 percent from the $4,050 offered today.

- mAc Chaos

Friday, January 14, 2005

Lincoln Was Gay?

No, he wasn't.

- mAc Chaos

Send Him Away

And here is what we have when military discipline breaks down.
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted Friday of abusing Iraqi detainees in a case that sparked international outrage when photographs were released that showed reservists gleefully abusing prisoners.
For casting a black stain on America's image and comprimising our ideals, we should lock him up and throw away the key.

- mAc Chaos

O'Reilly on Torture

O'Reilly has a Vietnam veteran on the show tonight who was stuck in the Vietnamese torture camp commonly referred to as the 'Hanoi Hilton' for six years. He says that agonizing pain garners no intelligence; for the entire six years he was there, the only truthful thing he gave them was the name of his wife and kids.

Based on his intel experience however, he supports pressure techniques, and an interrogator in Afghanistan and Iraq reported that he used a technique called 'monstering' which involved questioning the detainee non-stop for days by switching interrogators. This technique, according to him, proved critical in getting key information out of the terrorists.

O'Reilly himself supports pressure techniques but is wary of water-boarding. I'm not sure what to think of that technique.

- mAc Chaos

Terrorists & Geneva

There's an interesting debate going on right now regarding terrorists and their protections under the Geneva Conventions. Media Matters, the MoveOn.org funded propaganda outlet that we all know and love, accuses conservatives of distorting the Geneva Conventions. This is, of course, a lie, as it is Media Matters that is distorting the Conventions for it's own political agenda. Rich Lowry lays waste to their flailing accusations with ease:
It argues that, even if Al Qaeda members aren't entitled to protections as POWs under Geneva III, they are protected under Geneva IV. But Geneva IV is about protections for civilians. Its title is “Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” Nothing in its text or negotiating history suggests it is meant to apply to unlawful combantants. That is why Protocal 1, which we rejected, was proposed in the 1970s as an addition to create protections for such combatants. Under Geneva IV there is a provision for holding civilians as security detainees, but only very briefly. If Media Matters is suggesting that unlawful combatants are entitled to this status it would mean that they are preversly entitled to better treatment than POWs--POWs can be held for the duration of the war, security detainees have to be turned around very quickly.

Media Matters also argues that al Qaeda should be protected under “common Article 3” that is in both Geneva III and Geneva IV. But that article applies to “armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties.” Al Qaeda is a transnational organization, so conflicts involving it are inherently international and this provision doesn't apply either.

Conservatives are on solid ground here. Its the left that can't stand the idea that terrorist thugs don't deserve gold-plated treatment under international law.
Furthermore, the entire point of the Geneva Conventions was to reward nations for trying to apply our ideals to the barbaric act of war. If we start granting these protections to those who violate it, those the Conventions were precisely made to rebut, then what incentive is there to abide by them?

- mAc Chaos

Clinton for UN SecGen!

As you'll recall, I wholly supported Clinton's bid for becoming the new UN Secretary General after Kofi the weasel steps down. After all, if there was a better way to discredit the UN so quickly in the eyes of so many Americans, I'd like to know about it.

And now, at last, I have proof!
Polling Data

Would you like to see former President Bill Clinton replace Kofi Annan as secretary-general of the United Nations or not?
  • Yes - 37%

  • No - 50%

  • Not sure - 13%
  • Source: Opinion Dynamics / Fox News
    Methodology: Telephone interviews to 900 American registered voters, conducted on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.
    Clinton for UN SecGen!

    C'mon, it's not like he did a bad job as President, right?

    - mAc Chaos

    The Winter

    The current, winter edition of City Journal brings us a timely essay written by Heather Mac Donald on interrogating terrorists. The high quality material therein is perhaps worth reading the entire formidable length of it. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of interrogation and the situation surrounding it. An excerpt:
    It didn’t take long for interrogators in the war on terror to realize that their part was not going according to script. Pentagon doctrine, honed over decades of cold-war planning, held that 95 percent of prisoners would break upon straightforward questioning. Interrogators in Afghanistan, and later in Cuba and Iraq, found just the opposite: virtually none of the terror detainees was giving up information—not in response to direct questioning, and not in response to army-approved psychological gambits for prisoners of war.
    It should be required reading.

