Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Monday, January 31, 2005

Written by: Beck

We will know better in the days that follow the exact statistics from the election. Turnout was high--exact numbers differ--even among the Sunni. The number of people killed in terrorist attacks was surprisingly small--exact numbers differ. Regardless, we'll know more in a few more days.

That's not what I want to discuss.

John Kerry on NBC's Meet the Press:
"No one in the United States should try to overhype this election," Kerry told NBC's "Meet the Press." [...] "It's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."
My problem is not specifically with John Kerry or even his specific quotation--though I do obviously have problems with them. My problem is with a mindset.

There is a mindset that exists among a significant minority of anti-war Americans (and a strong majority of Europeans) that refuses to allow for the existence of any sort of reality in which the policy of a Republican can be a successful one.

I mean, I would just call it sour grapes if Kerry and his intellectual companions were saying "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" or "I guess Bush had get something done successfully in Iraq." No, they cannot admit the possibility that even one thing could go well.

Fewer than 35 people die to attacks on a day which terrorists would have liked to be a replay of the Tet Offensive? Call the security insufficient. Almost every polling station open and operating without flaw or controversy? Emphasize that some people couldn't vote because polling stations didn't open on time. Turnout over 50% in areas that had threatened boycotts? Call the election illegitimate. Terrorist leaflets saying the streets would run with voters' blood proven hollow? Gripe about American leaflets encouraging Iraqis to vote (thank the UN for that one).

Sunday was quite simply one of the most amazing days in modern Arab history. What is wrong with people who simply can't see that? What is their psychological defect?

My mother is a die hard liberal. She's happy that women were able to vote and run for office. She opposed the war from the beginning, but recognizes that since we're there now, we have to do right by the Iraqis. My grandfather is a moderate and also opposed the war from the beginning, but he's unbelievably proud of the job our soldiers are doing in Iraq and delights in comparing them to the people he served with in World War II.

David Anderson thinks Bush is a terrible president, opposed the war from the beginning, and never misses a chance to point out the failings of Republican officials. Here's what he has to say:
You have to give it up. You have to put politics aside and give respect to the Iraqi people today. I felt some real kinship with the Iraqi people today, remembering growing up in the 60's where my own people voted under the threat of violence and under the watchful eye of protecting National Guardsmen.

They ignored threats, they braved suicide bombers, they voted and voted with pride. There will be people on my side of the fence who raise legitimacy issues. I am not going to go there. I watched the coverage, and cant see minimizing the courage of those who did vote, by expressing concern about those who chose not to. As far I could see, this was about as good as it could get in a country still torn by violence. The people came out and they voted, and they are expressing the kind of joy and pride I only wish we had in the U.S.. God Bless them.
Read what David says, then scroll back to the top of this and re-read the quote from John Kerry.

I think next I'll have to do a post on why the Republican party (and the nation as a whole) needs the existence of a healthy and sane Democratic party... and how John Kerry and his brethren are doing their damnedest to prevent any such thing.

Update: Captain Ed makes a similar observation.
Moderate Democrats must be puzzled and at least somewhat concerned that their leadership has allowed itself to become so infected with Bush hatred that they can no longer recognize opportunities to build trust with the American electorate on national security. The automatic gainsay of anything accomplished by the Bush administration has almost completely destroyed their credibility -- and the measured and intelligent reactions of Chirac, Schroeder, and Annan shows how badly the Democrats screwed up today.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq election turnout preliminary numbers
Written by: Beck

Jim Robbins at The Corner posts this breakdown of voter turnout in Iraq.

The emerging concensus seems to be that roughly 72% of eligible voters actually voted.

(Hat tip: a_sdf)

Quote of the day
Written by: Beck

"What is clear is that this is not a quagmire."

--Senator Lieberman on Hannity & Colmes, demonstrating why he would have made a vastly better candidate than John Kerry

Kojo Annan admits to involvement in oil-for-food corruption
Written by: Beck

You heard it hear first. Unless you heard it somewhere else first, in which case you heard it there first.

It would appear that Kojo is eager to cooperate with investigators. This makes sense, as it appeared from the beginning that Kojo was really a relatively minor player in the entire affair. The only reason he grabbed such headlines in the first place was his last name.
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.
In other news, the UN's internal oil-for-food investigation headed by former FED Chairman Paul Volcker is expected to issue an interim report on its findings around February 8-9.

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

Surprisingly low violence
Written by: Beck

It's already after 1:00 PM in Iraq right now, and polls there close at 5 PM. In the time polls have been open now, there have been seven suicide bombings (according to FoxNews Live just quoted the number at eight suicide bombings) killing at least seven people and wounding at least 58.

Is it just me, or does this number seem astonishingly low? First, I had assumed that the heaviest attacks would come early--the whole point is to discourage people from voting after all, which doesn't do much good if you wait until they're nearly all done. Second, I had expected at least a few attackers to manage to get close to huge crowds or long lines and kill dozens of people in one blow. I would not have been shocked to hear that a hundred deaths and a thousand injuries resulted. Atrocious as that is, it would have been far less than the potential death toll.

This election goes a long way to put paid to the doom & gloom crowd that argued so heavily for postponing elections.

We'll have a clearer picture of just what the butcher's bill for this election is once it's done (how's that for a statement of the obvious?), but with what we know already, I'd say this seriously suggests that the insurgency has lost a lot of strength and all of its momentum.

If ever the terrorists operating within Iraq were to pull some sort of modern-day Tet Offensive, today was the day to do it. No other day will be as important; no other day would carry such a psychological impact internationally and politically.

Needless to say, I'm very optimistic at this point.

Oh, one final point. Inasmuch as the election itself hasn't turned into a bloodbath, get ready to hear lots of people yammering that the elections are illegitimate because of low turn-out amont Sunni voters. It won't matter if turnout among Sunni voters is only 1% lower than the national average, you'll still hear it.

In fact, I think I'm looking forward to hearing that. I've got a really good rant building up.

Anecdote heard on the news
Written by: Beck

A suicide terrorist was caught at the gates of a polling station, and realizing the jig was up, he blew himself up, taking out at least one guard.

No one in the line for the poll was hurt.

No one in the line for the poll left. They stayed in line, went inside, and cast their votes.

Go time
Written by: Beck

Voting has begun in Iraq for the first free election in something like 50 years.

Iraq Election Diatribes has multiple updates.

Balloon Juice has an excellent post concerning the negative pre-election press coverage.

The Belgravia Dispatch has a round up of quotes from Iraqis on the eve of elections.

The Command Post, naturally, has continuous updates from its many correspondents.

PoliBlog has an Iraqi election news roundup of their own.'s initial report online--which will likely be updated throughout the day--can be found here.

Early reports (FoxNews seems to have the only realtime coverage of the election right now. CNN Headline News is reporting on the cold weather... in winter time) suggest that turnout is heavy, that polling stations are prepared, and that the heavy security seems to be having a positive effect. At least one would-be bomber has been stopped already, and another only managed to take out the checkpoint guard.

Surely they wouldn't...
Written by: Beck

The dictate-how-you-live crowd has latched onto obesity lately. Obesity--now defined as a disease by the CDC--is gradually taking the place of Smoking as the great bogeyman of bureaucrat busy-bodies. That's why the final paragraph of an otherwise interesting article in USA Today sent a chill of fear down my spine.
"Just telling people to sit less is going to lead to nowhere," he says. "We have to redesign our environment so it's not as conducive to sitting."
How long can it be until some jackass legislator tries to enact a law outlawing comfortable chairs in the workplace? You think I'm kidding, but tell me, ten years ago would you have imagined that people would be filing class action lawsuits against fast food companies for making them fat?

First polling station bombing report
Written by: Beck

Fox News reports that a bomb went off in a West Baghdad polling station. Report is that there was one casualty, and that it was a suicide car bombing. There are "6000 to 9000 polling stations in Baghdad," at least that's what I could swear I heard the reporter say.

Update: Multiple explosions. It would seem the checkpoints are serving their purpose--keeping the terrorists at a safe distance from the polling station--but Iraqi security is dying. Iraqi Police Officer has to be the worst job in the world.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Written by: Beck

The Arab League has 22 members. Not one of them is a Democracy.

That will change Sunday.

A day that will live...
Written by: Beck

Well, time will tell. It's Sunday in Iraq, and that means election day. The future of Iraq will be decided today. More importantly, the future of the Middle East, of Bush's foreign policy goals, and potentially of the Republican party will be decided today.

