Saturday, March 15, 2003

Eat An Animal for PETA Day

Vegetarianism is the first step of turning away from life. Life lives on lives... Vegetarians are just eating something that can't run away
-Joseph Campbell

Boy, is that just the tip of the iceberg, or what?!

After PETA's ad campaign comparing animal husbandry with the Holocaust, has proclaimed today Eat an Animal for PETA Day!

I'm planning on roast beef, medium rare.
The Spirit of Lafayette

It still lives in The Dissident Frogman. Check out this except from a French "teachers guide". Maybe this answers the "Why do they hate us?" question. Be prepared, the Frogman warns to have a barf bag at the ready!

Also check out Merde in France. In his latest post, he demonstrates that Chirac has forgotten the words and the spirit of the Marseillaise.

Friday, March 14, 2003

We're from the government, we're here to help you...

Jane Galt on Asymetrical Information (yes... Jane, not John) has an excelllent post: Why Doesn't the Government Do Something?

And in fact when we get to the solutions to these types of problems, the ones where the government is supposed to step in and prevent the broad mass of people from doing something very bad for them, what we see is that liberals can recognize that the government is ill-equipped to handle them -- or at least the kind of government of which they are ostensibly in favor, which is to say representative, democratic government. So in the name of democracy, they agitate for agencies with the power to enact fiat rule with limited accountability, such as the EPA. This is profoundly anti-democratic, and can produce the worst of both worlds: a large deadweight loss, with little to show for it.
Shock Jaques

Thanks to BuzzMachine for supplying this link. You can send up to a 2,000 character epistle to Mr. Chirac here. Here is the one I sent:

For over 40 years your county has sought to balance what you call American "hyperpower". From your on again/off again relationship with NATO to your self appointed tutelage of the EU to your current "altruistic" intransigence over Iraq in the UNSC.

As an American citizen and a person of French decent: Shame on you sir. You may camouflage the self-interested policy of France with hypocritical posturing for "peace". You can use your unearned, ill deserved and hopefully short-lived Permanent Member status on the UNSC as a cudgel to thwart us "diplomatically". For now…

Enjoy your moment in the limelight Mr. Chirac, for this is, at least until France again earns a place at the table of nations that are willing assume the cost, and not just the wear the garments of liberty, your swan song. When Iraq is liberated and the extent and depth of French collaboration with Saddam Hussein is revealed along with the depth of suffering that the Iraqi people have endured, you and your countrymen will hang your heads in shame. Provided you have any shame left.

You are not our ally. You are not our enemy. And, if not for the absurdity of the United Nations (where Iraq can chair the disarmament committee while being “disarmed”), you could not play your current role of annoying spoiler. You would simply be an object of melancholy, like an old Parisian whore, jaundiced, morally bankrupt and decrepit. That and a sad, but vivid reminder of the danger of living on a pension funded only by faded glory and lost integrity.

We WILL liberate Iraq, just as we liberated your country sixty years ago. We will spend our most precious currency, the blood of our young people, in this endeavor because we are still children of the Enlightenment and understand the cost of freedom. Peace without freedom sir is slavery. I hope that we may, within my lifetime welcome France, the homeland of Lafayette, back to the family.


Royce A. Dunbar
Des Moines, Iowa USA

It felt good writing it anyway...

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

New World "Order"

Brilliant essay by Lee Harris on Tech Central Station. Please put your trays and seat backs in their full upright position for a radical paradigm shift. Read this... especially if you are on the Register Editorial Board.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Register for Peace

For my own mental and physical wellbeing, I suppose I should stop allowing myself to feel shock and disgust at the editorial stance of the Register regarding the upcoming liberation of Iraq. It should not surprise me that they doubt the intelligence and integrity of the Bush Administration. It should not surprise me that the Register editors cling to policies that promote an illusion of “stability” because of their shallow, postmodern understanding of history. It should not shock me that the editorial staff at the Register really believes that the United Nations has a sort of international federal power over the United States and that we need their permission to use force in the best interest of our country.

But, I am a sentimentalist and a romantic at heart and want to believe the best about people. I want to think that the managers and editors at the Des Moines Register are not simply looking at the New York Times for their editorial position and acting as a sock puppet for NYT Managing Editor Howell Raines. I want to believe that these are independent, thoughtful individuals that take in data, perform analysis by applying historical perspective. But, alas, that is not the case.