    - mAc Chaos

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Quote of the Day

    Try again, Ted:
    Kennedy also mangled the name of the Democrats' new star, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, calling him "Osama bin … Osama … Obama."

    - mAc Chaos

    Tsunami Aid Achieves Impact

    It shouldn't be much of a surprise to the terrorists that saving lives is met with much more adultation than sawing off heads.

    The Australian News reports that the efforts of 'stingy' western nations such as Australia and the United states have had a profound impact on the tsunami survivors. Those affected by the devestating earthquake and the killer waves it spawned may now see the US and it's allies in a more positive light. Predictably, the terrorists garnering for their own support there are dismayed:
    THE spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiah says he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Aceh's tsunami survivors because of the humanitarian assistance from Australian and US military forces.

    A spokesman for Abu Bakar Bashir said the Indonesian cleric, who is on trial for terrorism, regarded the relief operations by Australian and US military personnel as a dangerous development, overshadowing the role of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).

    "We are suspicious of the presence of foreign soldiers and their show of force and the minimum publicity given to assistance from Arab states," said Fauzan Al Anshari, a spokesman for Bashir's militant Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia group.

    "It's dangerous, this idea by Acehnese that US and Australian forces are their guardian angels - more popular than the TNI."
    I thought earlier that we should give the aid not just out of humanitarian reasons but because the heavily muslim population could play a critical part in the War on Terror as well. The terrorists know this as well, which is why they are there. Clearly, we cannot let the Islamists sway many of their fellow muslims to their side. Perhaps a suitable historical comparison would be the Marshall Plan.

    But even with that, as demonstrated by the comments by the Indonesian government, I didn't think the aid would really have much of an impact. I'm surprised it has had a positive effect, but the fact that it does is proof that we should be aiding these people, even to those who reject the humanitarian aspect of this operation. (Via Captain's Quarters.)

    - mAc Chaos

    The Post Saddam Boom

    Speaking of liberalization in foreign countries under corrupt and shoddy governments, the region is prospering in the wake of Iraq's liberation.
    With the rules of the Middle Eastern political and economic game fundamentally changed since the fall of Saddam Hussein, investors who are not persuaded by media herd behavior are valuing more highly than ever the prospects for regional reforms and future growth. The conventional wisdom about the Mideast is ubiquitous in the press, but largely unjustified from an economic perspective. A search of newspaper and magazine stories in 2004 reveals more than 3,338 articles including the words "Middle East" and "war and terrorism"; only 102 stories linking the "Middle East" with "growth" and "recovery" can be found.
    Read all of it. (Via Israpundit.)

    - mAc Chaos

    But Should We Still Help?

    I was thinking about it, and the comments from the Indonesian government are a bit more understandable. The government is still made up of a bunch of ingrates, but they've essentially lost control of their own territory as other government agents run amok through it, so naturally they would try to reclaim their authority.

    Not only that, but the government of Indonesia is shoddy and corrupt. Much like the Middle Eastern countries we are in, our very presence alone there tends to animate the democratic and liberal forces there, which is the bane of that government's existence. By leading through example, we're sowing the seeds of democracy in the third world.

    And that's exactly what we're trying to do in Iraq, except here it isn't costing soldier's lives.

    Still, it costs a lot of money, and it's not like there have been a shortage of disaster-ridden places in the world that would need help, by that logic...

    - mAc Chaos

    Indonesia to US: Give Us Your Money Then Get the Hell Out

    Not surprising:
    Indonesia told foreign troops helping tsunami victims to get out of the country soon and defended tough new restrictions on aid workers, while rich nations prepared to freeze Jakarta's debt repayments.