Remember how the November elections here at home were said by many to be the most important ever? In a lot of ways, I agree with that assessment. The Western world has polarized around two opposing forces. One is represented by the EU and the UN. This faction thinks Palestinians are the noblest of savages and Israelis the most contemptible of war criminals.

The other faction is represented not so much by George Bush and Tony Blair, but rather, by the sort of people who don't think that the UN represents the conscience of the world; who don't think that all the world's problems could be solved if only Western nations would raise their taxes and give the difference to dictatorial regimes. I could go on, but you get my point.

Today is election day in Iraq. The news coverage will be negative. There will be bombings at polling stations. You will hear all about them. Voter turn-out will be lower in Sunni areas than in Shiite or Kurdish areas. You will hear about that and be told it makes the whole thing illegitimate. The terrorists will continue to blow stuff up even after the election, and the elected government will often be stymied by gridlock as it works towards creation of a permanent constitution.

Indeed, the forces of negativism have already begun to gear up the propaganda machine. A search of Google News for the term "Iraq election" yields these headlines:

Violence rages ahead of historic Iraq election

Six killed in Iraq election attacks as exiles turn out to vote

Iraq election has come at a heavy price: Analysts (and where would we be without analysts?)

I've already made my predictions for how things will go. I think the forces of good will prevail in the end.

I have to think that. To think otherwise would be to give in to madness.

A day to mourn
Written by: Beck

I missed this when it came on January 24, but Antoine Clarke (a Brit no less) caught it. It was the anniversary of the day the Supreme Court ruled income tax unconstitutional. The 16th amendment to the constitution followed as a result.
In 1909 progressives in Congress again attached a provision for an income tax to a tariff bill. Conservatives, hoping to kill the idea for good, proposed a constitutional amendment enacting such a tax; they believed an amendment would never received ratification by three-fourths of the states. Much to their surprise, the amendment was ratified by one state legislature after another, and on February 25, 1913, with the certification by Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, the 16th amendment took effect.
(Hat tip: Samizdata)

Don't eat yellow snow
Written by: Beck

Especially not if you're anywhere near this guy.

Link via ISOU.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ceasefire holding
Written by: Goemagog

Despite not actually existing.

The UN likes ceasefires. They usually don't make the shooting stop, but they do tend to make whichever side is losing do so quietly. It was just this week, after all, that the United Nations felt it was irresponsible of the civilized world to let the UN encourage the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

In their eyes, everything they do is our fault.

Goe, because genocides can be stopped.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dweenles in our midst
Written by: Goemagog

In a game called Starflight 2 (apparently there are more in that series nowadays) there were three alien species that claimed credit for the universe. Two believed that they disseminated truth and wisdom, the third wanted to apologize. The Dweenles, as fictional species go, were very depressing, eager to take the blame for anything and unwilling to acknowledge that they had ever done anything that benefited themselves or anyone else. If you wanted to kill them, they'd agree that they had it coming.

I used to think that this was just a silly simplification of a sociological mindset. I'm now thinking that it was probably the most realistic part of the game. Societies the world over are obsessed with destroying themselves, albeit not from a collective sense of guilt but of inferiority. If they'd just change this to that or replace that dictator with another, they think things would improve. There are very few cultures that actually want to sustain themselves, and most plans for improvement involve butchering however many millions of people were part of the old order. This is why socialism is the greatest evil our species has ever known.

A week or so ago, I was watching some television and caught a show I was only mildly familiar with. Andromeda has a fairly simple setup. A great civilization signs a treaty with a species that reproduces by using other sentient species as hosts for it's parasitic offspring. Militants within said great civilization decide that the great civilization is destroying itself so they launch a civil war to take over the government and prevent humanity becoming a galactic salad bar. In the first battle of this civil war, the hero of the show and his ship (but not the crew) gets frozen for a few hundred years. He wakes up to find the great civilization destroyed, crushed between the militants and the parasitic aliens. He gets new crew, and immediately sets out to rebuild a civilization whose crowning achievement was collective suicide.

Okay, so the hero of the show is a fucking idiot.

His new crew accidentally sends him back in time to the defining battle of the great war he missed most of. They find themselves in a position to ambush the militants right before the militants ambush the civilization's military in the key battle of the war.

1) he's the captain of a military ship
2) his ship is heavily armed
3) his government is at war
4) his enemies are in front of him and unaware of his presence
5) his enemies are about to destroy his civilization's military, dooming trillions to be alien buffets or slaves to the surviving militants.

What does our intrepid hero do?

He decides that he doesn't want any of the militants to get hurt, so he tries to run away. His cowardice is portrayed on the show as a sign of great moral fiber. The moral of the story seemed to be that if we encouraged our military to do the right thing and not fight, we too could be assraped by our enemies so that their young could eat our rotting flesh. I'm not being sarcastic, that actually seemed to be the moral of the show.

Did people in ancient Rome write about the glories of the barbarians? Did the Indus Valley civilization espouse collective guilt? Are we plunging into a new dark age where superstition disguised as social awareness justifies witchhunts on a stalinesque scale? Can a civilization so obsessed with looking "civilized" hold off the barbarian hordes or are we to be the last free people?

Goe, heeds the Derb.

Need some anti-Kofi spray.
Written by: Goemagog

Genocide preventable says Kofi Annan and Elie Wiesel.

"If the world had listened, we may have prevented Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia and naturally Rwanda," Wiesel said.

Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia all occured with the support of most of the countries on their respective continents. The only person who saw a genocide coming and stopped it is Pinochet, and the thanks he gets for stopping Allende's dream of Chilean killing fields is to be villified by most of the world.

"The tragedy of the Jewish people was unique," Annan said. "Two thirds of all Europe's Jews, including one and a half million children, were murdered. An entire civilization, which had contributed far beyond its numbers to the cultural and intellectual riches of Europe and the world, was uprooted, destroyed, laid waste."

A situation that most of Annan's UN compatriots would welcome if it came again.

Wiesel asked how "intelligent, educated men, or simply law-abiding citizens, ordinary men" could fire machine guns at hundreds of children every day and read Schiller and listen to Bach in the evening.

Aim low.

Italy's Marcello Pera, speaker of the Senate, was blunt. "How was it possible that Europe, at the peak of its civilization could commit such a crime? How could Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, collaborationist France and many others become responsible...of such an immense massacre?"

Continental Europe passed it's peak with the French Revolution and it's Reign of Terror. The belief that being unpopular is inherently immoral came from that and has been used as justification for every genocide that followed. The poisonous intolerance had soaked deep into European philosophy and ideology by the Year of Revolutions. The only thing that has changed is who gets to decide how popularity is measured.

He assured Israel that it could "always rely" on support because "the security of its citizens will forever remain nonnegotiable fixtures of German foreign policy."

So says the German Foreign Minister, staunch ally of Palestinian terrorists.

"We know that there have been far too many occasions in the six decades since the liberation of the concentration camps when the world ignored inconvenient truths so that it would not have to act or acted too late," Wolfowitz said.

Like Darfur, where villagers will be killed today because their skin is too dark. The only mention of Darfur, where a genocide is ongoing, is by Mr. Wiesel, who used the past tense.

Goe, wants an end to genocide before it's his turn to climb in an oven.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Unelected bureaucrats--don't act so surprised
Written by: Beck

Guess what? Thousands of American federal bureaucrats, many of them in highly important and/or sensitive positions, received their degrees from buy-a-diploma unaccredited schools. Three cheers for Big Government!

Long-time readers of this site will know that I'm no fan of bureaucrats & bureaucracies. Yes, some bureaucrats are honest, qualified, hard-working people essential to the health of our nation and without whom things would fall apart. I even know a few. And some bureaucracies (i.e. the military) are absolutely necessary. But for the most part...

I'll leave it to you to fill in the rest. And now, the excerpts!
Looking at the personnel of eight federal agencies chosen at random, the GAO found that 463 employees showed up on the enrollment records of just three unaccredited schools. (It actually looked at four colleges, but only three responded to its request for information and only two fully cooperated.) This was merely a sampling of the dozens of mills operating nationwide, not an exhaustive audit; given the limited nature of the GAO's investigation, the true number of federal employees who are academically unqualified to fill the positions they hold could be in the thousands.

Agencies tasked with defending America from terrorism were among the top employers of workers with phony diplomas identified by the GAO. The Department of Defense employs 257 of them. Transportation has 17. Justice has 13; Homeland Security, 12; Treasury, eight.

