Monday, March 31, 2003

Added a New Link

Added a new link to the Links section. Daily Kos looks like a pretty cool and informative website to me. So go check it out.

The Role of the United Nations

Article today by Bob Herbert at the New York Times talking about what role the UN should play. He disagrees with the administrations plan to use the Military to disburse aid, and their excessive control over relief organizations. Perhaps President Bush and his administration would like to ensure that the United States receives credit for their compassion on the Iraqi people, this program could have disastrous unintended consequences.

Herbert quotes Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children, as saying, "The single most important issue here is let the humanitarian side of the government and nongovernmental world handle the humanitarian response, and let the military handle the military response. If it's seen as one joined-at-the-hip operation, military and humanitarian, then humanitarian workers all over the world will be at risk of their lives because they'll be seen as partisan." Hopefully the administration will avoid this particular pitfall as the weeks unfold. It may require a thawing of relations between the United States and the United Nations, as the UN is the most logical group to administer the relief efforts.

Communism and Paranoia

Are you as afraid of Communists as you should be? Communists have infiltrated our peace movements, and are working to bring about an end to this war, a defeat for the United States. This explains Professor Nicholas De Genova's comments at a recent teach-in at Columbia State University, where he stated, “The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus.” Mogodishu, for those who don't know, was the location of a rather harrowing defeat for American Soldiers on a peace mission. It was immortalized in the movie "Black Hawk Down."

Now first of all let me get this out of the way. I don't care what side of the political fence you happen to be on, if you are an American Citizen such comments are reprehensible. Our soldiers fight to protect their fellow citizens, and they are required to follow the orders of their leaders. To wish them death, as Professor Nicholas De. Genova does, is terrible.

However, the question one has to ask is how do De Genova's reprehensible comments reflect on the peace movement as a whole? Well, David Horowitz has an answer. Drawing on his own experience as a 1960's radical agitator, he believes that the peace movement hates America and wants America to be defeated. De Genova's words were an inadvertent revelation of how the movement really felt about this war and about America.

Professor Eric Foner, who had organized the event, spoke to the New York Times the next day, saying "I personally found it quite reprehensible. The antiwar movement does not desire the death of American soldiers. We do not accept his view of what it means to be a patriot." But, never fear, Horowitz has an answer to that. First of all, he asks why didn't Foner condemn De Genova immediately? It should be noted that Foner apparently believes he did. "I began my talk, which came later, by repudiating his definition of patriotism, saying the teach-in was a patriotic act, that I believe patriots are those who seek to improve their country." Then Horowitz takes a moment to ensure that all his readers know that Foner's parents were Communists.

Horowitz writes, "The war in America’s streets is not about “peace” or “more time for inspections.” It is about which side should lose the war we are now in. The left has made crystal clear its desire that the loser should be us. Even if the left had not made this explicit, a “peace” movement directed at one side makes sense only as an effort to force that side to retreat from the battle and lose the war." Of course we are talking about American Peace protestors, protesting in America. We are also talking about, whether you support it or not, a war of aggression. Protesting Iraq in America makes little to no sense, and if the Peace movement did it, than all Horowitz would say is "Well why protest at all. If you don't like Saddam just let us get rid of us." Horowitz, and others like him on the right, are going to be consistent. No matter what the peace movement does or says, they will be opposed to it even existing. Just the way it is, I guess.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Do It Yourself Cartoon

Here's the second in our series of do it yourself cartoons. Remember if you don't find this funny, it's your own fault.

"Sweetie Pie, Just like (Our Love/Social Security/America's Military Might/Large Tax Cuts/Industrial Plumbing), this box of chocolates will be around forever. But wait, what is your brother the (Democrat/Republican/Green party member/Libertarian/Reform Party Member/Raelian) doing?"

And for those Martians stranded here since 1952, heres a version of the cartoon for you.

"Sweetie pie, just like (Our Love/Cheap Robot Labor/Sunfire Seed Wine/Mutating Cosmic Rays/Flangers), this box of chocolates will be around forever. But wait, what is your brother the (Cosmocrat/Fingerlican/Smashmouth Fan/Quantem Presbetyrian/Raelian) doing?"

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Your Weekly Rush

Well Rush predicts that our actual entrance into Baghdad will go very easily. "Based entirely on what I perceive the Iraqi strategery to be, I think that when the battle of Baghdad starts, it is going to be quick and clean.

"How can you say that with the Republican Guard dug in?" Folks, they won't be there by the time we fight for Baghdad. I came to this conclusion late Thursday night. Earlier this week, I said that it would be nice if the Republican Guard - who are currently hiding behind women and children in Baghdad - would come out to face us so we could crush them. Now they're doing it! Saddam is breaking up the Republican Guard; he's sending them out to try to inflict as many casualties on us as he can.

They're not trying to defeat us because they know they can't. They're trying to inflict as many casualties on us as they can and to be as barbaric as they can because they think we'll cut and run à la Mogadishu. So I think by the time we make our move into Baghdad, the Republican Guard is going to have been pummeled.

So there you have it, nothing to worry about.

The truth is, it is a potential future. I don't think it's the most likely future, but it is definately possible. On the other hand, as Salon has documented, administration forces have been spinning such happy-go-lucy scenarios for a number of months, although of course they now want to pretend that they never did.

Friday, March 28, 2003

The Trouble with Norman Solomon

Something happened to remind me of this this morning, so I thought I would comment on it. Norman Solomon is a media critic, who has the occasional good comment about how the media distorts news. I first encountered him in a little book called, "The Trouble With Dilbert: How Corporate Culture Gets the Last Laugh."

Norman Solomon's thesis seems to be this; because Dilbert doesn't encourage the overthrow of the capitalist system, it is actually hurting those that read it.

Take your average Joe cubicle. He opens the comics page and reads about the antics of Dilbert and Wally and so on, and laughs. It brings a little levity to his day, making him feel a bit better about his life. And that's the danger. You see a happy worker is less likely to rise up and smash the system and install the socialist paradise.

His other complaint is about how Dilbert enjoys being an engineer. Dilbert, presumably, went to school and studied and became an engineer, and got a job working as an engineer. He likes being an engineer, and invents stuff in his own time. But the problems in his work are caused by things that stop him from doing what he likes, which is engineering. At his corporation he has all sorts of distractions that keep him from working, like co-workers, idiot bosses, and unnecessary meetings. You see the problem, don't you?

An efficient engineer is exactly what those jerks in the upper management of our large corporations would want. Dilbert is playing right into their hands.

This is the moral bankruptness of some on the left - they want Capitalism to fail, and they want workers to be miserable. It's the only way they can build up the energy needed to remake society in their image. While I do favor leftist policies on many issues, more than that I want capitalism to be successful for all Americans. Capitalism is, by far, the best system we have. Wishing for it's failure, and wishing for the suffering of your fellow Americans, well its just beyond the pale.

Check back later as I might post some pictures relating to this issue.

Congress Lends a Hand

This will be a long post, with lots of long quotes, but it's important, so pay attention. As you may or may not know Congress is debating a new procedure that would give the Department of Defense much greater flexibility in moving money around between various appropriations without consulting Congress. Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appeared before the Senate to testify in behalf of this new procedure. A short overview of the testimony has been provided by the helpful folks at MSNBC. For those who prefer to read the entire transcript, the New York Times has you covered. And if you have three hours to kill, you can watch the entire session, thanks to America's Sweetheart C-Span.

Among the many subjects discussed was the rebuilding of Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld stated, "The -- I don't believe that the United States has the responsibility for reconstruction in a sense. What we have is a responsibility to get that country on a path that it has a representative government that is -- fulfills the standards that General Myers outlined. We want to participate in reconstruction. Other countries will want to participate in reconstruction."

Sec. Rumsfeld also stated, "When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayers, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government itself and the international community."

However, when pressed by Senator Patty Murry (D-WA), he clarified his position.

"SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): Doesn't the president's larger objective for the Middle East and for our relations with the Muslim world and for the war on terrorism require us to have a long- term commitment to reconstruction in Iraq?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Sure. I hope I didn't say anything that left the contrary impression. There's no question but that I was referring to the military side.