    Vice President Yusuf Kalla said foreign troops should leave tsunami-hit Aceh province on Sumatra island as soon as they finish their relief mission, staying no longer than three months.


    "Three months are enough. In fact, the sooner the better," Kalla was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying.
    I thought that sending money to the tsunami victims would be a worthwhile exception to the preferred policy of avoiding spending vast amounts of money solely for the good of other countries. Guess I should reconsider the prospect of this 'foreign aid' again. Ingrates.

    - mAc Chaos

    No WMDs In Iraq

    It stopped being relevant the day Saddam's statue fell, as the election results demonstrate.

    - mAc Chaos

    20/20 Hindsight: The Amazing Liberal Ability

    CNN is reporting that the search for WMDs is over and that none were found. President Bush says that the invasion was worth it, despite not finding any.

    Of course it was. There were no WMD there, fine. It stopped being relevant the day Saddam's statue fell, as the election result itself demonstrated.

    Even without the WMD stockpiles, he still stood in clear violation of UN Resolution 1441 - such was the case against Saddam. He had illegal parts hidden away for a nuclear enrichment program, all of it banned. Not only that, but in another set of violations, he had illegal missile programs as well as an illegal WMD program armed with production cabilities. All of this was falsified in his report presented to the UN, which in of itself had to be accurate or he would prompt the devestating consequences which he tried so hard to avoid.

    Let's see, in the greatest humanitarian scandal in history, he had also circumvented the Oil for Food program, siphoned off over $21 billion and was using the greed of the French and Russians - who eagerly competed to curry his favor - to slowly restock his weapons program and further starve and weaken his people so they would be even less likely to rebel against his tyranny.

    Furthermore, Bin Laden's #1 claim for attacking us, which he used as an effective recruiting tool, was that we had stationed troops on holy Saudi Arabian soil. That condition is gone now, as Afghanistan and Iraq gave us an opportunity to remove them as they no longer had to stay and guard Saddam for an indefinite amount of time.

    Better yet, Iraq is now a death trap for terrorists. They go there to fight and die in massive numbers.

    Once KGB, Always KGB

    Putin continues to drag Russia back into the dark abyss of totalitarianism. Now he's proposed a bill that would deny entry to foreigners who have been deemed as not conforming to the "generally accepted spiritual, cultura, and social values" of Mother Russia.

    What the hell does that mean? It's the kind of vague, painfully ambiguous language that can be manipulated to oust anybody in the country that the government disagrees with.

    In light of Putin's recent 'exploits' in the Ukraine, his expansive control over the government and his vicegrip over the media, it doesn't look too good for Russia.

    It would seem that Condi Rice's presence in the White House will be more valuable than ever.

    - mAc Chaos

    We Had A Surplus

    US Dec. Congress posted budget surplus - Congress analysts.
    WASHINGTON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. government ran a $1 billion budget surplus in December, helped by a rise in corporate tax payments, the Congressional Budget Office said in its latest budget report released on Friday.

    The surplus, which compared with an $18 billion deficit in the previous December, helped create a smaller fiscal deficit for the first three months of the 2005 fiscal year, than in the same quarter of the prior year.
    Just a little something the media neglected...

    - mAc Chaos

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Bush Goes After Budget

    Finally, it seems that Bush is going to start doing some serious downsizing of government spending, and it looks like he's serious.
    The Bush administration is preparing a budget request that would freeze most spending on agriculture, veterans and science, slash or eliminate dozens of federal programs, and force more costs, from Medicaid to housing, onto state and local governments, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

    The White House also plans to reintroduce measures to stem the growth of federal health care and other entitlement programs that rise automatically each year based on set formulas, they said.

    "From a thematic standpoint, the goal is to reduce the deficit in half over four years, and you can't reduce the deficit if you don't reduce the growth of entitlements," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). "If the president sends up an aggressive budget, I'll be certainly receptive to it, and I think the Congress will be, too." . . .

    Gregg agreed, noting that with the election over, conservatives are eager to attack government growth.