The GAO also found that two diploma mills alone have received a total of nearly $170,000 in payments from a dozen federal agencies for tuition for 64 employees.
(Hat tip: CrimProf Blog)

I'm amazed they've lasted this long
Written by: Beck

This is grim.

I enjoy picking on the EU, EUroweenies, EUrocarats... you get the picture. They're an easy target, and I find their politics & policies fairly revolting most of the time. Nonetheless, I genuinely do not like seeing this kind of news:
The CIA has predicted that the European Union will break-up within 15 years unless it radically reforms its ailing welfare systems.

The report by the intelligence agency, which forecasts how the world will look in 2020, warns that Europe could be dragged into economic decline by its aging population. It also predicts the end of NATO and post-1945 military alliances.

In a devastating indictment of EU economic prospects, the report warns: "The current EU welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalisation could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the EU, undermining its ambitions to play a heavyweight international role."

[...] The EU is also set for a looming demographic crisis because of a drop in birth rates and increased longevity, with devastating economic consequences.

The report says: "Either European countries adapt their workforces, reform their social welfare, education and tax systems, and accommodate growing immigrant populations [chiefly from Muslim countries] or they face a period of protracted economic stasis."

As a result of the increased immigration needed, the report predicts that Europe’s Muslim population is set to increase from around 13% today to between 22% and 37% of the population by 2025, potentially triggering tensions.

The report predicts that America’s relationships with Europe will be "dramatically altered" over the next 15 years, in a move away from post-Second World War institutions. NATO could disappear and be replaced by increased EU action.
The report goes on to observe that technological and economic trends favor India and China--especially China--over sclerotic Old Europe should current trends continue. I've seen plenty of pundits--Europeans mostly--talk about how the EU is the next superpower. They want it to provide a counter-balance to American power for one thing, and for another, their pride is heavily invested in the notion that Western European institutions are the pinnacle of civilization and development.

They couldn't be more wrong. The future is on the Pacific Rim. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore are already as strong or stronger as any European nation economically, and their political and social climates are much more well oriented towards growth and expansion. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand will remain powerful and healthy economies, assuming they avoid the mistakes the Europeans have made (I wish the Canadians the best of luck, they're rapidly heading down the road to self-destruction). South and Central America present numerous nations with a lot of potential. Then of course you have the United States, and looming over it all, China.

The Europeans hardly even figure into it. We might as well leave them to deal with the Middle Eastern crisis they've spent decades aiding and abetting.

Written by: Beck

par - a - site (n.)
1. Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.
2. a) One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return. b) One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.
3. A professional dinner guest, especially in ancient Greece.

Respectfully submitted for consideration to the dictionary folks, a fourth definition of parasite:

4. These people.

From the USS Abraham Lincoln air craft carier currently performing relief missions for Aceh, Indonesia:
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of "Nice china, really makes me feel special," in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.

[...] As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these "relief workers" from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default.

When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, "We aren't paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to."

In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level "VIPs," which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV. I doubt if we'll get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., one day. Everyone wants in on the action.

As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they don't want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.

To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.
Have I mentioned that the United States pays $7 billion of your tax dollars to the UN every year? Just thought I'd mention that.

(Hat tip: The Diplomad)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Calvin & Hobbes meets Fight Club
Written by: Beck

Don't read this if you haven't seen Fight Club.

Do read it if you have. Especially do read it if you were a big fan of Calvin & Hobbes.

Trust me on this one.

(Hat tip: Winds of Change)

How do you spell irony?
Written by: Beck


Senator Robert Byrd (D-CSA) was once a proud member in good standing of the KKK. He was the Grand Klegal (not quite sure what that is, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean guy-who-isn't-really-into-this-whole-racism-bit) in fact. Can you imagine the outrage we'd hear on a daily basis from, well, everyone, if there were a Republican Senator who had been a KKK member?

Now imagine if said Republican obstructed the appointment of the first ever black female Secretary of State. I'll give the racist old moonbat one thing: he's got balls.

It's official
Written by: Beck

Speaking through a voice box, Chief Justice Rehnquist has delivered the Oath of Office to Bush. President Bush's re-election is accomplished.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

A reason to feel nervous?
Written by: Goemagog

Four More Years of Bush Makes the World Anxious says Reuters.

The rest of the world will be watching with anxiety when President Bush (news - web sites) is inaugurated Thursday for a second time, fearing the most powerful man on the planet may do more harm than good.

Why is it that the people most worried were comfortable with this?

Mistrust also runs deep among ordinary people. Some 58 percent of people surveyed in a British Broadcasting Corporation poll in 21 countries said they believed Bush's re-election made the world a more dangerous place.

Why is it that most of the world relates so well to the baathist goose-stepping wannabes and so poorly to the United States?

Goe, thinks France is responsible because they've made a point of hating the US.

Not-so-strange bed fellows
Written by: Beck

The blogosphere not only slices and dices, it also brings together conservatives and libertarians. At least that's what Pejman Yousefzadeh argues in his latest Tech Central Station column. I'm especially inclined to agree with his arguments, considering the 5 different people who (supposedly) write for INCITE. We without doubt run the gamut of conservative thought. You'll have to trust me on that one.
One of the palliative effects of blogging and the Blogosphere in general, however, is that it has fomented greater (and more civil) interaction among conservative bloggers and blog readers, and their libertarian counterparts. Indeed, blogging may very well cause conservatives and libertarians to realize that their mutual interests may outweigh whatever specific policy differences exist between them.

This would not be a development without precedent. During the Cold War, many conservatives and libertarians put aside their differences and rallied around a common enemy, that total threat to freedom, Soviet communism. But in the wake of the Cold War, the differences between conservatives and libertarians have become more pronounced, prompting many to forget their mutual interests. But the blogging phenomenon is, in no small measure, reminding conservatives and libertarians of their mutual interests. And these mutual interests--coupled with the interaction between conservative and libertarian bloggers and readers--may help reaffirm a political consensus on certain issues in America, along with a right-of-center political coalition to back that consensus up, and seek to translate it into official policy.
See you tomorrow sportsfans.

Tragedy untold
Written by: Beck

Amidst all the news in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami, massive coastal flooding in Costa Rica has gone completely unnoticed by most of, well, everyone.

Image Hosted by

David Anderson has the story, and he also has links to ways you can donate and/or help out.

Being brief
Written by: Beck

Not a whole lot of time to pontificate today, so instead, allow me to simply bring your attention to various tidbits I found interesting. And, hey, what do you know, they all have to do with the United Nations in one way or another.

On the humor front, The Diplomad presents the Top Ten Wrong Ideas that People Around the World Still Believe. My favorite:
5) The United Nations is the hope for the future of mankind,and its corollary, if we didn't have the UN we'd have to invent it. If this is true, mankind has a bleak future. Anybody with an IQ larger than his shoe size (American shoe size) knows that trusting the UN with our hopes for the future is wrong; we have seen this day after day. But this idea is still out there, and accepted as politically correct and believable by large swathes of countries. It's the official line of the whole European Union, which is frightening, since some of those countries individually are good allies and have intelligent people who should know better.
Next up, Powerline points out a scandal at the UN which has been almost entirely unreported. To give you an idea of just how unreported this is, I hadn't even heard about it, and I've dedicated myself to criticizing the damned institution. It would seem the UNRWA has been giving direct cash donations to a number of Palestinian terrorist organizations. Gee, is that not good?

(Via Instapundit) Next up, the first conviction has been handed down in the developing Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal. This seems like a classic case of finding a guy of middling importance, cutting a deal, and then getting him to rat on everyone else. I can only hope.

Finally, Michelle Malkin has a blog post on the idea that Steve Forbes could be the next Ambassador to the UN. Question: How awesome would that be? Answer: Totally awesome.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

For lack of deep thinking
Written by: Beck

Some deep thoughts.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Cloak and Dagger
Written by: Beck

The New York Times has a behind-the-scenes look at how the Ukrainian SBU--offspring of the Soviet Union's KGB--helped save democracy. Definitely have a look--it's a fascinating story full of intrigue, deceit, and betrayal.

(Hat tip: PW)

Two plus two equals feelings
Written by: Beck

I always liked math in school. How twisted is that?

Seriously though. Math is the one pure discipline. It's not open to interpretation. It has premises and proofs. Given a set of axioms, you can demonstrate something to be absolutely true or absolutely false. Every other discipline changes with the prevailing educational zeitgeist. History is subject to revision, the sciences rely on unprovable theories, and English education... I won't even get started.