We feel we need to stay there as long as is necessary but not any longer. Conversely, if you talk about the United States and the international community, we have to have an interest and we have to see that that country gets put on a path toward some sort of representative government that is not going to threaten its neighbors. There's no question but that if that is successful, as I believe it will be, that the economic circumstance in the region will be vastly better for Turkey, for Jordan and for the other countries in the region.

SEN. MURRAY: Your term of putting it on a path concerned me. It sounded like we're going to put it on a path and walk away.

SEC. RUMSFELD: No, no, I don't mean to suggest that at all.

So apparently what Sec. Rumsfeld meant was that the Military forces had little role to play in reconstruction, other than presumably keeping the peace. And in that he's undoubtedly correct, although I would think pictures of soldiers working to rebuild Iraq would help us immensely. I hope his comments are not indicative of an administration willing to say anything to get us into war, but unwilling to live up to its promises.

As for the added flexibility, Senators Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC), and Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) had some strong comments on that issue.

But most particularly, Mr. Secretary, get this administration to ask not just for the money, but how to pay for it. The people of America are ready to sacrifice, they're ready to pay for this. I know Karl Rove thinks you need a tax cut in order to get reelected. But this is an embarrassment to this senator. I've been in government for 50 years, and what you've got me doing is telling that grunt, "We want you to go into battle, and we hope you don't get killed, and the reason we hope you don't get killed is we want you to hurry back so I can give you the bill. This generation, this Congress, this administration ain't going to pay for it. We need a tax cut so I can go to Disney World." Now, this is outrageous nonsense.

Mr. Secretary, I'm against giving additional flexibility. I will give every dollar — I'll support every dollar I can to help the troops and provide for their safety and to help win the war. But to have us extend these limitations to the extent that is being asked here, I just don't — I think it's too much. The reason we have separation of powers is to protect the liberties of the people, and checks and balances and the separation of powers have served the people well now for 215 years. And so count me out when you ask for these additional flexibilities.

I agree with the Senators from West Virginia and South Carolina. President Bush and his Department of Defense should, in this one instance, have to play by the same rules that everybody else has had to play by.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Keeping Score

Came across a really solid article yesterday by Thomas L. Friedman. Reminded me of the bit in Bush At War where Bush asks the CIA to make him up a score card containing the names and pictures of all the top al-Queda leaders. Then he could cross them out as they were eliminated.

Well Mr. Friedman has provided us with a handy scorecard for the current war in Iraq. A list of six questions that will tell us if we are winning this war or not. Questions such as "Have we occupied Baghdad — without leveling the whole city?", "Have we killed, captured or expelled Saddam?", or "Has an authentic Iraqi liberal nationalist emerged from the U.S. occupation to lead the country?."

It was his last question that I found particularly significant and troublesome. "Is the Iraqi state that emerges from this war accepted as legitimate by Iraq's Arab and Muslim neighbors? That is very important, both for the viability of whatever Iraqi leadership follows Saddam, and for the liberalizing effect it may have on others in the neighborhood. In the absence of any U.N. endorsement for this war, the successor regime to Saddam will have to legitimize itself by becoming something that Arabs and Muslims will point to and say, "We don't like how this was done, but we have to admit America helped build something better in our neighborhood." This outcome is crucial."

I hope we are able to achieve this outcome.


Some of us may feel some sympathy for the Iraqi people. Well, in a new article, Bill Murchinson explains the futility of that. You see the Iraqi's are Orcs, which you may remember appearing in the Lord of the Rings and the Two Towers. There are two sides in this war and against the Iraqi Orcs are pitted the Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. I would guess that the United States are the manly Humans, while the British get to be the fey Elves. Perhaps the Australians are the Dwarves.

As Orcs, there is little need to be concerned about their concerns or feelings or motivations for getting into this war. They are evil; case closed. The main weakness of the Humans and Hobbits is that we refused to see the Orcs for what they are, pure evil.

With a war as complicated as this, it's nice for Mr. Murchinson to simplify things so much.

In other news, Ben Shapiro, Boy Prognosticator, has revealed that the French may be spying on the United States. "The other day, I received a letter from a U.S. Air Force officer stationed on a base in Saudi Arabia. He wrote that coalition commanders expelled French soldiers from his base late last week. The French had apparently been caught hacking into the U.S. secret computer system. Their rooms had been evacuated, and British and American troops were allowed to move their own belongings into the plush surroundings the French had previously enjoyed. The officer reported that the information was 60-70 percent reliable, as a couple of semi-reliable sources had corroborated the story.

This story has been kept under tight wrap by the governments involved -- perhaps because the information is false. But if the French troops were indeed removed from the base for spying on the U.S. military, relations between our countries will have reached a new low.

One of the nice things about being a commentator is that there's no standard of proof whatsoever. An undocumented unconfirmed source puts France in a bad light? Lets run with it. Shapiro, using his amazing powers of Precognition says that he thinks France will become an Islamic nation soon, and then an even bigger enemy of the US (and one that has the bomb). So something to keep you up at night. Unless young Ben is wrong, but what are the odds of that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

America the Whatever You Need it to be to Make your Point

Article today at Commondreams by James Carroll, entitled America the Destroyer. Catchy title. Anyway in he speculates on what a "shock and awe" campaign against the United States would look like. "If Washington were the target of a ''shock and awe'' campaign, the US Capitol would now be rubble, along with that entire parade of becolumned federal buildings astride seven blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House a smoldering ruin (like Camp David -- and the Bush ranch house in Crawford, Texas). The Pentagon a fetid sinkhole, in-rushing waters of the adjacent Potomac River having snuffed the burning abyss. The vice president's residence at the head of Embassy Row in ruins. Bolling Air Force Base and Andrews Air Force Base on the Maryland side of the Potomac aflame. Fort Myers and the Navy Annex on the ridge of Arlington, Fort McNair in Southwest Washington and the Marine Barracks in Southeast, the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, and Walter Reed Hospital in far Northwest -- all on fire. CIA headquarters in McLean, Va., a smoking scar on the landscape."

Occasional commentator Caleb also read this article and had this comment.

"I was reading James Carroll's comments today at Common Dreams titled 'America the Destroyer'. He paints a vivid picture of the destruction of our nation's Capital in a shock and awe campaign designed to decapitate America's infrastructure, and then He asks a question.

This question is a singularly foolish one.

It is intended to villainize us for doing the same to Iraq by comparing our perfectly justified actions, as demonstrated by the changed minds of our overly optimistic human shields, with the destruction of one of the most humanitarian minded, generous, and moral governments in the world. The model of representative government to the world is being compared to a cruel tyrant who who is grooming replacements far more dastardly than even he himself, and ensuring their succession by pruning his infrastructure of competent and/or sane leadership. Iraq's government has already been decapitated. We need simply remove the virulent branches, and graft fruitful boughs onto the strong roots of the Middle East's most ancient and productive culture.

Caleb's point is well taken, although he perhaps oversells his point when he describes the United States as one of the most generous nations in the world. Certainly I hope that his optimism regarding the middle east will prove correct.

A Radical Proposition

Just read an article by Michael Kinsley at Kinsley traces the enormous power that George W. Bush has taken to the Presidency. In summing up he says, "Putting all this together, Bush is asserting the right of the United States to attack any country that may be a threat to it in five years. And the right of the United States to evaluate that risk and respond in its sole discretion. And the right of the president to make that decision on behalf of the United States in his sole discretion. In short, the president can start a war against anyone at any time, and no one has the right to stop him."

Is Kinsley correct? Could President Bush appear on TV tomorrow and said, "My fellow Americans, I believe that Syria (or Laos, or Cameroon, or France, or North Korea) could in the future pose a threat to the United States, so I have decided that we must invade the country?" Has the precedent been set?

Could we find ourself in a state of constant warfare, as President Bush hops from country to country seeking out evil doers?

Given the enormous powers President Bush has taken to himself, and the necessary focus required to fight the war on Terrorism, I propose that President Bush should step down at the end of his term. That will enable him to focus his attention on the war on terror and on Iraq, and will make it clear that he did not seek this power for himself, but to protect the nation.

Is the Future going to be Rosy?

Maybe not, according to George Will. In an article today, he talks about how supporters of the current war against Iraq have downplayed the potential difficulties of this war with Iraq. "Now, when the country needs the chastening sobriety that should be conservatism's contribution to the national conversation, it has been getting a whiff of something oxymoronic--conservative triumphalism. There has been much breezy confidence that the war will be painless and the aftermath--replacing Iraq's regime--easy. This has made the public susceptible to mood swings.