    "I think it's going to be very doable because the whole tenor has changed," he said.
    Yes! Burn away the extra spending to the ground!

    - mAc Chaos

    Torture Works - But It's A Nasty Business

    Irrefutable proof that torture works:
    Gathering "good intelligence" against terrorists is an inherently brutish enterprise, involving methods a civics class might not condone. Should we care?

    ...

    I cannot use his real name, so I will call him Thomas. However, I had been told before our meeting, by the mutual friend—a former Sri Lankan intelligence officer who had also long fought the LTTE—who introduced us (and was present at our meeting), that Thomas had another name, one better known to his friends and enemies alike: Terminator. My friend explained how Thomas had acquired his sobriquet; it actually owed less to Arnold Schwarzenegger than to the merciless way in which he discharged his duties as an intelligence officer. This became clear to me during our conversation.

    "By going through the process of laws," Thomas patiently explained, as a parent or a teacher might speak to a bright yet uncomprehending child, "you cannot fight terrorism."

    Terrorism, he believed, could be fought only by thoroughly "terrorizing" the terrorists—that is, inflicting on them the same pain that they inflict on the innocent.

    Thomas had little confidence that I understood what he was saying. I was an academic, he said, with no actual experience of the life-and-death choices and the immense responsibility borne by those charged with protecting society from attack.

    Accordingly, he would give me an example of the split-second decisions he was called on to make. At the time, Colombo was on "code red" emergency status, because of intelligence that the LTTE was planning to embark on a campaign of bombing public gathering places and other civilian targets. Thomas's unit had apprehended three terrorists who, it suspected, had recently planted somewhere in the city a bomb that was then ticking away, the minutes counting down to catastrophe.

    The three men were brought before Thomas. He asked them where the bomb was. The terrorists—highly dedicated and steeled to resist interrogation—remained silent. Thomas asked the question again, advising them that if they did not tell him what he wanted to know, he would kill them. They were unmoved.

    So Thomas took his pistol from his gun belt, pointed it at the forehead of one of them, and shot him dead. The other two, he said, talked immediately; the bomb, which had been placed in a crowded railway station and set to explode during the evening rush hour, was found and defused, and countless lives were saved.

    On other occasions, Thomas said, similarly recalcitrant terrorists were brought before him. It was not surprising, he said, that they initially refused to talk; they were schooled to withstand harsh questioning and coercive pressure. No matter: a few drops of gasoline flicked into a plastic bag that is then placed over a terrorist's head and cinched tight around his neck with a web belt very quickly prompts a full explanation of the details of any planned attack.
    This isn't necessarily a very hard decision. Yes, it's bad, but the nature of war has always been harsh, and sometimes bad things have to be done to win and prevent worse things from occuring. (Observe, Hiroshima.) So yes, under these circumstances, I would say that 'Thomas' was absolutely justified in doing what he did.

    Or would it have been better to let the bomb detonate?

    I would never advocate our interrogations to adopt something like this, but it does demonstrate that pain does have a positive effect in getting good intelligence. The key is to find the gray area.

    Opponents of any kind of harsh coercive procedures who would denounce them as torture have to put forward, specifically, what they would favor and disfavor. Otherwise, it's just empty rhetoric used for rhapsodizing about moral superiority.

    - mAc Chaos

    Does Torture Work?

    Anne Applebaum writes today in the Washington Post that torture doesn't work, and in fact is counter-productive.
    Given the overwhelmingly negative evidence, the really interesting question is not whether torture works but why so many people in our society want to believe that it works. At the moment, there is a myth in circulation, a fable that goes something like this: Radical terrorists will take advantage of our fussy legality, so we may have to suspend it to beat them. Radical terrorists mock our namby-pamby prisons, so we must make them tougher. Radical terrorists are nasty, so to defeat them we have to be nastier.
    First, let me make it clear that I do not support torture. But we shouldn't let our opposition to torture halt us from using forceful or tactics which might cause discomfort to protect ourselves. In that count, I wouldn't really lose any sleep, considering these people cut off heads, rape women, and kill children.