Witness today’s editorial:

“The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote this week on a resolution that would authorize a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. If the resolution fails to pass, the United States should think twice about going to war virtually alone.”

Think twice… no, I’m sure that no one in the current administration has given it a second thought. We’re just a bunch of cowboys shooting up a law abiding, peaceful village, we don’t think… we just do. Virtually alone…, it’s just us and: England, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, Lavtia.

Yep, the US sure is acting unilaterally.

And who is the broad, multilateral coalition resisting military action in Iraq?

France, who for 40 years has done everything in it’s power to block US influence in international affairs… who, while claiming to be our ally, is in reality a de facto ally of Iraq… who has been selling military equipment to the Iraqis as recently as a month ago… who has a lot to lose financially if there is regime change in Iraq with pending oil contracts… who, before pressure from the US opposed sanctions and weapons inspections in Iraq… who in 1991 initially opposed military action to liberate Kuwait.

Germany, an economic basket case who’s President, to deflect public opinion from troubles at home, ran on a strident anti-American platform.

Russia, a long time Iraq backer that is owed over $9 billion in back payment for weapons sold to Saddam and, like France has pending sweet deal oil contracts with the Iraqis.

Islamic and Arab countries that fear, not that a post-Saddam Iraq would be a disaster, but rather that it would be a success and therefore a threat to their own corrupt regimes. The ruling mullahs in Iran for example, with growing student liberalism already brewing at home, are terrified by the idea of a liberal, democratic Iraq.

This is the fuel for the anti-US shenanigans at the UNSC. If you think it is a high-minded, utopian philosophy that motivates these nations, you are too naïve to control the editorial content of the only daily newspaper in the largest metropolitan center in Iowa. The only thing that could be worse than stupidity and naivety would be if you are just as cynical as the French and are using the Register as an organ of Transnational Progressivism… but that couldn’t be possible.

“A war conducted without U.N. approval would not be in America's long-term interests. It would not have the full support of the American people and certainly not of world opinion. It would leave the Western alliance seriously split. It could legitimize guerrilla attacks on American troops occupying Iraq. The United States might find it impossible to achieve its objectives of building democracy and stability in the Middle East if it undertakes what would be seen as an illegal occupation of Iraq.”

The UN is a morally bankrupt, sham of an institution that has nothing to do with America’s long-term interests and from which we should withdraw from post haste.

No war, even World War II, has EVER had the full support of the American people. Support for the war and against the UN is growing and this is what frightens the Register Editorialists. As for world opinion… yeah, let’s go into some soul searching about “Why they hate us…”.

The “Western alliance”… allied against WHAT?! Hey kids, the Soviet Union is defunct. The remnants of the Soviet Empire are now allied with France and Germany AGAINST US and with IRAQ. Hello… McFly!

As for building democracy and stability in the Muslim world, this is precisely what we are going to do. Is it going to be easy? Decidedly not… but Iraq is the logical place to start and now is the time. If you really believe that the great majority of the Iraqi people are not going to see as liberators… well, that could explain your meat-headed tolerance and veiled support of Saddam Hussein.

"That's why the U.N. vote is crucial. If President Bush succeeds in rounding up enough votes to authorize war, most of those objections will be neutralized. Bush will have clear legal authority to invade Iraq, and he will probably gain the support of an American public that has not been convinced a war with Iraq is immediately necessary.”

Yes, crucial for blocking the United States. Considering we are lobbying for the approval of Guinea, which has been under a brutal dictatorship since 1984… let alone Syria as legal authority for war is just one of the grotesque jokes that the United Nations has become.

So… let me get this straight… if the UNSC authorizes the use of force, then all of the “arguments” dredged up by the Register against war are moot. What a convenient and spineless stand given the probable outcome with France and Russia both threatening a veto.

“So far, polls have shown the American people would support the war only if the United Nations gave approval. But as of Monday, the nine necessary Security Council votes weren't secured. Both France and Russia were still threatening to exercise their veto power even if the resolution passed.”

You haven’t been keeping up on the polls… Even the NY Times is reporting an increase support for war WITHOUT UN approval.

“Bush dismissed the need for U.N. approval during last Thursday's press conference when he said, "We don't need anybody's permission to proceed."Hey you Tranzies, President Bush is right.