Unrealism in the public--the military has shown none of it--about war is an understandable byproduct of the ease of the 100-hour ground war in Kuwait in 1991. And of the Kosovo campaign in which there were no NATO combat deaths. And of the applications of new technologies to the projection of American power. Furthermore, because this is a war of choice--a wise choice, but a choice--those who were eager for the choice to be made had an incentive to minimize expectations of inevitable unpleasantness.

Huh. So Rush Limbaugh saying over and over again that all military concerns were overrated might backfire? Conservatives sold America on a quick and cheap war, and now that it turns out to be expensive and lengthy it might not be as viable a product?. Well, I guess that's the way things go. But wait a second, could overselling of the war have negative consequences down the road?

"Sometimes American conservatism seems to suggest that freedom is defined merely by the absence of things--particularly, bad government measures. The radical inadequacy of that idea will be clear once Saddam Hussein's regime is destroyed. A free society is a complicated social artifact. It is in no small measure an artifact of government, which must create the laws and foster the mores that sustain markets, including a market for political power through a multiparty system.

The president has put the country on a necessary but problematic path favored by conservatives. Now conservatives should explain why conservatism, with its wariness about uncontrollable contingencies and unintended consequences, suggests that the coming triumphs will be more difficult and less complete than we wish.

This article would have been a nice moderating force a couple of weeks ago, but now it's just the beginning of the cop out. Its George Will saying that all that stuff about bringing liberty to the Iraqi people and helping them become a modern society - that's just too hard. So if we kill Saddam Hussein, we should count it a victory, and forget all about the Iraqis.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Your Weekly Rush

Forgot to do this over the weekend--anyway here you are.

A lot of people have been very concerned about Senator Tom Daschle's comments last week as the pressure to go to war was building. Well, leave it to Rush to put things in the proper perspective. "Who the hell gives a rat's rear end what Tom Daschle thinks about the way the war is going? He is the freaking Senate minority leader! He has absolutely no say nor role in these events!"

See how the calm peaceful tone of Rush always puts things in perspective?

A Second Front

For those of you interested in Communist History, the Second Front was a constant cry during the Second World War. The Communist Party U.S.A., which was essentially a tool of the Soviet Union's Foriegn Policy, called on the United States and its allies to invade Europe, opening a second front, and relieving the pressure on the Soviet Union and the Eastern Front. In September 24, 1942, Earl Browder, President of the Communist Party U.S.A. stated, "The war and the opening of the Second Front now is now partisan issue, and no group can make political capital out of it for themselves. It is an issue of life and death for the nation, and is being supported by a growing majority of the people of all parties."

Well, David Horowitz, no stranger to Communist Ideology, is now calling for a second front. His article at Townhall today is entitled "The Second Front." But instead of calling for a second front against a foreign enemy, Horowitz is calling for a second front against his own fellow citizens who happen to think differently than he does. He states, "It would be unwise not to take the threat posed by this organized attack on American policy and American security seriously. The misnamed “anti-war” movement is led and organized by leftist vanguards who proclaim their solidarity with terrorist states, including North Korea and Cuba, and terrorist organizations in the Middle East."

He follows the standard canard of the right currently. Step one, establish that some protestors are potential terrorists, distubers of the peace, or morons. He does this by pointing to a molotov cocktail confiscated in San Francisco, and a sign held at a rally saying "Support the Troops when they Shoot Their officers." And it's very difficult if not impossible to defend such actions. People who do such thing are plain out wrong.

But it is step two where Horowitz really asks us to make a jump. Step two, establish that because some protesters are suspect, all protesters are suspect. Thus, in order to protect us from the depredations of a few, he would end free speech for all. In order to protect America, he would abandon those things that make America a place worth living in.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Get in on the Ground Floor

For those interested in giving the Statue of Liberty back to France, you can own the domain name. Link via This Modern World.

The K Chronicles

The K Chronicles is a funny brilliant strip by a young black musician cartoonist named Keith Knight. His strip is not overly political, which is perhaps why it's missed some of the attention it's deserved. On the other hand, his strip does a lot to dispel black stereotypes in my mind.

So go out and by Keith Knight merchandise immediately--it's really cool.

On the Peace Protestors

This commentary by Tom Tomorrow on the war is dead on. He is reacting to a discussion from Meet the Press.

MR. RUSSERT: And when we see pictures tonight of American men being executed, Michael Elliot, it’s very difficult to have any tolerance for people who are saying, "Wait a minute," although that is what America is all about.

And why is that, exactly, Mr. Russert?

Why is it "very difficult to have any tolerance" for the people who never wanted to send American soldiers into this battle to begin with?

In the exceedingly unlikely event that the anti-war movement had won the day, those servicemen would still be alive this morning.

It all unfolds with ritualized familiarity. The people who clamor for war downplay or ignore the obvious consequence of war--that human beings on both sides are going to lose their lives. Until the dying starts, and then their anger is focused on those who opposed the war from the start.


How to Feel

We are at war, in case anybody out there didn't get the memo. Right now, on the other side of the world, United States Armed Forces and Iraqi National Guard forces are battling. And right now I'm at work, hardly paying attention. How does that work?

Ms. Kathleen Parker, commented on this phenomenon in her weekly column. She states "What was war like before real-time live feeds? How would George Patton have behaved with Wolf Blitzer holding a mike and 200 million Americans listening in? If there's no one there to film it, is there still a war? Without an interviewer, are there heroes?

We watch with a mixture of awe and angst, punching buttons on an electronic device that provides new angles and fresh commentary, all of which leaves me longing for a cleansing tub of soothing oils. The feeling isn't that I shouldn't be watching this, but that I shouldn't be doing this.

. . . The extraordinary so neatly juxtaposed against the ordinary robs the breath and weakens the knees. Horror transmutes to banality when perceived through the lens of artifice. How did we come to this, we should not stop asking.

It's a hard question. Are we doing our duty if we watch five-hours of news a day, following the war? How about if we just check on it every so often at MSNBC? Is that enough?

Sunday, March 23, 2003

New Quote

New quote for today--hope you are having a great weekend.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Multi Purpose Picture

Here is a pictorial cartoon that can mean so many things--just scroll down till you find a caption you like.

1. "Ha, isn't that just like the Democrats, always falling down?"

2. "Oh those foolish Republicans, they can't stay on their feet."

3. "This ice is as cold as a Liberal's heart."

4. "Only a Conservative would stand there and laugh instead of helping."

5. "As a Libertarian, I salute your right to fall on your tuckus."

6. Can't come up with anything for the Reform party--they'd be lucky if their situation were only as bad as this one.

7. "Hooray for our troops." (This doesn't have anything to do with the picture, it's just a nice sentiment).

8. "All will face the wrath of Bryantor when the time comes for doom."


A good interview with Paul Berman today at Salon, comparing and contrasting Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin to Hitler and Stalin. These are not new comparisons--read a book a couple of years ago talking about Fascism and comparing it to some Modern Islamic movements. The comparisons hold for Stalinism and some other versions of communism. All three movements actively reject liberalism (in the broader sense of the word). All three have a mythology that explains the future and the world around them.

He says that Bush is right in his diagnosis of the problem, but he's been unable to articulate his point of view. He goes to bat for our efforts in Afghanistan, saying, "In Afghanistan, everybody sneers at the achievements of the United States and its allies because we see the warlords in the provinces, we see the extreme suffering, we see all the things that haven't been done. But what has been done has really been quite magnificent. A hideous tyranny was overthrown, a new government was established in more or less the way that any liberal democrat would advise: Afghans were consulted from around the country, more or less democratic councils led to the forming of a new government with a new leader for Afghanistan who is not a warlord or a corrupt figure or a friendly religious fanatic but who is in fact a man of modern liberal democratic ideals."

Anyway I highly recommend this article to everyone--go read it--Salon's a bit of a hassle, but this is worth it.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Comments by Robert Byrd

But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.

Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have isolated ourselves.

I have a lot of respect for Senator Byrd's conduct over the last couple of months. Unlike others, he has not presented a divided face to the American people, being for war one day and against it the next. Still, I hope he's wrong in his assessment here, and I think there is a chance he is. A quick American victory will get many of the nations who now oppose us back. A concerted effort rebuilding Iraq will show our good faith. While this strategy does have risks (risks which Senator Byrd and others have pointed out), now that it's been settled on, hopefully we can bring about success.