    On this count, she is in error, unfortunately. While traditionally, harsh interrogative tactics and torture have not worked, as the detainee will simply lie or say whatever they can think of to stop the pain regardless of accuracy, the Islamist terrorists we bring into custody each day have upset the old rules.

    Steeled by the knowledge that their death will only give way to eternal bliss in Heaven, their determination remains completely unbroken by traditional interrogative tactics. In fact, terrorist leaders have long studied our interrogation methods and have trained their brethren on how to resist it.

    What this means is that the terrorists captured have nothing to fear, because they know exactly how far our interrogators can go, and what methods they will use. It's the disorienting feeling of shock and despair which breaks a prisoner, but with these terrorists, they come prepared.

    Because of our legal system which admirably seeks to protect our civil liberties, the interrogators themselves are constantly undermined by a sprawling bureaucracy which throws a wrench into every plan they try to execute. After Abu Ghraib the Pentagon basically made it impossible to do anything even remotely controversial; interrogators can't even slap a detainee without outside permission, and if we're talking about something like forceful interrogation or isolation then they need to somehow get personal approval by SecDef Rumsfeld. And with the stigma attached to these, nobody generally risks their neck to get approval for even the most basic procedures.

    So not only do the terrorists know what our methods are, but they also know that the interrogators in charge of getting answers from them have their hands tied.

    With all of this surrounding comforting information precluding the interrogation, it's not a mystery why it's impossible to instill doubt and shock into the individual being interrogated, and why traditionally normal interrogative procedures which worked in the past no longer are effective. As such, the necessary action is to ratchet up the tactics we use, to throw them off. That is the only way to show the detainee that he truly has no control, and that what he thought he knew that granted him his safety is not true at all. This doesn't have to be anything severe - quite the contrary, actually. Something as simple as a threat or a smack across the face (procedures not allowed without explicit permission) drill in the message that the terrorist doesn't know what to expect and what he thought he knew is wrong. That creates the shock and allows the environment of despair to work again, making a window of vulnerability for the interrogator to get the valued information before the terrorist clams up again.

    This has been demonstrated to work, and as long as we do not implement new procedures to circumvent the limitations imposed on our interrogative abilities by bureaucracy, we will not be able to garner the information we need to protect American lives at home and abroad.

    - mAc Chaos

    Careful When You Say 'Death Squads'

    Ox Blog provides some indispensable insight when it comes to Newsweek's ludicrous information on alleged 'death squads' in Iraq.

    - mAc Chaos

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Kofi Ain't What He Used to Be


    Which, I suppose, is a bit of a misleading statement, considering that he never was much at all. UNSCAM Update:
    Kofi Annan survived the disasters of UN peacekeeping in Srebrenica and Rwanda, the bitter Security Council divisions over the Iraq war and the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

    But the man described by some as the "secular Pope" is now more vulnerable than ever, because of growing scandal over his organisation's mismanagement of sanctions and humanitarian aid to Iraq.

    Calls for Mr Annan's resignation were once restricted to ideologically driven hardline US conservatives. Now diplomats in New York are openly asking whether the secretary-general can remain in office until the end of his term in December 2006.
    His efforts to weasel out of his current predicament won't be helped by stories like this:
    Peacekeeping troops guarding refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo sexually abused girls as young as 13, giving out scraps of food or money in return for favours, the United Nations admitted yesterday. . . .

    Many were orphans from a war that has claimed more lives than any since 1945.

    Soldiers continued abusing children even after the onset of an internal UN inquiry
    The abuse is sickening. 'Peacekeepers' are now institutionalizing the same human rights abuses that they initially rode in to 'liberate' these poor people from. Routinely, girls have been forced into sex slavery and rewarded with a handsome sum of two eggs to feed their illegitimate children, as their own families had long abandoned them because of it.

    Why are we funding this? And just imagine how much more coverage this would be getting if American soldiers were doing these things.