Standardized test scores in math are falling in the Newton, Massachusetts school district. Scores in the rest of the state remain relatively stable. What on earth could the culprit be? My guess is the "anti-racist multicultural math" curriculum.
Between 1999 and 2001, under the direction of Superintendent Young and Assistant Superintendent Wyatt, the math curriculum was redesigned to emphasize "Newton's commitment to active anti-racist education" for the elementary and middle schools. This meant that no longer were division, multiplication, fractions and decimals the first priority for teaching math. For that matter, the teaching of math was no longer the first priority for math teachers, as indicated by the new curriculum guidelines, called benchmarks, which function as the primary instructional guide for teaching math in the Newton Public Schools.

In 2001 Mr. Young, Mrs. Wyatt and an assortment of other well-paid school administrators, defined the new number-one priority for teaching mathematics, as documented in the curriculum benchmarks, "Respect for Human Differences - students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors." It continues, "Students will: Consistently analyze their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination; Take effective anti-bias action when bias or discrimination is identified; Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them; Demonstrate how their membership in different groups has advantages and disadvantages that affect how they see the world and the way they are perceived by others..." It goes on and on.

These are the most important priorities that the school department has determined for teaching math from grade one through eight, as documented in the Newton Public Schools Benchmarks.

Nowhere among the first priorities for the math curriculum guidelines is the actual teaching of math. That's a distant second. To Superintendent Young and his School Committee, mathematical problem-solving is of secondary importance to anti-racist/anti-bias math.
Do I even need to explain why this is such a terrible policy on too many levels to count (well, too many to count if you got your math education in Newton anyway)? It sickens me when political correctness leads to such excesses--and in this case, it leads to excesses which will permanently stunt the educations of thousands of children.

(Hat tip: The Rott)

Quick question
Written by: Beck

Maybe I'm missing something here, but how do you shoot yourself with a nail-gun through the roof of your mouth & into your brain... and not know about it? AND go around for six days before discovering the reality of things?
A nail gun backfired on Lawler, 23, on January 6 while working in Breckenridge, a ski resort town in the central Colorado mountains. The tool sent a nail into a piece of wood nearby, but Lawler didn't realize a second nail had shot through his mouth, said his sister, Lisa Metcalse.

Following the accident, Lawler had what he thought was a minor toothache and blurry vision. On Wednesday, after painkillers and ice didn't ease the pain, he went to a dental office where his wife, Katerina, works.

"We all are friends, so I thought the (dentists) were joking ... then the doctor came out and said 'There's really a nail,"' Katerina Lawler said. "Patrick just broke down. I mean, he had been eating ice cream to help the swelling.

What's in a (sub) headline
Written by: Beck

For those not keeping up, here's a 4 page article from on the history & current standing of the UN oil-for-food scandal. I love the subheadline: How the United Nations' oil-for-food program was transformed into a piggy bank for Saddam Hussein and the biggest financial scandal in the world body's 60-year history.

A few choice excerpts for your reading pleasure:
The Treasury Department, the Department of Justice, the Manhattan district attorney's office, five legislative committees, at least three foreign governments, and, oh yes, the United Nations itself are asking who's responsible for the more than $4 billion in illegal kickbacks on Iraqi oil sales and goods from suppliers exporting food, medicine, and other materials to Baghdad.


The U.N. sanctions committee, which included representatives from the United States and other Security Council members, had final authority over the oil-for-food program. Volcker wants to know why they didn't plug the holes and if any were influenced by the ongoing trade their countries had developed through the oil-for-food program. Senate investigators have obtained minutes of the sanctions committee meetings, but Volcker so far has been denied access to the massive bound volumes. Asked about the disparate treatment, a Volcker confidant said: "The U.S. has not been terribly helpful. They are very reluctant to demonstrate the degree to which they either overlooked or approved the contracts, the monitoring of them, and the smuggling." [ed: I've long suspected something like this might be at work. It's time to come clean folks. It will all come out in the end, best to make a clean break now. Emphasis mine.]


A Pentagon audit that examined just 10 percent of the oil-for-food contracts pending at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 found that the costs of nearly half the contracts appeared to be inflated. On just the food contracts alone, Pentagon auditors found evidence of overpricing in 87 percent of them. The audit, reviewed by U.S. News , also found five contracts that included "after sales service charges" of between 10 and 20 percent. It is now believed that Saddam and his agents tacked on such surcharges to the aid contracts in order to siphon money out of the program and divert it to the regime's purposes, using millions meant to buy food to instead shore up his army and construct lavish presidential palaces. In order to pay the surcharge fees, it appears, some companies either inflated the cost of goods sold or delivered fewer goods than called for in their contracts. Former Iraqi ministries, the Pentagon report related, said surcharges and kickbacks were "standard practice."


In creating the oil-for-food program in 1996, the United Nations sanctions committee intended to accomplish two things: Lighten the burden of the U.N.-imposed sanctions on ordinary Iraqis and make sure that Saddam and his henchmen didn't use the money from the permitted oil sales to buy or build banned military weapons. Simple enough. But the problem was that Saddam was allowed by the Security Council to both sell the oil and negotiate with foreign suppliers. It is clear now that the inspection companies hired by Sevan's office to keep track of the flow of oil and goods operated really at the pleasure of Saddam. After the U.N. replaced Lloyd's, Cotecna was assigned to monitor the shipments of humanitarian aid. A company called Saybolt was contracted to monitor the oil sales. Neither, it turns out, had sufficient leverage to force the Iraqis to abide by the U.N. rules. Representatives from Cotecna, which U.S. News learned recently hired a Washington firm to lobby on the oil-for-food issue, have testified that they were often threatened by Iraqi officials. Seth Goldschlager, a spokesman for Cotecna, adds that his company was authorized only to "check paperwork." "The first contract called for verification inspections," Goldschlager said, "but the Iraqis refused that." Congressional investigators tend to agree that the inspection companies faced an impossible task. "They were paper tigers with no authority at all," says Tom Costa, a staff member of the House Government Reform subcommittee. "If someone wanted to just drive by a checkpoint, they just drove by."

Summaries of U.N. sanctions committee meetings make it clear that member countries, including the United States, were aware that Saddam was attempting to game the system. More than once, committee members were shown evidence that kickbacks were being paid by aid suppliers, that Saddam was diverting aid to his military, and that Iraqi oil was being smuggled illegally. The question now for everyone examining the sieve like oil-for-food program is why so little was done to stop such abuses and what responsibility Washington may have. A Senate investigator who has reviewed some of the sanctions committee minutes told U.S. News that, overall, U.S. performance looks to have been pretty good. "When the U.S. or the Brits or the Dutch bring up a concern with the program," the investigator explained, "the Russians and the French and the Chinese stop the proper oversight."
I'm really looking forward to the release of the findings of the various investigations into oil-for-food, but I'm beginning to wonder if they'll even be out while Annan is still in office (his term is set to expire in 2006).

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Iraq election predictions
Written by: Beck

The Iraqi elections will come off successfully. There will be terrorist attacks at polling stations, but far fewer than current "worst case" doomsday predictions. Allegations of fraud will ring hollow and prove to range from very minor to unfounded. Turn out will be greater than 50% across all ethnic groups. At the end, the crowd calling for delayed elections will look foolish. None of them will realize that calling for delays constituted playing into terrorists' hands.

OK, that's enough predictions for one day.

It just feels right
Written by: Beck

What happens when you mix a talking purple carnivore with a room full of children?


A sampler:
"Thaaaat's right!" said Barney, "You see, here in my world, there are lots of different dinosaurs. Big ones and small ones, tall ones and short ones, fast ones and slow ones. But what makes me different from them is that none of them has ever had to deliver slurpy little homilies designed to let parents abandon their children in front of the teevee guilt free, and to strip those children of every natural instinct for self preservation and betterment, including competitiveness, toughness, critical thinking and self-respect, replacing them with delusional visions of a world where everyone is warm and cuddly, no one is any better or worse than anyone else and bad things never, ever happen"
My own suggestion for the revised theme song:

I love you,
You're crunchy,
Children have few calories...