Like Sand Through the Hourglass

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said--"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart . . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Ozymandius by Percy Bryce Shelly

He [President Bush] is pursuing a Pax Americana. This peace will not be the false peace that flows from appeasement, but the true peace that flows from victory. The conduct of this war should make America proud. It is fought reluctantly and with every possible care for civilians.

But the peace will be George Bush's best legacy. For despite the bleating of the left that this war was fought "for oil," America will not touch a single oil well except to put out the fires and hand over the oil to the Iraqi people. And in the wake of victory, America will help to create the first democracy in the Arab world. This is the first step in tugging the region into the 21st century, and thereby extinguishing the terrorist wildfire.

Pax Americana, Mona Charen

I hope Ms. Charen is right in her assesment of the future, and I think it is up to us as citizens to support this vision of the future.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Protests in Tallahassee

For those curious, there was a downtown protest today in Tallahassee.

I went and talked among the crowds, (or three or four people, depending on how you look at it). Alex, one of the organizars, was tired from staying up all night making signs and a peace ball. Apparently the ball was 8 feet wide and 7 feet tall, but the police said they had to get rid of it. I asked him what he would say to the soldiers, and he said, "They're in a rough spot, they really are. I really feel for them. They have to carry out orders, that are really questionable." Most of the other protesters I talked to expressed similar sentiments.

The cops were on hand, but apart from two dogs who didn't get on so well, there was no violence or civil disobedience that I saw. Just people who don't agree with this war and are expressing their opinions. That is what America is all about.

Empty Wallet Economics

A couple of weeks ago we presented our first ever economic theory, which we call 'Empty Wallet Electronics." I've made reference to it off and on since then. Well we are now happy to present this theory as a JPG for you to download and print and peruse at your leisure. It will appear to the left underneath the links as well, so that's good news.

Here It Is

And as a special bonus, here is a pictorial representation (which is a complicated and snooty way to say picture) of the original napkin this theory was formulated upon.

Although crude, you can clearly see the words "Empty Wallet Economics" down in the bottom right, and also a crude drawing of at "Gries Straight Line." You can also see evidence that I am a messy eater. Enjoy.
Symbolic Gestures

Hey all you people avoiding wine, or perhaps pouring it into the sewer, perhaps you'd like to consider these words of Alan Reynolds.

"I don't see why anyone would single-out French winemakers for financial punishment, but the boycott may not be able to accomplish even that dubious objective. The reason should be obvious: Any French wine you see in U.S. stores has already been bought and paid for by U.S. distributors and retailers. The French have our money, and we have their wine. Who is actually being threatened with a boycott, at least for the foreseeable future, are U.S. wine merchants.

Still you may not want to pay too much attention to Mr. Reynolds, given his insufficient hatred of the French, as evidenced by the following paragraph.

. . . I don't see how people manage to get angry at an entire nation, and particularly at only one of many nations opposing the Iraq war (if the Germans had a U.N. veto don't you think they'd have used it?). Many Americans who are enormously fond of President Bush have, like the French, worried that he may be jumping into a big, nasty tar pit. If the war goes well, U.S. skeptics and the French government will end up looking too timid and a bit foolish."

One wonders if he has heard of the plan to give the Statue of Liberty back to the French.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


One thing about Bush, he's punctual. Shows up right on time with the bombs.

What I Really Think

I don't think this war was necessary but I do think it was inevitable. The moment Osama bin Ladin's proxies attacked the United States, Iraq was a target, and probably before. That said, I'm glad we tried to go through the United Nations, and I'm glad for all the talk about liberating Iraq and improving the lives of the Iraqi people. Perhaps that talk will all end up being nonsense, but I hope not.

Now the War is here. So it's no longer time to discuss whether or not this is a good war or a smart war, but to focus on the after effects of this war. I have every confidence in our armed forces. They will do the job and do it well, and there's no reason for me to second guess battle plans or strategies. But the after war is something else entirely. We have to live up to our promises if we are going to forge the future we want. Thomas L. Friedman, commenting on this subject, stated;

"Defeating Saddam is necessary but not sufficient to achieve those ends, which are a more progressive Iraq and a world with fewer terrorists and terrorist suppliers dedicated to destroying the U.S., so Americans will feel safer at home and abroad. We cannot achieve the latter without the former. Which means we must bear any burden and pay any price to make Iraq into the sort of state that fair-minded people across the world will see and say: "You did good. You lived up to America's promise."

To maximize our chances of doing that, we need to patch things up with the world. Because having more allied support in rebuilding Iraq will increase the odds that we do it right, and because if the breach that has been opened between us and our traditional friends hardens into hostility, we will find it much tougher to manage both Iraq and all the other threats down the road.

Something to think about it, for those who are eager for us to go it alone in the future.

Some Thoughts

The war will likely either start today or tomorrow--I guess it is supposed to start at 8:00 pm, eastern standard time, making the end of the 48 hours, but I would be surprised if they held exactly to that. Here are some thoughts, the first suggested by Brandy from President Bush.

"In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terrorist states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations. And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self defense. It is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now."
President George W. Bush

And here from Pat Buchanan, in an article today;

". . . .once Saddam is dead or gone and Iraq is disarmed, the Bush Doctrine -- "We will not let the world's worst leaders threaten us with the world's worst weapons" -- seems to require new ultimatums to Iran and North Korea.

Who will be with us in these wars? Will Tony Blair, after his near-death experience, be up for fighting another war? Where does the last superpower go after Baghdad? Those questions are ahead of this nation and this president.

But today's imperative is that the United States win this war we are in with as little bloodshed as is consistent with swift and certain victory, and make good on our commitment to liberate the Iraqis. The time for debate will come again. It is not now. Now, we should pray for our brave men and women, and commander in chief. God bless and keep America.

We'll get back to being snarky and funny later on, but for a little bit, let's consider our troops and wish them well and pray for them if so inclined.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Another Well Thought Out Scheme

Here's a good idea. Instead of mucking around with Freedom Fries or Liberty Toast, why not just send back the Statue of Liberty? That was a gift from France, but perhaps one that has outlived it's usefulness, and it would show all those French what we think of them. This may seem bizarre and pointless to you, but not to Josh Wander. At his website, he advocates just this course of action, with this bizarre cartoon.

I guess that's supposed to be funny, but if it is, I just don't see it. Maybe I'm a dope.

Of course it's a nice message as well to immigrants coming to America. Stop coming here; go to France.

A Rebuttal

Earlier today, we had a comment from Caleb. It's down the sheet--you can scroll down and see it, if you don't believe me. Although I don't know why you would doubt me; I'm very believable. Anyway we have a rebuttal from the Brandy, most brilliant in all the land.

Commentary to 'Caleb's comments: its apparent that he has NOT studied war. One does not even have to go that far back; study the US soldiers of WWII. These were boys who were all but anti-war, drafted at the last minute, 'soldiers of democracy' that Hitler 'knew' he could defeat on the same thought process as Caleb. . . However fighters fueled by freedom, honour, and a semblance of thought (NOT generals...Normandy and Utah beach are hard evidence of this as MANY of the officers where killed and troops/ young boys really, took command and fought an amazing fight) are the ones that history tells us, win the wars/ NOT generals.

Well, to be fair to Caleb, a war he might have brought up to counter the World War II example was Vietnam, where the situation on the ground was unfocused and chaotic at best. I personally think you need both solid soldiers who know their business and who love this country, and smart generals with solid well thought out objectives.

More to come from Brandy.

A Well Oiled Machine

Another comment by that commentator of commentators, Caleb.

How many of you play video games? Starcraft anyone? How many of you have played a game or two online? How many of you have been trounced by a cocky little 8 year old who held you under the boot of his massive but inferior zerg forces while he cackled evilly? If you have you should have learned this important lesson. Extremely powerful troops, even well trained troops do not win wars. Generals do. Now we have men weaned on the suffering death of past massive conflicts to guide us. To make sure that every American life is met with maximum yield, and that our sacrifice will not be, militarily, in vain. What happens when You get to be general by pointing lasers at people on training fields during frequent exercises, and dropping virtual bombs from high tech simulators? Do we want the 10 year old video tyrant of today to be running our armed forces tomorrow without the benefit of witnessing the terror of war first hand?