The UN has been a blatant anti-US forum for years and, in this situation, is irrelevant. This war, with a swift victory, the liberation of the Iraqi people and the probable discovery of French collusion, collaboration and skullduggery, will render the UN even more irrelevant. The UN is a club where the US is kicked off of the UN Human Rights Commission, and where Libya is its chair. “Hello, this is George W. Bush. I’d like to cancel my membership.”

“America certainly has the power to proceed without anybody's permission, but should also have the wisdom not to. As one U.N. Security Council diplomat commented, "To be a superpower is to be a leader, not a dictator."”

Please give one reason, other than perpetuating the farcical posturing at the UN, why would it be wise not to liberate Iraq? Yes, to be a superpower is to be a leader… and we are leading the way into Iraq. We will liberate that country from 30 years fascist tyranny. We will lead the battle against Islamofascism. We are not compelling any country to fight along side us. We are just making it clear that they must join us in leading the defense of Western liberalism, follow us into battle, or get the hell out of the way.

And… I’m just guessing that the UNSC “diplomat” quoted above is from… France?

“Proceeding to war without a U.N. resolution stands to damage the greater U.S. cause: fighting terrorism throughout the world. As demonstrated by the capture of al-Qaida leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammad in Pakistan, it's necessary to have the active cooperation of many countries to end terrorism.”

Hello… the battle of Iraq is the current lynchpin of the war on Islamic terrorism. Do you think that the Pakistanis cooperated to secure Khalid Shaikh Mohammad or any other al Qaeda terrorist because they LIKE us? They assisted us because it was in their best interest to do so. I’m just going to guess that a quick victory in Iraq will not change their mind and may even serve to prompt greater “cooperation”… at least from the government. The Islamist crazies in Pakistan are our enemies in any event.

“If Iraq posed a clear and immediate threat to the security of the United States, a war would be justified without waiting for U.N. approval. But the president has not made a case that the United States is in imminent danger from Iraq. A pre-emptive war - on the supposition that Iraq might someday be a threat - would break with 227 years of American tradition of not striking first.”

First, define “clear and immediate”. The idea here is to strike now before Saddam or his terrorist proxies do. By the time the threat is clear and immediate… whoops there goes New York. 227 years of “not striking first”? You must be reading the revisionist textbooks that my kids use. What about Tripoli, Mexico, the Spanish American War… or… Kosovo? The Register folks sure have a very selective memory of the US using preemptive force.

“Bush also has failed to make the case that Iraq has any link to al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, launching a strike against Iraq would not be retaliatory. Attacking a country unprovoked would set a new precedent for U.S. military action while sending a dangerous message to the world about what constitutes a justified war. Bush appears unwavering in his determination to go to war, even if he doesn't have the blessing of the American public or the world. That would be a tragic mistake.”

Okay, what is your idea of provocation? Does it require more Americans dead? Does it require 12 more years of defiance and subterfuge? The message we are sending is one that, in the post 9/11 world is indeed dangerous, but only to our enemies… including France, Germany and Russia if they choose to be counted among them… don’t fuck with us. If you think that we are going to abandon self defense in depth to appease Saddam Hussein, Islamofacists or the postmodern nitwits at the UN, forget about it.

“It should not be seen as a loss of face for the president if he accedes to a United Nations timetable in dealing with Iraq. Already, he has achieved much. The president's call to action has caused Saddam Hussein to reopen Iraq to U.N. inspectors. The president's marshaling of troops conveys the required pressure to see disarmament through.”

Yeah, what the heck, another 12 years and 18 more resolutions ought to do it…

“Should the U.N. Security Council vote against immediate hostilities, a little more patience can still achieve the goal of disarming Iraq without the ugly, unintended consequences of an unauthorized war. The president would deserve the world's thanks for having brought about a great victory for peace without bloodshed. “

Here is the fundamental problem with the Register’s world view in this matter. They see peace as the absence of war. Sorry guys, there can be no true peace without bloodshed. Human beings have not fundamentally changed over the last 55 years since the establishment of the UN. And the United Nations is not a magic talisman that can end war, promote justice and equality through Security Council Resolutions. There are people out there (including some on the esteemed Security Council) would like nothing better than to see the US and everything we stand for neutered if not destroyed. Fortunately for us, President Bush is having none of that.