Written by: Beck

From Vice Squad:
In Salt Lake City late last year, federal judge Paul G. Cassell was forced by the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines to sentence a 25-year-old small-quantity marijuana dealer to 55 years in prison. The sentence was so harsh because the dealer had a gun on him during two of the transactions. Two hours before that, Judge Cassell sentenced a man to 22 years in prison for killing an elderly woman by beating her to death with a log. The latter crime was not subject to the mandatory minimum guidelines.
How is it that such situations which so clearly and obviously do not serve the public interest can occur without outrage and call for change? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the guy who beat an elderly woman to death with a fucking stick should be spending a lot more time in jail than the guy selling weed--regardless of how long you think the drug dealer should be behind bars.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

There's hope yet for this nation of mine
Written by: Beck

Can you dig it? From a Harris poll:
A 44 to 30 percent plurality of Americans tended not to trust the United Nations.

And why does this not surprise me?
In contrast, in Europe, a 49 to 34 percent plurality were inclined to trust the U.N.

(Hat tip: Mr. Minority)

Meet my new favorite actor/director: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Beck

Unforgiven was already my favorite Western movie. Now there's this:
'Dirty Harry' star Clint Eastwood told an awards ceremony in New York that he would "kill" 'Fahrenheit 9/11' filmmaker Michael Moore if he ever showed up at his front door with a camera, according to a report on

With Moore sitting in the audience, the Eastwood said: "Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common--we both appreciate living in a country where there's free expression.

"But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera--I'll kill you. I mean it."
And there's not an ounce of doubt in my mind that he means it. Every word.

(Hat tip: PW)

The 'Did You Miss Me' Post
Written by: Beck

Did you miss me?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Idiocy runs rampant.
Written by: Goemagog

The Belmont Club strikes again.

They now cite a report saying that the task list for Iraq is

1. Protect the US forces during occupation;
2. Neutralize and destroy munitions stocks;
3. Exploit intelligence in the aftermath of the fall of the Hussein regime;
4. Stabilize the condition of the civilian population;
5. Re-establish the rule of law; and
6. Rebuild Iraq

And that our military is inherently incapable of doing those things. Our military did pretty much the same things with the armies of occupation from WW2, and almost the same thing in Bosnia.

It concluded that the United States should create occupation contingency plans for any countries it was likely to invade. The development of these plans in their fullest sense was not currently part of the military planning process. Indeed, they could not be formulated by the military alone. A new interagency mechanism was needed to generate them.

Actually, the inability of the military to do that is one of the signs that Rumsfeld is an idiot. Rebuilding local infrastructure, stabilizing the local economy to minimize black markets, infiltrating and destroying hostile guerilla's in rear areas, and protecting soldiers are the goals of RAOC units, of which we probably have few left. We have units to do just those things because combat units on a frontline in a traditional war need reliable supply lines. If they've advanced into enemy territory, the civilians will tend to be more hostile. Roads, bridges, utilities, large buildings, (all the stuff that passes for infrastructure), will also need to be repaired so that they can be used to support the advance. Stabilizing the local populace and economy helps with suppression of guerilla activity.

But Rumsfeld has decided that this is a new kind of war, so all that capacity we had isn't being brought to bear on our enemies. It's being chucked by the wayside. Instead of bringing stability to secure our supply lines, we're flying supplies around and expecting the hostile population to stabilize themselves. We're doing it this way because we don't have enough soldiers to do it in a way that we know works. Rumsfeld, the Belmont Club, Instapundit, and others think we should just make do by treating every outpost like a mini-Khe Sanh while hoping the CIA outspins the press and convinces our enemies to give up.

Goe, by Grabthar's hammer!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Written by: Goemagog

Instapundit has it wrong, as do the people he cites.

Their position is that we didn't have enough soldiers to finish everything in Iraq when that war started, so it's fine that Rumsfeld has been against getting any more. Rumsfeld has continually advocated a smaller force than we have now, not an expansion of troop levels. We also would not have needed to delay the invasion if anybody acknowledged that we didn't have enough soldiers to see it through. We didn't stop drafting soldiers to fight in WW2 until that war was over, and we had started drafting more than a year before we were attacked. We didn't fight with just what we had when it started, we fought with that army plus as much as we could add to it.

The problem isn't that people who supported the war yet want more troops are hypocritical, it's that the administration said the war was absolutely necessary yet refuses to ackowledge the possibility of defeat. If defeat were not possible, the threat of force would have been sufficient and fighting would have ended almost immediately.

I feel the war in Iraq was necessary because they sponsored mercenary groups who are waging a war against us using terrorist tactics. Iraq is not the only country that was doing so, and we need to go after the others as well. We cannot do this because we have nothing left to do it with. We need a much larger military, both to increase troop levels in Iraq and to go after the other countries waging war against us.

It's another position oft-repeated and supported by Instapundit that more troops in Iraq would be nothing more than more targets. This isn't true.

More soldiers would give our enemies more people to attack, require more convoys that could be bombed, and more bases to be mortared, but those soldiers also mean that we can be looking in more places where our enemies gather, seizing more of their weapons, and killing more of their soldiers. More soldiers means that we can search and destroy more places at once. We'd also be better positioned to secure Iraq's borders to slow or prevent the continuing infiltration of mercenary recruits into the country.

More soldiers increases the chances that it (the campaign in Iraq and the war in general) will be over faster and in our favor. This is what Rumsfeld is against doing because he believes we have enough right now to win. We might have enough to win, but the chances of getting them being in the right place at the right time to kill all of our enemies before our politicians want to concede defeat and surrender to bin Laden is, in my opinion, unlikely. We may have training and equipment on our side, but our enemies have numbers (an almost inexhaustible supply of recruits from islamic countries), time (we'll end up with another carter someday, and if the war isn't over by then, they'll claim 'peace in our time'), and space (we only control the ground where our soldiers are, everything else is room for our enemies to organize, train, supply, and maneuver).

Rumsfeld may be right and the extra soldiers would have nothing to do but sit in a cafe drinking coffee and waving at passers-by, but I'd rather we had extra than be insufficient.

UPDATEORAMA: Going to the source, the Belmont Club is wrong.

Rumsfeld's efforts to reorganize divisions into a larger number of smaller brigades and the reallocation of money from weapons systems like submarines to the ground forces are tacit acknowledgement that the ground forces need to be augmented.

The Belmont Club writers are apparently unaware of the laws of physics. Breaking something into smaller pieces does NOT give you more than the original mass.

Divisions are comprised of brigades, which are comprised of smaller units, and an odd assortment of supporting units. Removing the division level does not give you more brigades unless you shrink the brigades that already exist, which means that each brigade will lose capacity. Plus, by removing the supporting units that exist at division level, you have a choice of either making the brigades larger so that each copies those support functions, or you further reduce their capabilities by removing whatever functions required those supporting units in the first place. Breaking up divisions does not augment ground strength in any way.

There is probably more than enough conventional military firepower in Iraq to incinerate any conceivable target. Even during the second battle for Fallujah, the calls on artillery and air did not stretch their capabilities. But where these fires are to be directed or raids are to be launched is a function of actionable intelligence.

Yes, we've got a lot of firepower in Iraq, but most "actionable intelligence" in a combat zone does NOT come from the CIA, FBI, NSA, Homeland Security, or the New York Times. Almost all of it comes from soldiers. Soldiers who have eyes and ears with which to collect information, communications gear to relay that information, and weapons with which they can act almost immediately on that information. Every unit above the company level has an intelligence section in their headquarters to collect and analyze information and liaison officers to build local relations (and collect more information).

We have uses directly related to the war to which more soldiers could be put. Doing so will increase the chances and speed of victory. The _ONLY_ reason for not sending more soldiers is that we don't have them. The only reason to claim that extra soldiers are not desireable to have is to avoid discussing where we could get them. The most obvious way to get them is conscription, and there is no subject more taboo in current political discourse. A foreign legion would help, but the administration would rather keep illiegal immigrants coming in to the country so that rich people can save money on servants.

Goe, for hospitals and against disease.

Friday, January 07, 2005

For lack of anything better
Written by: Beck

I'll just point you to this excellent NYT op-ed article.
It needs to be clear that these so-called insurgents are not fighting to liberate Iraq from America, but rather to reassert the tyranny of a Sunni-Baathist minority over the majority there. The insurgents are clearly desperate that they not be cast as fighting a democratically elected Iraqi government - which is why they are desperately trying to scuttle the elections. After all, if all they wanted was their fair share of the pie, and nothing more, they would be taking part in the elections.