A military is like a car in Alabama. You leave it up on blocks too long and it falls apart. We must have experienced officers. It is our duty as Americans to stomp petty countries beneath our boot in order to preserve our military might, and necessary discipline.

Well, maybe I should tone that down a bit. This is why we police the world. This is why we still have the power to help those in need. In short, we have to fight someone. why not an evil dictator. Would you rather we invaded Canada. I know a few Canadians who would.

I'm not sure that giving our future Generals a taste of warfare is a good reason to invade Iraq, but I do see the logic in it. It goes along with the logic that each generation must experience war in order to hate it.

On the other hand, they do make everybody read "All Quiet on the Western Front" in high school.

A New Era in Repressive Crackdowns is Possible

I am particularly pessimistic this week. The day the war starts--which will be tomorrow night I guess, there are plans to have rallys and non-Violent Civil Disobedience. Some are already talking about taking it to the next level, which would include vandalism, and possibly Sabotage. I don't think anybody who reads this blog would be considering such an act, but if you are, please slap yourself for me.

The threat however is serious enough that David Horowitz (formerly a radical Leftist himself) is encouraging the FBI to go after all potential Sabotaurs. Horowitz also complains that protests on the day the ground war starts (Saturday maybe?) will tie up police forces that could be used to fight terrorists.

He states, "Congress should also look to reactivating sedition laws that would meet the threat posed by the deadly seriousness of the anti-American Fifth Column. These activists are not playing games. They have dedicated their lives to the service of Communist regimes and anti-American causes. They are the fruit of more than thirty years of leftist attacks on this country. Now the international terrorists have provided them with their dream: the war has finally come home."

This is just what America needs, a wake up call. America needs to realize that the government should be allowed to do whatever it wants without the interference of the people. Clamping down on the free speech rights of those who would protest this war is necessary. And we can trust President Bush and his cronys to use the power to silence their political enemies correctly.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Martin Sheen

On the eve of the war we get an article in the L.A. Times by Martin Sheen, in which he talks about the responsibilities of Citizenship.

I am not the president; instead, I hold an even higher office, that of citizen of the United States. For most of us in this country, citizenship is a birthright. However, this does not cloak the citizen with a life free of responsibility.

On the contrary, America comes with a price, often a heavy one, that we should each gladly pay. Though duties pedestrian and noble, from paying taxes to voting, are obvious tasks incumbent upon citizens, often something more is at stake -- as evidenced by the rows of white gravestones near such places as Normandy. It is the obligation of all citizens to participate in the affairs of state. Whether we support or criticize actions taken in our name, we need to lend voice to our findings. When done respectfully, sincerely and soberly, this can be a profound act of patriotism.

This is stirring. And nice to read on the eve of this up-coming war.

New Website

New Website there on the left. I should have added this a long time ago but didn't because I'm a dope. Today's cartoon was kind of hilarious. Check it out.

War Not Here, But On It's Way

Apparently they are going to gave Saddam and his advisors 72 hours or something to flee the country.

I don't know about you, but I'm definately going to be holding my breath. Or perhaps I'll hold someone else's breath. Less strain that way.

War Coming Soon, not yet Here

Sorry, turns out Saddam gets one last chance to flee the country, along with his counselors. I don't know about you, but I'm holding my breath.

War is Here

In case you haven't heard and you almost certainly have, the war is on it's way. From MSNBC, we read, "The United States declared Monday that the diplomatic window “has closed” for a peaceful resolution to the Iraq showdown and that President Bush will address the nation later on Monday. At the United Nations, the United States and its allies withdrew a resolution that would have paved the way for U.N. authorization for war, having failed to persuade key members to support the measure."

Bombs will start raining on Baghdad soon I would imagine--they might be falling already. We are at war now.

I feel sick to my stomach--but I suspect I would even if nothing had happened--feeling kind of lousy today.

Let's all pray everything goes as Bush and his advisors have predicted. A quick and easy victory, followed by a solid effort rebuilding the nation into a free society.

On a side note the Market is up over 200 points. So that's good news.

New Week

Well it's a new week here for Make me a Commentator!!! I suppose it's probably a new week for most people. But I held a staff meeting this morning--my first in a while. And I told myself; "This week has got to be different. No more puff pieces. No more pretending to have a staff. This week I want to see solid hard-hitting analysis." So I think I really motivated myself. Keep tuned to see what I come up with.

Also tell your friends about this great website.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

All Gone to look for America

Kind of feeling conflicted thougths tonight. Watched the protests yesterday (if you want to watch them, check out C-SPAN). They didn't make a lot of sense, I'm afraid. Heard one protester stating that America should abandon war forever. There's a good policy. Heard another guy denying that Jews have no right to return to the Land of Isreal--apparently the Jews should leave and give the land back to the Palestinian. Another sound and easily implemented policy.

Lots of attacks on George W. Bush and Tony Blair. Some on Ariel Sharon as well. Not very many on Saddam Hussein.

Then I read David Limbaugh's article today.

Limbaugh states, "Defending one's right to protest is celebrating America's freedoms. But the act of dissing America while exercising those freedoms is not pro-American." Dissing America? What is America, Mr. Limbaugh?

Is it President George W. Bush? Is it his policies? If one opposes George W. Bush, is one opposing America?

So I find myself defending the patriotism of people I find foolish. I do believe that there is a solid case against the war. I just wish people would make it.

A Well Thought Out Plan

Came across this article, arguing that California should succeed from the Union. On the face of it it's a good idea. The state is clearly on a different ideological page than the rest of the nation. They have tough environmental laws, they've legalized marijuana, and they've declared Abortion legal forever. Heck, they are so liberal out there, even as the rest of the nation voted Republican, California elected the straight democratic ticket.

And the numbers add up. California is the worlds 7th largest economy. They got food production and a lot of industry.

But it does smack of giving up. It is saying that the differences between us are so great that we can't get along, and trying to get along will be futile. I believe that the things that draw us together are still greater than the things that separate us. We all want to see this nation strong and great and just.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Protest against the War

Watching the protest against the war in DC on C-Span. All I can say is I'm really really depressed. Other than a cool song by Patti Smith, all I heard was largely nonsense. There is a good case against the war, but these people aren't making it. Their intellectural blinders condition them to look at the US a certain way, such that no war America involves itself in can be positive.

Good song by Patti Smith though, who probably wouldn't agree with my assessment. I'll write more on this later on.

Your Weekly Rush

"This keeps being raised as a red flag - and don't sidetrack me here by pointing out that Blix hasn't found the Scuds ABC mentions. Even if he did find them, he'd call Saddam and tell him to cover them up."

It's hard to listen to Rush these days. Let's face it, he's bloodthirsty. He's furious that we haven't already started this war. So he's reduced to telling his listeners that Hans Blix would actually purposefully cover up evidence of illegal weaponry. Does anybody find this claim credible?

There are those who will point out the London Times story that claimed a cover up by Hans Blix. Apparently Iraq has a model airplane.

See--that's the kind of technology we have to fear facing Iraq. Of course it sounds a lot scarier when you call it an "Unarmed Drone." So that's what the right has scrupulously done, in an effort to discredit Hans Blix and the inspection process so we can go to war sooner.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Answering Questions

TERRY MORAN: May I ask, what went wrong that so many governments and people around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly, but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?

THE PRESIDENT: I think if you remember back prior to the resolution coming out of the United Nations last fall, I suspect you might have asked a question along those lines -- how come you can't get anybody to support your resolution. If I remember correctly, there was a lot of doubt as to whether or not we were even going to get any votes, much -- well, we'd get our own, of course. And the vote came out 15 to nothing, Terry. And I think you'll see when it's all said and done, if we have to use force, a lot of nations will be with us.

From last weeks press conference we see this exchange. Since then Terry Moran apparently commented that all the white house press corps were like zombies, in that they loved eating brains. No, actually he meant that they were like Zombies in that they sat there stupefied, and asked the president really dopey questions.