Our President understands that peace, unless that peace includes freedom, security, dignity and self determination is not victory, it is surrender.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Zero Tolerance

A grade school student is suspended for bringing a brightly colored squirt gun to school. A high school student is threatened with expulsion because she brings some Tylenol to school and takes some for a headache. An employee is reprimanded or fired for telling a joke to a coworker or (heaven forbid) asking a one out on a date. An airline passenger has her eyelash curler… yes, EYELASH CURLER… confiscated before being allowed to board a domestic flight.

How have we come to this?

Well… if there are no valid, traditional standards for right and wrong, as the postmodernists claim, then there must be a method to protect the populace, without insulting or disproportionably impacting groups with any sort of aggrieved status. Combine that with an almost cult-like worship of safety at any cost, and what you get are… Zero Tolerance Policies.

We’ve all had direct or second hand experience with ZT policies. We live in a world in which the people that we place in positions of authority are no longer allowed to exercise judgment or make decisions based on the case at hand and through the application of common sense. The real world implementation of the policies often seems bizarre, unjust and other worldly, but the ZT craze continues.

School boards and administrators are so cowed by fidgety parents to ensure that children are completely “safe” and simultaneously afraid of offending a gender, ethnic, social, or low income group that they cannot allow teachers and principals to discern key differences in a real world situation versus a policy and its intent. That is how a nail clipper becomes a knife and leads to the suspension of a child with no previous disciplinary issues.

Human Resource officers, fearing litigation and draconian governmental regulations, write all encompassing, draconian sexual harassment policies. That is how an experience and well-respected manager, with a spotless employment record is fired for telling an off color joke. Not for telling the joke to “aggrieved” party. But, rather for having the joke overheard by a sensitive coworker.

And here is one I personally experienced. An Iowa senior citizen (pushing 80 if not older) is pat searched and forced to remove his shoes by one of the newly-commissioned Federal security guards at the Des Moines airport. The man was traveling with his wife. He was somewhat bewildered and the guard was impatient and, to put it kindly, curt. It was physically difficult for the man to take off his shoes, without benefit of a chair let alone do some mischief on the plane. If you wanted to select an individual for “least likely to be an al Qaeda terrorist”, this guy was it. But better this indignity and inefficiency than the politically incorrect (but reasonable) practice of paying close attention to swarthy men in their teens and twenties.

ZT policies have two primary overt goals: First, zero tolerance sounds like strong policy. The strength of the term shows a high-level of commitment to combat a perceived problem. Second, it promises safety (especially to baby boomer parents) in what is perceived to be an increasingly unsure and dangerous world.

What is the real agenda of ZT’s proponents?

ZT is social engineering in the guise of a popular “get tough” policy. It is a byproduct of victimization politics which, in turn in a byproduct of our old friend… postmodernism. Hey, nobody has a real take on right or wrong. Judgment calls, because of the dominant cultural prejudices held and expressed by the individuals who are typically in positions of authority, are inherently skewed against those in traditionally marginalized groups. So we have to craft binary (on/off, yes/no) rules intended to create an outcome that appears to be “judgment neutral”. We have to do everything in our power to redress the wrongs inflicted upon identified disadvantaged groups. We must create policies like ZT that render results that are distributed across class and race, regardless of the absurdity of the individual cases that populate those results.

This is the logic that considers a squirt gun (or a pointed finger miming a gun) in school worthy of the same action as a real gun.

This is the rationale that can equate a student bringing a decongestant nasal spray to school to a student bringing cocaine.

This is the agenda that calls for the neutering of men in the workplace, especially traditionally male workplaces.

This is the world view that sees self defense and standing up for your rights and dignity as reactionary and pro-violence.

One of the most insidious examples of school-based ZT is aimed an inflexible “conflict resolution”-based program for ending school violence. This particular policy is particularly postmodern in its slavish adherence to consensus and process as well as its refusal to identify an aggressor. All parties in the conflict are compelled to find “common ground”. Conflict is to be avoided at all costs. Every point of view is valuable. Under these ZT policies, a teacher breaking up a fight should not even ask “who threw the first punch”. Both parties are equally responsible. Even the child acting in self defense should have defused the confrontation and reached consensus or walked away before or even after he was hit. It doesn’t matter if the aggressor has a history of picking a fight and the kid has a spotless disciplinary record. Don’t fight back. Cover up and go down. Submit to a higher authority.

Now… is it just me, or does this sound familiar at all in light of the postmodern dog and pony show currently playing at the UN Security council…?