We cannot liberate Iraq, and never could. Only Iraqis can liberate themselves, by first forging a social contract for sharing power and then having the will to go out and defend that compact against the minorities who will try to resist it. Elections are necessary for that process to unfold, but not sufficient. There has to be the will - among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds - to forge that equitable social contract and then fight for it.

In short, we need these elections in Iraq to see if there really is a self-governing community there ready, and willing, to liberate itself - both from Iraq's old regime and from us. The answer to this question is not self-evident. This was always a shot in the dark - but one that I would argue was morally and strategically worth trying.

Because if it is impossible for the peoples of even one Arab state to voluntarily organize themselves around a social contract for democratic life, then we are looking at dictators and kings ruling this region as far as the eye can see. And that will guarantee that this region will be a cauldron of oil-financed pathologies and terrorism for the rest of our lives.
Just over 20 days left until the Iraqi election. Everything really hinges on that now. If the Sunnis refuse to vote, as the terrorists hope, the civil war will become entrenched. If the Sunnis turn out and vote in droves, it'll be the end of the insurgency. And the "insurgents" know it.

For up-to-date Iraq election news, see the excellent collaborative blog Iraq Election Diatribes.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

From the dictionary
Written by: Beck

Assclowns (n.) -- People who engage in self destructive acts to no potential gain out of a sense of... well hell, who can explain why some people do the things they do?

Do these people really think they're doing either themselves or the Democratic party a favor here? As though they didn't look silly enough already...

Update: A version of the story that involves the word "poopie."

Bloody hell
Written by: Beck

Definition of a bad idea:
Meanwhile the U.S.-led core group of Australia, Japan and India has decided to disband and blend its role into the broader U.N. effort.

"The core group helped to catalyse the international response," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the conference in Jakarta according to a prepared text released by the State Department.

"Having served its purpose, it will ... now fold itself into the broader coordination efforts of the United Nations."
But now for something amazing:
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stepped up the German government's pledge of financial aid to tsunami victims to 500 million euros ($660m) as European nations moved to increase help to the devastated region.
Something more amazing:
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said his country would donate an additional billion Australian dollars ($764.5 million) to a partnership with Indonesia for rehabilitation in the wake of the tsunami disaster.
And finally, something dumbfounding:
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed for $977 million in emergency relief over the next six months for the "unprecedented global catastrophe" triggered by the Asian tsunamis.
First of all, how in God's name can they need that much more after the enormous amounts already pledged, and second of all, how in hell did they come up with the number $977 million? I am mystified.

Weapons inspections do not work
Written by: Beck

Weapons inspections had the potential to work in Iraq when the program was first instituted. The reason they could have worked is that Iraq had just suffered a military defeat and surrendered. As part of the surrender, Iraq ceded many aspects of its national sovereignty. Now, here's comes the real lesson of this post. Should you get nothing else from it, remember this:

As long as a country retains its sovereignty, inspections of any type by any outside agency will not work. Period.

By definition, a sovereign nation can do as it pleases within its borders. That's the definition of sovereignty. Other nations can apply pressure of various types in an attempt to encourage or coerce certain behaviors, but action can ultimately only be compelled via military force. Inasmuch as it's neither moral nor feasible to invade or bomb everyone suspected of behaving in a manner contradictory to our national interests, we will never effectively prevent nations from developing WMD--including nuclear weapons--so long as they are sufficiently determined to do so.

Take the example of North Korea. Much of Bill Clinton's second term was spent trying to negotiate a settlement with North Korea which would both allow them to have plenty of nuclear power generation and prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. The final agreement hammered out was very generous to North Korea, with South Korea essentially volunteering to foot the bill for construction of enormous & expensive power plants. North Korea, nonetheless, developed nuclear weapons.

Now consider the current day example of the IAEA and Iran. The IAEA wants to conduct inspections to verify whether or not Iran is in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty. Iran blocked them for a long time, and has just recently announced that they will allow inspections at a site the IAEA has long wanted to get a look at.

Obviously, Iran would not be allowing this were there anything left for them to hide. More importantly, the IAEA wouldn't even know there was a site which needed inspection were it not for American intelligence hinting at the existence of clandestine nuclear research. The EU and the UN have been working for months to get Iran to comply, but they haven't been able to now. And now, they will find nothing.

Why? Because inspections can only work if the inspectors have absolute, unabridged access to all areas of an entire nation, including both public and private property. That sort of access can only realistically exist in cases where a nation has ceded some or all of its sovereignty, and no nation on Earth will voluntarily cede such a huge slice of its sovereignty.

Therefore, weapons inspections do not--and never will--work.

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

This should not come as a surprise.
Written by: Beck

Jonah Goldberg answers the question: Is the United Nations an odious institution?

Hint: this is Jonah Goldberg we're talking about here. Money quote:
The United Nations really is an amazing cultural fault line. On one side are those who believe that it is the last, best hope for mankind. On the other are those who think that title still belongs to America. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but I think it captures the essence of the debate about the U.N.

And now, a word from our sponsers
Written by: Beck

Just in case anyone was wondering, Richard Gere does not speak for me.

Not a democracy
Written by: Beck

As Goemagog once wrote, America is not a democracy. It is a republic. Walter E. Williams (not to be mistaken for regular INCITE commenter Walter E. Wallace) couldn't agree more.
We often hear the claim that our nation is a democracy. That wasn't the vision of the founders. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny. If we've become a democracy, I guarantee you that the founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. The founders intended, and laid out the ground rules, for our nation to be a republic.
This puts me in mind of something commenter Harvey said in response to my post about fighting the Florida smoking ban. I had warned against tyranny of the majority, and he responded with an example of tyranny of the minority--a legitimate concern. He asks:
So, which way is our society to be ruled, by the complaint of "one" or the will of many ???
McQ at Q&O, commenting on the Williams piece linked above has an observation which I think nicely links the concept of a Constitutional Republic to Harvey's concerns.
Democracy, for all the almost religious fervor it carries as the supposed ultimate desire and goal of free people is much more like the saying above than not. Where democracy comes into the equation here in our Constitutional Republic is that there are democratic institutions embedded in it in which the majority has the opportunity to decide certain things ... like who they want for leaders at certain levels of government. But, as Williams points out, the power of the people in this country lies in the Constitution, not the government or the majority. [emphasis mine --Beck]
Which brings me to McQ's conclusion:
... which brings us to resisting things like Sen. Dianne Feinsteine's call to end the electoral college and make sure we understand that in reality when we call for "democracy" we really mean "Constitutional Republic" or some other form which guarantees the rights of the people from the tyranny of both the government and the majority.
Which puts me in mind of my earlier defense of the Electoral College.
The Electoral College is a good thing, regardless of whether you're a Republican or a Democrat. A popular vote would just constitute another step in the destruction of the federal system.
You see, it all fits together in the end.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Culture Cult claims a few more victims
Written by: Beck

Image Hosted by

While it involves the UN, this post isn't about the UN. It's about an entire world view which places value arbitrarily on Culture for the sake of Culture. These are people who think it's better for a person to grow up in miserable conditions because it's a more "authentic" way of "life".

The tsunami, in a single day, has created an unfathomable number of newly-minted orphans. In an amazing display of generosity, families in wealthy countries have reached out with their hearts & handbooks by volunteering to adopt tsunami orphans. The Culture Cult, naturally, is having none of it.
Adoption groups are advising it is unlikely children orphaned by the Asian tsunami disaster would be repatriated to Australia.

Agencies including Centrelink and support groups in the ACT have received calls and emails from people wishing to adopt victims of the earthquake event.

Julia Rollings, from the Adoptive Families Association, says it is often inappropriate for children affected by war and natural disaster to be adopted overseas.
There's the first bit of arbitrariness--the characteristic which defines most of these heartless, misguided, idiotic policies. It gets worse.
She says the inquiries are well-meaning but are often unrealistic, especially in the short-term.
That's because in the long-term, these children will at best be wards of the state (and in this case, the state is Indonesia, Sri Lank, or Thailand--nations of which one absolutely does not want to be a ward), or at worst, dead.
"Inter-country adoption is only appropriate for children who can't be placed in a suitable family within the country of origin," she said.

"So there's a lot of steps that have to be taken first before they decide that inter-country adoption is appropriate for any of these orphans."

UNICEF Australia chief executive Carolyn Hardy says her organisation will not support or encourage inter-country adoptions.