Well, Brent Bozell stepped up to argue that a All Zombie Press Corps would be a good thing. He is offended that President Bush is getting such difficult questions. It's not like back when we had President Clinton, who, I think we all agree, got asked questions about his sexual life for two years. Yep, just because are about to go to war, this is no time for the press corps to do their jobs.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Still Life

Got a really cool book on Political Cartoons yesterday from a friend of the site (A distinctively very cool person). The book is called Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists and is edited by Ted Rall, who autographed the book. So it's very cool. Here's a Ted Rall cartoon.

This one isn't in the book--too recent, but it is funny. So check it out--it's cool.

We All Shine On!

Noel Gallagher, half of the brothers Gallagher who make up the group Oasis (that group that used to put out good songs, but then, for reasons unknown, decided to put out a lot of crap (although I haven't heard the latest album, so maybe i'm wrong (still nothing they've done has matched their first album))) stated to the Berlin Press, as reported in NME "Whenever there is a conservative, bible waving half-wit ruling in the White House – whether it's Bush, his father or Reagan – there is war. . . . Protests are a bloody waste of time, the war will go ahead anyway."

So there you have it.

Sail on, O Ship of State

Not much posting today because the system was not doing very well. But I promise to be brilliant later on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The Further Adventures of Ben Shapiro, Boy Prognosticator

The latest issue just hit the streets, and it's red hot! In it, Ben, our hero, takes on Pat Buchannan. It turns out that Pat Buchannan has made some anti-Semitic comments in the past. Oh No!!

Wait a second, everybody knows that. But Shapiro isn't done. It turns out that Buchannan is opposed to free trade. See Buchannan has the ludicrous notion that if you take factories and move them overseas or south of the border, it might be bad for American Workers. With that kind of bizarre thinking, Shapiro is willing to classify him as as a dinosaur.

Buchannan also expresses an un-American concern over the large number of immigrants in the US. Well, Ben has an answer to that. "In his book, "The Death of the West," Buchanan writes that Mexican immigrants are problematic because they are "not only from another culture, but of another race," and that "different races are far more difficult to assimilate than different cultures." This is plain un-American. The color of your skin or the racial background of your parents should never disqualify you from becoming a true American. This is the most diverse nation on Earth, even if Buchanan would prefer that it not be." Stirring words from young Ben. Maybe he should share those thoughts with Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, and Paul Craig Roberts.

Buchannan is a particularly dangerous foe for Young Ben because he appears to have shape shifting powers. One moment he's a conservative dinosaur who doesn't represent modern
conservatives and the next he's a wily liberal cleverly teaming up with Socialist Lenora Fulani in order to run a political campaign into the ground.

Thank goodness Shapiro is out there fighting for justice.

Safety First

The New York Times has a story today about the city of Baghdad as it prepares for invasion. Next to the story, they run this picture of a guy standing happily in a sea of gas canisters.

In the first 48 hours of the war, the Pentagon, following the Shock and Awe battle theory plans to drop 3,000 precision guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours.

All I'm saying is I hope that happy looking guy finds some other place to stand, once the war starts.

A Clarification

We revealed yesterday that the Adjective Freedom was to replace the Adjective French in most cases (as in the case of Freedom Fries for example). We have been requested to clarifiy that in the phrase "French Bastards," the adjective French will remain. Please do not begin replacing it with Freedom (or even worse, Republican).

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Good News, Everybody

In an effort to simplify American Life, the adjective French is to be replaced with the Adjective Freedom. Anything positive with the adjective french will be replaced with freedom. Our own United States Congress has led the way, changing French Fries to Freedom Fries and French Toast to Freedom Toast.

French Dressing will further be called Freedom Dressing, and French Kissing will be called Freedom Kissing. French Vanilla will be called Freedom Vanilla.

High schools will now offer Spanish, German, Latin and Freedom.

This will show our feelings towards Iraq, and will bring all Americans together.

Reality TV On the Way Out

According to Matt Towery, Reality TV is on the way out. Towery also says that Survivor is the first reality TV show, so maybe you can't take his words at face value. Before Survivor there was both the Real World and Road Rules on MTV, as well as other shows.

You see it all goes back to the Gong Show. The Gong Show revealed that people would happily humiliate themselves for the chance to be on TV. It also revealed that such shows eliminated a lot of the overhead. No writers for example. No Actors. They are very cheap. I think even if their ratings slip, reality tv is here to stay because of it's cheapness.

Towery does bring up the forthcoming real "Beverly Hillbillies" show. "One show that's still in the planning stages has already earned a tongue-lashing on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller gave an impassioned speech to his colleagues deploring a proposed show that would move a family of real "hillbillies" out to Beverly -- Hills, that is, in California. You know, swimming pools, movie stars. Miller, proud of his own mountain heritage, correctly pointed out the denigrating and pitiful quality of such drivel." Towery's right on this one--I can't believe they are even considering it.

I don't know. Reality shows don't interest me truth to tell. But even if they did, I wouldn't watch them, for about the same reason I wouldn't have gone to the Roman Coliseum to see Christians torn apart by Lions.

Empty Wallet Economics Spreading

Yesterday, for those who missed it, we unveiled a new economic theory--Empty Wallet Economics. Read down to get a full explanation. But already we see the influence of this theory spreading. Look at today's article by Cal Thomas.

"The point has been made - and not just by his critics - that the president has not sufficiently rallied the public to his cause. President Lyndon Johnson thought he could provide "guns" to win the ill-conceived Vietnam War and "butter" - a sound economy. President Bush has yet to call for sacrifice or any type of investment by the people - other than military forces - for his grand undertaking."

It is a concern that I suppose all American's have. So perhaps Mr. Thomas is questioning whether we should reconsider enacting a tax cut program that will cost the Government $674 billion over the next 10 years, particularly when nearly half of it is his plan to make dividend income tax free?

No. Don't be silly. If we don't give the wealthiest American's huge tax cuts, then haven't the terrorists really won?

Mr. Thomas proposes, instead, that all Americans bear the burden for this war by buying savings bonds. Although he is concerned that the revenue generated by our purchases will go to "wasteful and unneeded programs," he does think that buying war bonds will forge a unity between the American People and their president that will help us stay the course. It's not that I'm opposed to buying war bonds; I just think it's foolish to ignore some of the larger issues. After all, as Empty Wallet Economics predicts, "Once you spend the money, you have less money."

For those interested in buying a bond to support the war, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2003

The United Nations

Some thoughts on the United Nations.

"One is that the Bush administration has, without understanding what it was doing, created a situation in which the majority of nations see the UN as the only institution that has the possibility of checking American power and limiting the consequences of American unilateralism.

In the future, shifting coalitions of the willing are likely to work through the UN and other major international institutions and use the unprecedented means the Internet provides for mass mobilization to counterbalance or contain the United States on many economic and politico-military issues.
William Pfaff, Boston Globe

"Remember when we were told that the war would have to start by February, to get it over with before the desert turned too hot? Then, as diplomatic resistance to war mounted, nature's deadline was put off until later in the spring.

On March 7, facing a French and Russian veto in the Security Council, the U.S. did another backpedal. It amended its supposedly "final" resolution to include a deadline of March 17. All the amendment says is that Iraq must show it is disarming in good faith by the 17th. But most Security Council members, including the French and Russians, say Iraq is already disarming in good faith. So come the 17th, the Security Council will remain as paralyzed as ever. The amended resolution has no real teeth. It is another U.S. surrender.

But every time the Bush administration caves in to diplomatic pressure, the White House puts out the story that it's more determined than ever to go to war. And the U.S. media dutifully buy it. The media heralded the March 17 date as a drop-dead deadline, an absolute proof that Bush will indeed have his heavenly war, come hell, high water, or UN veto. Of course, they may be right. But if you look at what the administration does, not what it says, the evidence points in the opposite direction.
Ira Chernus, Common Dreams

Nice to note that the United Nations may not be as useless as the Conservatives often portray it.

Brandy Chooses a Side!!!

So I have chosen a side!!!

The truth is, for me, it comes down to do I trust my President. This is a republic (as much as NPR wants to say we're a democracy...we are not, we elect officials and then THEY do the governing), so do I trust Pres. Bush to handle the position of safety of this nation? I closely listened to his press conference last night, and it comes down to -I DO trust him. I think he is handling this soberly, I think he is giving Iraq EVERY opportunity to disarm. I think he knows things we don't as to why he feels Saddam is a 'threat to our nation'.