    A Highly Irresponsible Comment

    Senator Rob Simmons, demonstrating for everybody what Bush faces as he tries to reform Social Security:
    "Why stir up a political hornet's nest .... when there is no urgency When does the program go belly up? 2042. I will be dead by then."
    What selfishness. A true politician.

    Too bad for those of us who may be alive in 2042 and those who will not be around 'til then. If the GOP embraces such short sightedness, I have many doubts of maintaining the GOP majority. And rightfully so, if it can't stay on its toes.

    BBC's Anti American Bias

    It's not new, but their deliberate omissions regarding the US Navy's role in the tsunami disaster relief is frustrating:
    Last week we were subjected to one of the most extraordinary examples of one-sided news management of modern times, as most of our media, led by the BBC, studiously ignored what was by far the most effective and dramatic response to Asia's tsunami disaster. A mighty task force of more than 20 US Navy ships, led by a vast nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, and equipped with nearly 90 helicopters, landing craft and hovercraft, were carrying out a round-the-clock relief operation, providing food, water and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of survivors.

    The BBC went out of its way not to report this.
    Only when one BBC reporter, Ben Brown, hitched a lift from one of the Abraham Lincoln's Sea Hawk helicopters to report from the Sumatran coast was there the faintest hint of the part that the Americans, aided by the Australian navy, were playing.

    Instead the BBC's coverage was dominated by the self-important vapourings of a stream of politicians, led by the UN's Kofi Annan; the EU's "three-minute silence"; the public's amazing response to fund-raising appeals; and a Unicef-inspired scare story about orphaned children being targeted by sex traffickers. The overall effect was to turn the whole drama into a heart-tugging soap opera.

    The real story of the week should thus have been the startling contrast between the impotence of the international organisations, the UN and the EU, and the remarkable efficiency of the US and Australian military on the ground. Here and there, news organisations have tried to report this, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Germany, and even the China News Agency, not to mention various weblogs, such as the wonderfully outspoken Diplomad, run undercover by members of the US State Department, and our own www.eureferendum.blogspot.com. But when even Communist China's news agency tells us more about what is really going on than the BBC, we see just how strange the world has become.

    One real lesson of this disaster, as of others before, is that all the international aid in the world is worthless unless one has the hardware and organisational know-how to deliver it. That is what the US and Australia have been showing, as the UN and the EU are powerless to do. But because, to the BBC, it is a case of "UN and EU good, US and military bad", the story is suppressed. The BBC's performance has become a national scandal.
    In a way, it's natural. The BBC is going to probably look after Great Britain first, after all. And being affiliated with the government, it's got reason to promote the welfare state associated with it. But there's always the, er, liberal tendencies of those in the media as well. That would explain the love for the EU.

    (Picked up via a fellow Pennsylvanian at Pennsylvanian in Exile.)

    Washington State Changed the Voting Rules


    You'd think the state Democrats would have a problem with there being more votes than voters.

    What Agenda?


    (Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.)

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    Overhead View of Tsunami Devestation

    One must look at these images to fully appreciate the scope of the vast devestation the tsunami wrought across the asian countryside. The pictures on the left are taken from Bandeh, Aceh, on the island Sumatra, before the tsunami. The pictures on the right were taken a few days afterward.



    Free enterprise, Iraqi Style

    American bargains at the Baghdad bazaar:
    Even as the level of violence is ratched up ahead of this month's election, Iraqis continue with their hardscrabble daily lives. For many, the coalition forces -- directly and indirectly -- provide a way of life.

    Iraqi contractors, for example, remove all the garbage from U.S. military bases in Baghdad. The contractors sift through the refuge and pick out items that are new, nearly unused, or second hand.

    In a warehouse district near Abu Ghraib prison, merchants, like Warrar, buy these items to resell them on the streets.

    After years of settling for poor-quality products, the buying public at first were enticed by the American products and then won over by the cheap prices. Many customers buy the products because after years of sanctions they finally can.
    A privilege they could not enjoy under Saddam Hussein...