« January 2005 | Main | March 2005 »

February 10, 2005

NY Times Willing Myopia over Nuclear Arsenals

The NY Times wrote an editorial today castigating the administration over research on a new line of nuclear warheads.
This program sends a clear message to the rest of the world: now that the superpower arms race has ended, Washington sees nuclear weapons as an important part of its military strategy against small and midsize states. It should be no surprise if those nations conclude that they must develop nuclear weapons of their own.
Has the Times noticed that China still has a large nuclear arsental and is at best an authoritarian regime that most feel will challenge the US for hegemony later in this century? Last I checked, they were making improvements in their long-range delivery systems. Is the Time's satisfied that Russia is somehow going down a road toward a pacifist democracy when all signs point to its returning to some of its most disturbing authoritarian tendencies? I think its a little premature for the Times to conclude that this country should not continue to develop that which has been its military backbone for the last 60 years. I also seriously doubt that even if we did not expand and improve our nuclear arsenal, that countries such as Iran would suddenly drop their nuclear weapons programs because of a less aggressive posture we were taking toward them. Iran's need for the bomb has less to do with protection from the US as it does with Israel and gaining military leverage over the EU which is all to willing to roll over and expose its belly.

12:21 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

February 08, 2005

The Rich and Farm Subsidies

Interesting to see who benefits from farm subsidies.
David Rockefeller, the former chairman of Chase Manhattan and grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, who received 99 times more subsidies than the median farmer; Scottie Pippen, professional basketball star, who received 39 times more subsidies than the median farmer; Ted Turner, the 25th wealthiest man in America, who received 38 times more subsidies than the median farmer; and Kenneth Lay, the ousted Enron CEO and multi-millionaire, who received 3 times more subsidies than the median farmer.
I think Bush is doing the right thing by going after farm subsidies. They distort the marketplace and really just help a small group of people who don't need the help. However, this is such an entrenched subsidy that Bush will actually have to work to push this through. Its one thing to propose these cuts - its another to expend political capital on it. I think he's got political capital to spare, but my guess is that social security reform is more important and when push comes to shove, this is being used as a bargaining chip in the larger ss fight.

02:48 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack

February 06, 2005

What Do the Iraq Elections Prove?

There is a lot of crowing on the right about how the Iraqi elections have proven the doubters wrong. I have to admit, I truly believe Iraq has turned an important corner. The comparisons about Iraq and Vietnam by the anti-war forces have become tiresome and denote a time warp that the left seems unable to escape from. However, unless the right has found some similar time warp that allows them to view the future, I think it is hubristic to say that the Iraqi doubters are incorrect, except when applied to the narrow complaint the elections could never be held in the first place. I believe we are doing the right thing in Iraq and I wake up every day happy that Kerry was not elected President, but, at this point, it is extremely premature to divine any truths about Iraq and to trumpet the Iraq elections as pointing to anything other than an unknowable future (although it is growing brighter). All our celebrations do is provide an attack front for the left when the inevitable setbacks occur. The right needs to hold the champaigne for the momment when the world can really claim success in Iraq. Hopefully, that day will come sooner rather than later.

11:16 AM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

February 04, 2005

How much longer will this country continue to consider Saudi Arabia an "ally"?

Its just peachy-keen when the Saudi Arabian embassy shovels bs that only increases their hypocrisy. Do they really expect anyone to take UN condemnations seriously when the UN has yet to consider a single resolution that condemns any country in the Middle East for their sponsored terrorism not only toward Isreal but toward the west as well? The sad thing is how wilfully blind the Saudi Arabian government is to the sands in the hourglass. Does anyone not believe that once Iraq settles down, the US will start training its sights on the real birthplace of islamic jihadism? Iraq was only step 1 in a multistep process that will last decades and will ultimately result in the overthrow of the corrupt house of Saud, hopefully through peaceful means, but most likely through violence. Spouting off about meaningless UN resolutions won't change that fact.

04:09 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

More North Korea is Unraveling news

The idea that N. Korea may simply be collapsing of its own weight is slowly getting more and more attention. The latest is a Times of London article titled "Chairman Kim’s dissolving kingdom."

11:26 AM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

Ward Churchill Affair

There is an interesting storm developing over Ward Churchill, his past statements and whether he should lose his job over them. For those who may be unaware of the background, Churchill, a professor at the U. of Colorado, has praised the deaths of all the world trade center victims because they were "little Eichmanns." He was scheduled to give a talk at an upstate NY college when the news of his remarks surfaced and his appearance was subsequently cancelled. The U. of Colorado now may fire him.

Instapundit has a roundup of opinion from the right over whether he should be fired. I tend to agree with the positions outlined by the Instapundit links - the right needs to suck it up and regardless of how horrid this man's words are, he should have the right to say them and everyone thus has the right to condemn him for the schmuck he is.

On the other hand, it is easy to get up on the high horse for freedom of speech. The question quickly crosses my mind as to whether the school he works for has an overriding responsibility to their students. How far can or should they go in providing all points of view? Would anyone argue that the University should provide a point of view for their students of a kkk grand wizard or of someone who denies the holocaust? If the school should not fire him even if it find his views to be absolutely unacceptable, should they also have to hire an otherwise wonderful professor who may have expressed similar views?

Eugene Volokh, who obviously has vastly more experience than I do with these issues states:

If the University concludes that keeping a person such as this as the administrative face of the department will cast the department and the university into disrepute, it can properly remove him as chair, while retaining his right to say whatever incendiary things he likes as professor. And of course I'd say the same as to department chairs who said things I liked: A university should have fairly broad authority to strip them of their chairmanship, though not of their posts.

Some are now focusing on whether Churchill is actually an American Indian and whether he misled the school administration by saying he was. I think the focus on whether he lied about being a "real" indian (a concept which is open to interpretation and has its own repulsive qualities similar to whether someone is a "real" Jew or a "real" African American) is a cop out - a way to justify his firing while avoiding the issues of freedom of speech.

Interesting issues. Ultimately, I believe the American right needs to protect Churchill's freedom of speech. There are many legitimate complaints about lack of intellectual diversity within academia and the American right should reject any notion that freedom of speech only applies to those it agrees with as it will only weaken the broader case it makes to add conservative voices to academe.

11:12 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

I Hate Republicans and Everything They Stand For

Spoken by none other than the probable new head of the DNC - Howard Dean.

Yes, folks, this is how the Democrats will recapture power. Sigh, this is going to be a long four years.

06:41 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack

Some on the Left seeing the Light?

Maybe this could be the beginning of a needed shift within the left. Jon Stewart and Mark Brown are asking what if Bush was right and we were wrong? Hopefully, more responsible Democrats will ask the same question.

Its ok to question what we are doing in Iraq - that is patriotism and is the basis of our democracy. However, the scorched earth policy (typified by Michael Moore and many others) that the Democrats have conducted against anything done by Bush severely hurt the party in November and may have dealt a massive blow that only history will be able to decipher.  When the left realizes that they may be wrong, they might pull back just a bit and realize that the most important issue facing this country over the next 4 years is not social security. It is not tort reform. It is insuring that Iraq becomes a stable functioning democracy. Forget about what happened 3 1/2 years ago. The Democrats need to focus on how they can become a responsible partner with the administration to insure a Democratic Iraq. If they don't start asking, what if Bush is right, then all they will be able to offer is continued obstructionism and that is not healthy, even for a minority party. 

In today's Best Of the Web, James Tarranto follows a similar theme and makes a very important point:

At one level it's obvious that the election is a big win for Bush, whose Iraq policy seems vindicated. But in another sense it's weird. The servicemen who liberated Iraq and secured the election did so on behalf of America, not the Republican Party. This should have been a triumph for the nation, not just the GOP.

That it was not is entirely the Democrats' fault, for it was they who followed the lead of America's Baathist remnants and opposed the Iraq liberation on a partisan basis--even after many, including Kedwards, voted for it. As we wrote in a prescient June 30 item, "The Democrats are in the position of hoping that America loses its 'gamble' in Iraq--a politically and morally hazardous thing to hope for."

The Democrats' decision to put party over country was bad for the country, but much worse for the party.

05:39 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

Oh my god! Terrorists have captured Cody!

This is just too funny Instapundit is asking when Hostage Barbie will be released.

OK, this can rapidly descend into bad taste, but it is an amusing sidebar to the real horrors that exist in Iraq. What is as funny as the incident itself is how quickly the MSM jumped on this story. I can guess they have been chomping at the bit for some bad news to focus on to distract from the elections. Anyone with half a brain can see there was something seriously wrong with the picture and one really has to wonder about the editorial checks and balances at Reuters and the AP.

Hopefully, this really was a hoax and no American soldiers are currently captive. I just can't believe that this was released by an actual terrorist group. It would be great if it was, but, unfortunately, I'd have to give them more credit than that. If this was released by a terrorist group, maybe they are in worse shape than this country and the Iraqis could have hoped.

05:19 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack

How Gauling

Wow, these comments take a lot of cutzpah even for a Frenchman:
As to the question whether it [ed: the Iraqi vote] can be seen as a success for the Bush administration, the French minister replied "it was the success of the international community" that has "completely supported" the process, with of course the United States.
Since they now seem to be completely supporting the process, maybe they can send some troops to help out a bit. A couple hundred would do. Sheesh.

12:52 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | TrackBack