As logical as I try to be, it comes down to a 'feeling' (kind of like you 'feeling/believing' that [President] Hickey is a prophet...there is no proof of that, you simply watch, listen, pray and then belive). Well, I've watched and listened and I 'belive' Bush takes it seriously when he says 'my job is to protect this nation, I take that seriously'.

So, if at the end of this Bush says we go to war -I back him.

For those unaware, President Gordon B. Hinckley is the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormons), which church both Brandy and your humble narrator belong to.

New Economic Theory

Yes, a first for us here at "Make me a Commentator!!!" We are presenting an actual Economic theory.

I've been doing some research on Supply Side Economics, and came across this passage, "So where did the supply-side ideas actually come from? From Laffer and Bartley, developed over a series of dinner conversations at Michael 1, a famous restaurant near Wall Street. It was here, scribbling on napkins, that Wanniski showed Bartley the magical effects of tax cuts."

So I decided I would put this method into action. I gathered a supply of dinner napkins and headed to a local restaurant, where they informed me they had dinner napkins and I was not allowed to bring mine in. Temporarily foiled I went in and enjoyed a nice dinner. After getting home from the restaurant I discovered something very interesting. I had less money than I had had before paying for my dinner. The money in my wallet had significantly decreased.

Well I was so intrigued by this discovery I determined to immediately put it to the test. So I got in my car and drove to a different restaurant to see if the principle would hold. After enjoying a very nice expensive dinner (involving truffles I think), I went out to my car and checked my wallet. Once again it was substantially emptier than it had been before dinner. Thus I postulated what I call "Empty Wallet Economics." The first postulate of Empty Wallet Economics is that "If you spend money, you will have less money."

I tested my theory in a variety of ways, buying expensive products, and books and CD's and so on, as well as eating out regularly, and I determined that my first postulate was entirely correct. I also developed a secondary postulate of my theory, which is "If you don't pay your electricity bill, you will be in the dark." More on this later.

But getting back to my key postulate, "If you spend money, you will have less money," I graphed it to get a general feel for how this principle would apply. I took as my base a wallet with $10.00 in it, and went out and bought various objects. I graphed the results below, in what I am sure will take it's place alongside the famous "Laffer Curve."

As you can see the more money I spent the less money I had, until I had spent the entire $10.00. This clearly has micro-economic applications; if you like paying rent, make sure not to spend too much money.

How does "Empty Wallet Economics" apply to national policy? Well it would suggest that if the United States Government has a limited amount of money to spend accomplishing it's tasks, then it needs to balance that money carefully. If the United States, for example, were to continue spending a lot of money domestically while engaging in an ongoing war against terrorism, while simultaneously giving away it's income in the form of tax breaks, well, it might not have enough money at the end of the day to accomplish its goals.

One way around this is to borrow money. We all know about credit cards and how they can extend the spending power of an empty wallet. Well the Government has similar mechanisms, but like credit cards they are problematic.

Another possibility is to cut social spending dramatically. Let's be blunt--President Bush and other conservatives would love to see this. They know, as we all do, that shutting down school lunch programs, or Head Start, or the Environmental Protection Agency (to name three programs that receive federal money) would be horribly unpopular. On the other hand lowering taxes is very popular. So instead of openly admitting their plans to shut down these programs, they have adopted a "fait accompli" strategy. They lower taxes and slowly starve those programs to death. Easy, efficient, and largely fool proof. What Democratic candidate for anything is going to talk openly about raising taxes?

Not very many.

Anyway later on today we will hear from Brandy--and possibly some other updates as well--stay tuned.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Your Weekly Rush

Under the heading Illustrating Absurdity . . ., Rush discussed his support for the Sharpton candidacy. Sharpton appeared on Hannity and the wussiest liberal Fox could find this last week. Rush, commenting on that, says, "Colmes asks Sharpton, "You want Rush Limbaugh's endorsement?" to which Sharpton responds, "No, I didn't aks [sic] anyone like that endorsing me." Of course he didn't "aks" for it, but I gave it to him sincerely out of my desire to help the second black man to run for the Democrat nomination to succeed."

So Rush sincerely wants to see the Democrats run a divisive candidate like Sharpton? I suppose he does. And if there was a movement for the Democrats to run a water cooler against President Bush, I'm confident that Rush would support that issue to.

Does Rush "sincerely" believe that Sharpton would make a good president? Just curious.

What's damaging is the idea that Rush puts forth that somehow the Democratic party owes it to Sharpton to give him the nomination. Because the Democratic party believes itself the party of the black people apparently any black man who wants the Democratic nomination should be able to get it. If that makes sense, please contact me and explain it.

OK, I Suck

What do you expect, I'm a Vampire.

New Albums

The new Mark Rae album, Rae Road, is quite good.

Friday, March 07, 2003


For those interested in Lysistrata, the posting is down near the bottom--I posted it on Monday the 3rd. And you should go check Elayne Riggs website--she's interesting, and she linked to me, so I'm in favor of her.

Boy, was that awkwardly worded.

Anyway hope you are all doing wonderful.

Clones destroy God

According to Raëlians (ever wonder where they came up with that name?) leader, Mr. Raël, "If you can clone a human being, there is no God and no soul." Ah. But what are all these followers you have worshiping you, Mr. Raël? Well, I suppose everybody needs something to occupy their minds.

Chuck Colson, commenting on the Raelians, stated "the Raëlians are a metaphor, an incredibly powerful one portraying in living color the deadly logic of cloning. Cloning, you see, makes us our own god. We create ourselves in the image we choose. Raël may be mad, but he is entirely logical."

I am no theologian and I have my own reasons to be skeptical of cloning, but I have a hard time understanding why the ability to Clone proves there is no God. If God can put a soul into a fetus in a mothers womb (whenever and however that happens), than what stops him from putting a soul into a fertilized egg in a test tube? Do you think the glass stops him? "Oh no, I can't put a soul in this baby. Curse those Raëlians, they knew my one weakness. Test tubes." Somehow I don't think that's the way it works.


This is from an anonymous person.

"You may have noticed that many of our beloved stop signs have been "upgraded" to include a new word: "WAR" (in bad handwriting, no less). Maybe in other cities too, but Tallahassee has experience an semi-organized epidemic of spray painted Stop signs. Today I noticed a police officer removing the graffiti. I had to ask my self (as I do every time I see such a Stop sign): Is this truly an effective way to stop a war you disagree with? Apparently breaking the law is okay when you REALLY want to prevent war."

In truth, Anonymous has it dead on. This is a stupid way to protest the work and create extra work for cops--what's the point?

Also changed the quote at the top, in case you haven't noticed.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

New Literary Technique

Like all Americans, I'm constantly on the prowl for new ways to get my brilliant points across. That's why I was so excited to read Ross McKenzie's latest article in which he recounts a fictional conversation between a protester and a sensible American patriot. Among the brilliant words he puts into his Liberal Dupes mouth "BUSH SUCKS," "AMERICA IS THE WORLD'S GREATEST THREAT TO PEACE," and "MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR." You can see that MacKenzie is committed to presenting the anti war point of view fairly. But just for balance, wouldn't it be nice to imagine a coffee shop, . . . no, wait a minute, no true America would ever go into a coffee shop. Lets say a Bar. And listen into a pro-war demonstrator and his counterpart.


Yes, and thank goodness the US was there to supply him with much of the tools necessary to accomplish that goal. And at any rate, there are monsters ruling countries all over the world, are you really comfortable with the US going around and toppling them all?


Well, look at how we are treating North Korea. Can't really blame him. But he hasn't got them, and inspectors are making it difficult if not impossible for him to continue work. Containement has worked.


Then how did they find those missiles? And more to the point, why did the US agree to an inspection period if they had no intention of letting it play out? If we cut the inspections short, the UN will be rendered irrelevant, and the Middle East will get the message that the US has declared the Middle East it's personal playground.


No that's not what Islam is all about. Islamic leaders in this country and abroad have condemned terrorism for years, and yet they still have to answer why they don't fight terrorism. Dr. Agha Saeed, National Chair of the American Muslim Alliance, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, stated “These attacks are against both divine and human laws and we condemn them in the strongest terms. The Muslim Americans join the nation in calling for swift apprehension and stiff punishment of the perpetrators, and offer our sympathies to the victims and their families.” We have a fairly large population of muslims right here in the US, the majority of which are from Southeast Asia or were born in this country (and largely African-American).


Ok, that's a little weak but makes as much sense as ending with "MAKE LOVE NOT WAR."

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Lunchtime Musings

Right now I am working my way through Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News which looks like this:

Well, after reading maybe a third of it, I am coming to a conclusion--Alterman's not much better than Bernard Goldman or Ann Coulter. All he's doing is doing Ann Coulter in reverse--attacking Conservative columnists for their fabrications and what not. That's fun, up to a point, but what good is it?

Liberals can throw insults are Conservatives all day long, and Conservatives can throw them back. Both sides can say, "Well the other side has done worse then we have." or "They started it." Both do say that, in fact.

That's why I am writing a book to compete with the Coulters and the Altermans of the world. It's going to be called, "Why Don't You All Shut Up!" And it's going to be about how we as Americans can maybe discuss issues, even very divisive issues, without having to attack or destroy each other. Look for it soon (and by soon I mean later) at all good booksellers.


From an article by Brent Bozell on the anti war movement.

"Isn't it amazing that liberals, who are perpetually congratulating themselves for their unparalleled sophistication and their ability to corner the market on nuance, approach the prospect of war on television with little more intellectual heft than the rudimentary idea that war is bad?"

Translation : Liberals are sissy "intellectuals" who think they are smarter than everybody, but are really stupid.

Reality : attending a protest quickly reveals that while some don't have a clue, many have a pretty sound argument as to why we shouldn't engage in this war.

"Our 21st century flower children won't confront the ugly reality of what happens if Saddam Hussein is left to keep accumulating weapons of mass destruction."

Translation : It's all ex-Hippies who live in fantasy land.

Reality : Most people I talked to did express a concern over Saddam, and his potential acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. But they believe that the inspections will hinder that potentiality, and that containment works.

"Why not schedule some air time for the millions of Americans who aren't protesting in the streets, who aren't carrying signs smearing their president with swastikas and telling the cameras they're patriotic?"

Translation : All real Americans are 100% behind the president.

Reality : I don't think Bozell and others would be as insistent on this point if they really believed it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

More on Torts

For those who are concerned with tort reform to let doctors have to pay out less here are an interesting statistic from Sidney M. Wolfe, writing in the New York Times.

* From 1990 to 2002, just 5% of doctors were involved in 54% of malpractice payouts.

Dr. Wolfe is making the point that if state review boards acted a bit tougher with doctors who got sued, than this problem might largely go away. "Is it any coincidence that the states least likely to discipline doctors are among those with insurance crises? Pennsylvania — where the governor had to intervene to keep doctors from going out on strike over malpractice insurance costs — has disciplined only 5 percent of the 512 doctors who had made payments in malpractice suits five or more times, the lowest percentage of any state. (Arizona, for example, has disciplined nearly half of the doctors in this category.)"

Maybe state medical boards need to grow a spine and start enforcing better standards.

Supply Side Economics

Big debate in the world of conservative Economists. Apparently, President Bush's recent selection of N. Gregory Mankiw as his chief economic advisor is causing a stir. In a text book he wrote, Mankiw attacked Supply Side Economists as snake oil salesmen.

Luckily Bruce Bartlett jumped to his rescue, saying, "Mankiw was simply trying to illustrate the point that sometimes a fad can sweep the economics profession that later turns out to be false. This is indisputably true. Unfortunately, he chose a poor example to make his point. Mankiw acknowledged this fact by purging this section from later editions of his book, the third edition of which is due out shortly.

Yet even in the first edition of his textbook, Mankiw acknowledged that the Laffer Curve is correct in theory -- it simply shows that at a 100 percent tax rate or a zero percent tax rate no revenue is collected. Every economist knows that this is true. But of course, we are nowhere near a 100 percent tax rate -- nor were we in 1981 -- such that one could expect an across-the-board reduction in tax rates actually to raise revenue. Ronald Reagan never said so, nor did any other responsible economist.

So for those who have heard the argument, as I have, that you can lower taxes and the government makes more money, well that argument is just not true.

Monday, March 03, 2003

For those Who Don't Know

Lysistrata is very funny and very sexual.


Lysistrata is a play about a woman in ancient Greece, who, being fed up with the constant warfare and the lack of male companionship, comes up with the novel theory that the woman of Greece can make their men less warlike by witholding sex.

Ok there's more to it than that, she and her followers take over the acropolis and force a peace treaty by refusing to have sex with the men. Lysistrata presuades the women of Sparta and Corinthia to follow her lead. To make a long story short, they succeed.

In what is being heralded as the "First-Ever World Wide Theatre Event for Peace," in over 1,000 locations, mostly today, this play is being read. One such location was here in Tallahassee (and actually there will be a second reading tonight at The Mickee Faust Clubhouse, 8:00 I believe). I attended and took pictures, as is my wont, and I have a bit of sound from the performance as well.

To hear a bit of the performance, click hear. We were outside so recording conditions were not very good--but it is reasonably clear.

Cara Rossen, who organized the event, stated "Our goal is to make our legislators and state administrators aware that the citizens of Tallahassee, and this nation, do not want to see a war in Iraq. There are so many options available to us, being the most powerful nation in the world. War is the last of those. We have to set the example and be responsible to the rest of the planet. Yes, we have the ability, but it doesn't mean we should use it. Might does not make right. I believe that we do need to take action in Iraq. I do agree that they have violated the UN's requests and directives for too long. But we need to take action against Pres. Hussein and his government, not the people of Iraq. And that's what a war is, an action against a people. And the Iraqis, at least 99% of them in my opinion, don't deserve that. They deserve our help. They have suffered enough."

In a discussion with Ms. Rossen (who is the primary voice on the MP3 as well (unless my memory is faulty, which is entirely possible)), she confirmed that she believed this war was avoidable, and that even with a UN resolution, she might not be able to support military action against Iraq.

The Competition

Just got back from the Lysistrata performance (and some shopping). While i visited the capital, couldn't help noticing this van parked near the capitol.

Look at how cold and clinical it looks. There's no warmth in it. Almost as if the photographer had used a blue filter to make the van look cold. Well here at "Make me a Commentator!!!" we are dedicated to being warm and kind and puppies. So remember, if you like puppies, make your news source "Make me a Commentator!!!"

Light updating this morning

Won't be updating much this morning, but will have a larger update with pictures later on--going to an anti war function at noon. It is a reading of Lysistrata at the capitol (in Tallahassee) at 1:00 p.m. Should be interesting.

Hope you are all having a nice day.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

For Those Who Don't Know

For Those Who Don't Know

Before he created the Simpsons, Matt Groening wrote a weekly comic strip. And after he created the Simpsons, Matt Groening wrote a weekly comic strip. Both strips, of which there was only one, was entitled "Life in Hell." My grammer is bad--at any rate, got a life in hell collection this week, and thought I'd share the love--but if you like this strip, there's lots more available. Well worth the investment, although some of the jokes do get a bit sexual on occasion.

I Have Returned

You know what's great about being a liberal. You are held responsible for the actions of all other liberals. For example, as a Liberal, I'm responsible for some 20 year old doofus holding up a sign saying Death to Bush at a rally. It's all my fault for being a liberal. If I'm uncomfortable with being held responsible for other doofus's who use the liberal name perhaps, I should change my name. Oh wait, we tried that. And it only proved our cowardness.

So I guess if I want to be a liberal I'm shackled to the doofus views of the more extreme members of the liberal sect. (Hmmmm. I wonder if there are any Conservatives with extreme views.) I mean, look at this argument from David Limbaugh. "most conservatives would agree that a reasonable case can be made to oppose the war against Iraq, and by no means are all who oppose it guilty of the attitude and behavior Mona describes in her book. But a good number of them are, and they are of the same ideological blood as their Vietnam-protesting and Cold-War-denying predecessors, and have the same egg of culpability and shame on their faces."

This question lurks behind such statements as why are leftists willing to march alongside Stalinists? (How do you stop them, particularly if they already snapped up all the permits?)_ Why don't the protesters protest Saddam instead of Bush? (Well, Saddam doesn't have to worry about protestors influencing his electorate--seems like protests in the US would have no effect against him, and they would increase the possibility of war, something the protesters don't want.)

Anyway, it's nice to be back.