"We believe children are best left where they are in environments that are familiar to them, in a culture that's familiar to them, speaking a language that they know, and in the schools that they're already going to [and what great schools they are --ed]," she said.
That's right. Children whose outlook involves starvation, disease, privation, lack of education, and despair have to be protected. From culture shock.

Thanks to the generosity of nations like the United States & Japan, and thanks to the unbelievable hard work of the United States & Australian military, starvation likely won't be a concern for too much longer. But the money will eventually be spent, and the fresh water & food supplies won't come in forever.

Then there's dysentery and other diseases. If these orphans manage to live through that, all they have to look forward to are lives of grinding poverty. But thank God they're protected from the horror of having to grow up in a different country in a culture they're not used to. Incidentally, you'll notice that there's no exception being made for orphans under the age of two--children too young to have any awareness of culture.

I've been to Indonesia. I was in Bali in 1997 on a scuba diving trip. 1997 was probably the best year Indonesia has ever seen--it was right before the Asian economic crisis & before the rise in Islamic militancy. Furthermore, as the top tourism destination in Indonesia, Bali was the wealthiest island with the best off citizens. And it was still full of Grinding Poverty. We're talking full-grown adults bathing in road-side irrigation ditches kind of poverty.

Sumatra is one of the poor(er) areas of Indonesia. Aceh, the hardest hit by the tsunami of anywhere on earth, has been torn by separatist militants, is geographically isolated, and exists entirely on fishing (but the fishing fleets have been destroyed) and subsistence agriculture (but the rice paddies have been flooded with salt water). And UNICEF & others are blocking Australians & others from adopting orphans from Aceh. Just fucking brilliant.

I suppose Indonesia will do a better job of raising these children? Indonesia can't even get food to it's own people. Indonesia only remains solvent thanks to the intervention of the World Bank and IMF. Indonesia does not need to be taking care of literally thousands of parentless children on top of all its other burdens. Nonetheless, thanks to a combination of misguided nationalist pride and the Culture Cultists arbitrary value system, those children will starve, suffer, and in many cases, they will die.
"To uplift them out of their country to Australia or anywhere else would be an absolute last resort."
By the time that "last resort" becomes relevant, it'll only apply to locations for grave sites.

Update: A coworker sends me a link to this sad story. It seems the wave of orphaned children created by this disaster already have a name: the Tsunami Generation. And it sure is a good thing UNICEF is protecting those children from being adopted by well-meaning Australians. Otherwise, international child-slavery rings might have a harder time recruiting kidnapping new employees victims.
Officials also say they are concerned children orphaned or separated from their parents by the tsunami might be falling prey to criminal gangs bent on selling them into slavery.

UN officials were alarmed when a colleague received a mobile phone text message that read: "Three hundred orphans aged 3-10 years from Aceh for adoption... Please state age and sex of child required."
At least UN officials have sufficient sense to be alarmed. Not that their cognizance of this problem will translate into actual beneficial action.

Further Update: From Roger Simon, the story keeps getting worse.
Yesterday The Island reported that Tamil Tiger rebels in the north, who have a history of using child soldiers, had begun to abduct children under the guise of offering shelter.

The newspaper alleged that the target group for the Tigers, whose own numbers have been seriously diminished, were young boys aged 12 to 14.

[...] Meanwhile in Aceh, where 35,000 children have been orphaned or separated from their parents, officials warned that children were being smuggled from the Indonesian province by child traffickers. The Medan-based Aceh Sepakat Foundation believes at least 20 orphans were sent to Malaysia and Bandung in West Java by child traffickers in Medan. On Monday Indonesia issued a regulation banning the movement from Indonesia of Acehnese children under 16.
Read the whole article for further tales of child abuse, corpse mutilation, and gang rape.

Fight the Power, or Civil Disobedience for the 21st Century
Written by: Beck

I've watched with growing dismay as government after government across the country (and across the world--thanks Ireland!) bans smoking in all places open to the public--including private restaurants, bars, and other business establishments.

Whether or not you favor this particular infringement on personal freedom and liberty, it goes without saying that the government is increasingly denying people the right to make informed decisions for themselves, instead dictating how they should live their lives. As such, it's always heartening to see someone willing to defy the government & fight these unjust laws. Michael Pace, owner of the Old Cutler Oyster Company in Florida (the entire state has outlawed smoking in establishments which make more than 10% of their revenues from the sale of food) is doing just that.
So far, he appears to be winning, to the extent that legislators may have to amend the smoking law next session to close loopholes that Pace has uncovered.

[...] Pace, who won't say how long he's been a smoker, has many complaints about the law. He says it discriminates because it allows exceptions for some businesses, even as its stated goal is to protect all employees from second-hand smoke. And he's annoyed that people who don't pay a mortgage or a payroll are making a key decision that will affect business.

[...] On July 9, Florida Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco agent Jorge Fernandez walked into Pace's bar and saw people smoking. He told manager Lisa Tyrell, who got Pace on the phone with the agent. Pace received a warning that day and asked Fernandez to tell him when he would be back so he could "make sure he had patrons smoking inside his business," according to case documents filed by the state.

Fernandez came back to the bar two more times before citing Pace on Sept. 18, 2003.

Rather than pay a $250 fine, Pace spent his own money to hire a lawyer. (He won't say how much.)

"The law was horribly, horribly, horribly written," Pace said.
Still, it's something of a moot point in many ways. For one thing, Pace is arguing that the way the law is written, he's doing no wrong--he's not arguing that the law itself is somehow unconstitutional. Furthermore, legislators have responded by seeking to close the loopholes he uncovered. Ultimately, the tyranny of the majority (the state constitutional amendment banning smoking passed with 71% of the vote--a pretty close breakdown of the percentage of non-smokers) marches on.

(Hat tip: Vice Squad)

Idiots and their bromides
Written by: Beck

Seventy year old bromide: Moussolini may have been a murderous fascist despot, but at least he made the trains run on time. Brand new bromide: "We can argue all day that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose defeat and humiliation should evoke no sympathy from us. But he did have a functioning country."

Clowning Glory does the dirty work of taking down this bit of asinine illogic.

Words of wisdom
Written by: Beck

I can't believe I've allowed an entire two days to go by without writing anything massively critical of the United Nations. Rather than flog that dead pony more myself, I'll just shoot you a couple samples of others' brilliant horse flogging. And no, that's not a veiled reference to Kofi Annan, regardless of how high up INCITE ranks in google searches for "Kofi Annan rapes dead horses."

From the always entertaining Mark Steyn:
If America were to emulate Ireland and Norway, there'd be a lot more dead Indonesians and Sri Lankans. Mr Eddison may not have noticed, but the actual relief effort going on right now is being done by the Yanks: it's the USAF and a couple of diverted naval groups shuttling in food and medicine, with solid help from the Aussies, Singapore and a couple of others. The Irish can't fly in relief supplies, because they don't have any C-130s. All they can do is wait for the UN to swing by and pick up their cheque.

The Americans send the UN the occasional postal order, too. In fact, 40 per cent of Egeland's budget comes from Washington, which suggests the Europeans aren't being quite as "proportionate" as Mr Eddison thinks. But, when disaster strikes, what matters is not whether your cheque is "prompt", but whether you are. For all the money lavished on them, the UN is hard to rouse to action. Egeland's full-time round-the-clock 24/7 Big Humanitarians are conspicuous by their all but total absence on the ground. In fact, they're doing exactly what our reader accused Washington of doing - Colin Powell, wrote Mr Eddison, "is like a surgeon saying he must do a bandage count before he will be in a position to staunch the blood flow of a haemorrhaging patient". That's the sclerotic UN bureaucracy. They've flown in (or nearby, or overhead) a couple of experts to assess the situation and they've issued press releases boasting about the assessments. In Sri Lanka, Egeland's staff informs us, "UNFPA is carrying out reproductive health assessments".

Which, translated out of UN-speak, means the Sri Lankans can go screw themselves.
Next, the always excellent Diplomad (which now counts a Dutch foreign service member in their ever expanding ranks) has this to say:
Well, dear friends, we're now into the tenth day of the tsunami crisis and in this battered corner of Asia, the UN is nowhere to be seen -- unless you count at meetings, in five-star hotels, and holding press conferences.

Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city's Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for "Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-affected countries." Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word "coordinator" twice in her title!
Then in the Diplomad's next post, they discuss--you knew it had to be coming--that the UN has now dispatched an assessment team to coordinate assessment teams. You just can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bonfire of the Vanities, Week 79
Written by: Beck

Time for another bonfire folks--a collection of voluntarily submitted terrible posts from people around the blogosphere. Because deep down, there's little in life more entertaining than the chance to laugh and point at someone else's folly. And so, without further rambling, let us begin.

Image Hosted by

From Interested-Participant, a simple question for the members of PETA. My answer to his question: tap dancing.

RIGHT WINGNUTHOUSE swims against the flow to make some anti-predictions for 2005. My favorite of his "Headlines You Won't See" is MICHAEL MOORE EXPLODES. If only...

From WuzzaDem, a post for which he can't remember what he thought was funny.

Centerpiece presents the bonfire-worthy-titled post "Listen Up Stupid Liberals." I'm sure that'll get their attention.

Dodgeblogium's submission is a link to quite likely the most blasphemous time waster ever invented.

The Chainik Hocker makes the fatal mistake (we all make it at some point) of posting while too tired to think straight. First sign that you're posting when you should be catching up on sleep: when you start your post off with a disclaimer about how you're posting when you should be catching up on sleep. Read it twice folks, the sentence works.

Ghost of a Flea's submission for this week is, no kidding, about having sex on Mt. Everest. Speaking of which, I just discovered this week that Sir Edmund Hillary is still alive. Betcha didn't realize that.

The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles has run out of time it would seem.

Espresso Sarcasm live blogs New Years Eve. Hint: it's never a good sign of a healthy social life when you're blogging midnight on New Years Eve.

mad anthony bemoans the cruel capriciousness of blog traffic.

Carpe Bonum submits a blog post full of broken links. But he assures us it was moving.

And finally, Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has writers block. No really.

I don't have a submission of my own, but I do have a completely random story for you. A few days ago as I was rooting through my spam folder for my GMail account for the first time in months, I came across what is quite simply the weirdest email I have ever received. Attempts to respond resulted in immediate email bounce-back, so I was unable to delve further into the mystery. Here, in its entirety, is the email:
From: Simpson R. Egotism
To: Incite
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 09:18:45 -0600
Subject: Denise

I thoroughly checked the email for stealth-spam elements, but found it to be entirely clean. And there you have it folks: the 79th consecutive Bonfire of the Vanities.

State of California to outlaw sun
Written by: Beck

That would seem to be the next logical step considering this:
Children under 14 are banned from using tanning salons, unless they have a doctor's note, and those 14 to 18 need parental permission to receive a tan.
Going to a tanning salon, especially when young, may not be the best thing in the world for people's health... But come on. It's simulated sunlight--something which, in non-simulated form, can still be obtained for free the last time I checked. Heaven forbid things should get done more efficiently, pumping a little extra money into the economy in the process.

I mean, are California lawmakers actually making a deliberate effort to convince the world they're a pack of flaming morons? It's the only reasonable explanation I can think of.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Ukraine as microcosm
Written by: Beck

Instapundit links an article in the Houston Chronicle that got me thinking. The article attempts to explain that for numerous reasons, there will now be a rapprochement between Europe and the United States. I disagree with their conclusion, but this quote is notable for other reasons:
The third force [encouraging US-EU rapprochement] is the reappearance, albeit in a milder form, of the threat that kept the trans-Atlantic alliance together for half a century. The Russian bear is growling again. The Ukrainian election--complete with its KGB-style poisoning of the opposition leader and heavy-handed electoral fraud--has reminded European diplomats of Vladimir V. Putin's determination to control his "near abroad."
As regular readers of this site are well aware, Ukraine recently went through an especially tumultuous election cycle. It appears that the forces of freedom have won that round. The similarities between pre-election Ukraine and Putin's Russia go far deeper, however.

First, take this description of pre-election corruption in Ukraine:
A good example of the clan system in action was the recent privatization of the Kryvorizhstal factory. Western firms offered 2.1 billion dollars. It was sold to the presidents son-in-law for 800 million. His son-in-law is Pinchuk, the head of the Pinchuk-Derkach clan.
Now have a look at recent events in Russia related to the break up of the Yukos oil company (which was forced into bankruptcy via elaborate government machinations a couple years back).
However, Khodorkovsky [the former head of Yukos and no saint himself] changed tactics in a letter from prison published after the audacious state auction of Yuganskneftegas, a production unit responsible for 60% of Yukos's output. The Yuganskneftegas unit was sold to a shell company at half of what Yukos and foreign auditors say it was worth. Then a company controlled by the government, Rosneft, bought the shell company. Now, both Rosneft and Yuganskneftegas are being folded into Gazprom, the natural gas monopoly.
Look familiar? The only question now is, how long will it be until the third Russian revolution?

Your UN Contribution at Work V
Written by: Beck

Image Hosted by

The shear number of things to go shockingly wrong at the UN in the past year or so might give some cause to wonder what on earth has changed to cause so much to go wrong. After all, I certainly can't think of a two year period in UN history to be so filled with scandals, controversies, and outright debacles.

The answer is not that something has changed recently. Kofi Annan's mismanagement, while certainly a contributing factor, is not the cause of the rottenness at the core of the United Nations. The reason for the historical absence of such disastrously obvious and deplorable UN behavior is that in the past, they quite simply got away with it.

After all, the systemic problems at the heart of UN corruption--the fact that it's majority controlled by undemocratic regimes--has been a fact of its existence for essentially its entire history. The only difference between UN performance in, say, the 1970s, versus today is that they didn't screw things up as badly, and what screw ups there were didn't get the same kind of publicity.

Here, I'll provide you with an excellent example of normal UN operations--operations which qualify as getting away with gross corruption, mismanagement, ineptitude, and crass disregard for purported UN goals. Have a look at Winds of Change's excellent link-filled post on the "Toyota Taliban." From UNinsider we get:
In a letter from Kabul, British satirical biweekly Private Eye reported on the private life of international community members in the Afghan capital. It claims that only 16% of the $4.5 billion pledged at the Tokyo conference goes to the government; the rest in the hands of NGO; a term used to refer to "the well heeled" international staff of the U.N. and aid organizations who reportedly spend time shopping for wide screen tvs and laptops at a new Sony Centre. "Most other shopkeepers only ever glimpse them as they are driven past in one of the $75,000 Toyota Landcruisers most of them owned by the U.N. -- known here as the Toyota Taliban," the letter says, adding that the cruisers ferried them from office to restaurant to guest house. It continues: "There's a swimming pool at a central U.N. compound and regular parties and barbecues. Memories of a party held by the DHL courier group last November, when an opium pipe was passed around by U.N. staff, are still fresh. If boredom strikes, aid workers might also sign up for Tai Chi and Argentinean tango lessons."
If you think United Nations staff's behavior in Afghanistan is some sort of extraordinary case or exception to the rule for UN missions, I have some excellent real estate to sell you in Florida. Then take this comment on Roger Simon's site from over a year ago (emphasis mine).
An enormous and highly profitable international aid apparatus has assembled in Kabul and has largely ignored the input of the Afghan people or their largely American liberators; the latter stand by in disbelief as taxpayers contributions to Afghanistan disappear into outfitting the extravagant needs of European aid community. The UN pays $400 a day (more than a year’s pay for an average Afghan) plus a generous per diem. This enormous aid infestation has fostered rightful resentment. The UN and associated NGOs ran through years of aid funding in a matter of months. Now when money cannot be found for reconstruction, the UN issues reports criticizing the parsimonious Americans. Meanwhile, the UN and NGOs live like pashas. Hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for Afghans have been transformed into fleets of top-of the-line Toyota Landcruisers, villas and estates to house their workers complete with swimming pools, an endless supply of underpaid servants, luxurious furnishings (accented with looted antiquities,) the latest laptops, video equipment, cases of Johnny Walker Blue and the bling bling ...perks that might even seem excessive to Ken Lay are justifiable expenses charged off to the US. No accountability, no oversight. They don’t bother cooking the books, they don’t even keep the books!
This basically describes the normal United Nations operating procedure. First, shame the developed world into donating billions of dollars for aid and development--the location and/or project isn't really that important, though politically fashionable projects tend to be emphasized. Then head down to said location and live like kings until the funding runs out. At that point, blame the lack of progress on the greed of free nations and/or corporations and repeat the process.

This cycle has been going on for decades. The American tax payer is the biggest sucker in world history. Why? Because he pays for it all, and then gets insulted for not paying more. That's your UN contribution at work.

(Hat tip: Ace)

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009


The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker