When you're right you're right
Thursday, December 22, 2005
  Try working on Kyoto I before you worry about Kyoto II
The United Nations Climate Change Conference opened in Montreal on December 9th. Sometimes called "Kyoto II", the conference sought to hammer out standards for world greenhouse gas emissions after the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol, named for the Japanese city where the original conference was held in 1997, sets standards for international greenhouse gas output, in the hopes of combatting global warming. The goal is to set standards for each country, to reduce its emissions by various percentages, from the output levels of 1990. The United Kingdom, for example, agreed to cut greenhouse emissions 12.5% from 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Vice President Al Gore signed the treaty in 1998. However, the US Constitution requires that treaties be ratified by the Senate, so Gore's signature doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Later, the Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution, resolving that the Senate would not ratify any treaty that "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." The vote was ninety-five in favor, and zero against. Not exactly a nail-biter there.

Aware that the treaty didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of being ratified, President Clinton did not submit it to the Senate. To this day, the US remains a signatory to Kyoto, but it is still unratified. In other words, the Kyoto Protocol is not, and never has been, the law of the land.

This seems to be a serious point of confusion for most liberals I talk to. The usual refrain goes something like "Don't you know that Bush withdrew us from Kyoto? No wonder we've got racist hurricanes in this country!" Actually, President Bush did no such thing. The Clinton Administration favored Kyoto, but never managed to get it passed into law. The Bush Administration, though certainly critical of the treaty, has not removed our signature from it. He simply refuses to submit it to the Senate for ratification.

Living in Europe, I've found that the Kyoto Protocol is right up there on the list of American sins that every European seems to have learned by heart. After the Iraq War, Kyoto usually comes in second. Most Europeans I've met have absolutely no idea that their nations are not complying with the Kyoto either.

The European Union ratified the treaty en-bloc in 1997, although the EU at that time was only fifteen nations. Today, the EU consists of twenty-five nations. The old 15-member European Union, as a whole, reduced emissions between 1990 and 2003, but only by a meager 1.4%. They have a lot of work to do, if they plan to reach their goal of 8% by the year 2012. It isn't likely to happen.

Eleven of the fifteen nations are actually reporting emission increases, including Spain (41.7%), Portugal (36.7%), Greece (25.8%), Ireland (25.6%), Finland (21.5%) and Austria (16.5%).

Germany has made impressive progress, having cut emissions by 18.2%. The German goal of a 21% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2012 is probably well within reach. Other nations have managed to cut emissions, but not nearly enough to realistically believe that they can meet their goals by 2012. France cut back 1.9%, and Sweden 2.3%.

Interestinlgy enough, the host nation of the original conference, Japan, is also not meeting its obligations. The Japanese have recorded a 12.8% increase of greenhouse emissions between 1990 and 2003, and will probably have a 12% increase by 2010.

The host nation of "Kyoto II", Canada, home of universal enlightment, and the model society that the United States should emulate, has also failed to meet its target emission levels. Between 1990 and 2003, Canada increased emissions by 24.2%, and the odds that Canada will be able to meet its goal of a 6% reduction by 2012 is a pipedream.

So it was with great irony that Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin told reporters "To the recalcitrant nations, including the United States, I would say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it." To Prime Minister Martin, I will act as his conscience and tell him this: Try working on Kyoto I before you worry about Kyoto II. Get Canada on track with its own obligations before you start pointing fingers at your neighbor.

It's often said that "the entire world" supports the Kyoto Protocol. The entire world that is, except that eternally recalcitrant, unilateral, arrogant hyper-power known as the United States of America. Well, that doesn't exactly tell the whole story. Looking at a world map of nations that approved Kyoto, the United States definitely looks lonely. But it's important to note that not every nation on earth agreed to the Protocol. Australia also rejected it, and three other nations have signed it but still have failed to ratify it, despite the fact that the treaty is almost nine years old. Eighteen nations have no position on Kyoto.

Such a rudimentary analysis also leaves out the fact that most third-world nations are excluded from the framework of the treaty. China and India, for example, are the second and sixth largest producers of greenhouse gases. This should come to no surprise to anyone, since just about everything from silverware to soccer balls comes with the words "Made in China" or "Made in India" stamped on them. So, in other words, China and India ratified a treaty that does not apply to them and will require no sacrifice on their part. Well, how big of them. I guess they're really pitching in for a greener environment.

China and India have nothing to lose and everything to gain from Kyoto, so it's no surpise that they gave it their stamp of approval. Becuase it requires nothing on their part, it does them no harm to sign it. And while the West struggles to use cleaner fuels and otherwise handicap their economy, China and India will pick up the slack.

Coal, for example, is a major source of greenhouse gases, and is in wide use in India and China. If the West dramatically reduces it use of coal, the laws of supply and demand suggest that the price of coal will drop. China and India will then be able to purchase coal at reduced prices, and step up production and growth. In the end, the same amount of coal will be burned and the same amount of greenhouse gases will be produced, but it will be in Chinese and Indian factories, rather than in the West. Oh yeah, and they'll have our jobs too.

And then there are the countries, already mentioned, who have signed the treaty, and have actually increased their emissions (Spain, Portugal, Canada, Japan) not to mention the nations that have decreased emissions but not nearly enough to meet their agreed upon 2012 goals (France and Sweden).

As usual, the more enlightened citizens of world refuse to meet the standard that they set for the United States. Our nation is the devil, for the simple fact that we didn't ratify the Kyoto Protocol (or as they like to put it, "Bush removed the United States from the Kyoto!"). This, coming from a hodgepodge of nations who are either not bound by Kyoto, or have signed it but show no indications of actually following it. In other words, making pledge that you have no intention of fulfilling makes them superior to those who refuse to make the pledge at all.

So the "Kyoto II" conference is in full swing, and it appears that the United States is sticking to its guns. It didn't like Kyoto I, and it doesn't look like it will be approving Kyoto II either. Of course, we hear that the whining and righteous indignation of such nations as Canada and Malta. To hear them tell it, there really is no solid reason for the United States to reject the treaty. In their minds, it isn't a very complicated issue involving speculation, economic considerations, and a dispassionate look at scientific theory. You're either pro-environment, or you're some kind of sadistic earth-hater who probably owns stock in Halliburton (Halliburton!) and spends his freetime clubbing baby seals to death. Oh yeah, and you drive an SUV and watch Fox News.

Well, there are plenty of reasons to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. Global Warming is not, despite popular belief, established fact. It may be based on popularly accepted "junk science". But the real reason to oppose the Kyoto Protocol is because it is not what it seems to be. It is not an international pact to save the world from global warming. It's an international pact to reign in the United States and its superpower economy.

Of course the average man on the street here in Europe may not subscribe to that belief. Most, I'm sure, are honestly concerned with global warming. But their leaders and media establishments constantly spout alarmist "Chicken Little" rhetoric about global warming, and European citizens eagerly accept it because of their tendency to blame absolutely everything on the United States. Sometimes I think I could tell Europeans that President Bush eats babies for breakfast, that American scientists developed AIDS as a biological weapon, and that our literacy rate is around 5%, and they would believe me. They would believe it because they want to believe it.

But their leaders probably know better. They know that in the global economic competition, the United States is leaving Europe in its dust. They know that their social and economic policies are hindering their ability to compete in the world market. But they also know that European voters are quite fond of their social protections and comfortable lifestyle, and nothing will make them want to give them up.

Having lived in Germany for quite a while, and having witnessed the elections of 2002 and 2005, I can say that economic issues trump all others on the political landscape. Unemployment in particular, is the issue in German politics today. Nearly every politician in this country, and all of the mainstream parties, claim to have a plan to reduce unempoyment.

And yes, it is an epedemic. Last winter, German unemployment reached 12.6% Between the years of 1993 and 2000, the German unemployment rate dipped below 9% only once, and then only for a period of a few months. I never dropped below 8%. Other European countries are in a similar predicament.

As Dr. John Hulsman, an economist at the Heritage Foundation writes, "Here's a statistic that makes your hair go white. According to the OECD--which is a pro-European organization--since 1970 in Western Europe, there's been a net private sector job loss...When Europeans tell us that we have a different economic system from them--they assume some moral equivalence--the reality is that their system is not working in a fundamental way."

But if the Europeans are ever going to compete, they might have to make some sacrifices. They might have to give up the six weeks of paid vacation and the three years of unemployment benefits. They might have to forgo striking every time their coffee break doesn't come on time. They might have to graduate from die Uni and get a job before they turn thirty. In other words, they might actually have to work. It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

But don't expect Europe to do that. Politicians who dare to suggest that the European welfare state might need some trimming have a bad habit of not getting elected.

So they have another tactic. Instead of becoming more competetive, they try to make their competetitors less competetive. Dr. Hulsman writes of this effect, using Ireland as an example although it could just as well be the United States he was talking about. According to Hulsman, Ireland now has a per capita GDP higher than Great Britain for the first time in history. Why? "The Irish have done a couple of things brilliantly. They have one of the lowest corporate taxes in the world, they have a low personal income tax rate, and they have a highly educated workforce...The problem is that harminization in the European Union is never downward, meaning that nobody ever says, 'Let's adopt as a uniform measure Ireland's tax rate.' Rather they say--and the French use the term--'unfair economic advantage', meaning lower taxes. if they agree on concrete uniformities, it's always to the French and German level in an effort, of course, to make their moribund economies competetive by making other states drop their competetive advantages."

That's what Kyoto is about. It's about removing our "unfair economic advantage", under the guise of environmentalism. If it were really about reducing greenhouse gases, you might expect that the number two producer of greenhouse gases, China, would also be in the crosshairs. But they aren't. In fact, they're entirely exempt. If it were really about greenhouse gases, you would expect that signatories to the Protocol might actually make an effort to follow it.

No, its about bringing down the giant. It's about making their economic system work better by making us adopt their failed economic policies. And I'm glad that it didn't work. We did the right thing by rejecting Kyoto I, even if it was unpopular in the world. And I don't see any reason why we should commit ourselvs to Kyoto II, either.
 
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
  Democrats: Infected with Margaret Carlson Syndrome
The Democrats are the "big tent" party, or so the like to think. To hear them tell it, the Democratic Party is as American as apple pie, has its finger on the pulse of middle America, and still carries on the traditions that make it the "Party of Roosevelt". The Democrats, we are told, are a moderate party with broad appeal: to women, to minorities, to union workers, to teachers, to the middle class. And those Republicans are out there on the fringe, excercising narrow appeal mostly with white guys.

Oddly though, they can never make up their minds as to which white guys are the base of the Republican Party; is it the hicks or the corporate types? The gun-nuts from Idaho or the tycoons on Wall Street? The "Jesus freaks" or the Texas oilmen?

Well that's silly. If it were really the case that Democrats had broad appeal and Republicans had narrow appeal, we wouldn't live in a country where there is a Republican in the Oval Office, and Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature.

No, the Democratic Party is not middle-of-the-road. During the Twentieth Century, and particularty in the last quarter thereof, the party swerved left, but understood the importance of continuing to masquerade as moderates if they ever wanted to win elections.

President Clinton is a wonderful example of this. Although frequently hailed as moderate during his administration, I don't believe that he is. Oh yes, Mr. Clinton could play that game when he needed to, but that was not the real Bill. The real Bill Clinton had looser lips as a young law student, as was more likely to say what he really meant.

Clinton managed to dodge the draft by getting himself into the ROTC program, with significant influence from his mentor, Senator J. William Fulbright. Writing a letter to the ROTC colonel, he expressed his feelings that the war in Vietnam was immoral. That, in and of itself, does not make Clinton an extremist. But he goes on to say "First, I want to thank you, not only for saving me from the draft..." Later, Clinton would claim that he had received no special treatment in getting his ROTC slot. He describes two of his American compatriots as conscienscious objectors, but a third is quite simply a draft dodger, and Clinton thinks that he is heroic. "One of my roommates is a draft resister who is possibly under indictment and may never be able to go home again. He is one of the bravest, best men I know. His country needs men like him more than they know. That he is considered a criminal is an obscenity."

He finishes with perhaps the most damning, but indeed most honest statement: "I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves loving their country but loathing the military..."

That, my friends, is the real Bill Clinton. Perhaps because his consciousness was forged during the Vietnam War, Bill Clinton and his compatriots loath the military. Years later, as President of the United States, and afterward as one of America's premier playboys, Clinton would never think of uttering such a thing. It wouldn't sit well with the voters, so he kept his mouth shut about it. But he never stopped believing that there is something essentially wrong with the military, and with the men and women who volunteer for it.

Clinton's disdain for the military was made clear during his presidency. Besides slashing it to bits with budget cuts (under the excuse that we then had a post-Cold War "peace dividend"), he deployed the military all over the planet for reasons that most Americans cannot explain. But most importantly, he put politics above national defense and our military's combat effectiveness. His policies on women in the military have done serious damage to our fighting forces.

Clinton also abused his power to grant pardons in order to free a convicted left-wing terrorist by the name of Susan Rosenberg. Rosenberg's story is fascinating. On the one hand, she believes that she lives in a fascist police state, and has declared war on "Amerika". On the other hand, she has lead a life of violent crime, managed to get away with most of her crimes because of the leniencies of the juctice system, and was hired to teach a course at New York's Hamilton College entitled "Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity and Change".

Rosenberg never met a radical Marxist organization that she didn't like. She was involved with such groups as The Family, the May 19th Communist Organization, the Black Liberation Army, and perhaps most famously the Weather Underground. Her involvement in the Weather Underground should have been enough to earn her a life sentence in a federal penitentiary. Throughout the 1970's, the Weather Underground terrorized the United States, placing bombs in the Pentagon, the US Capitol building, the State Department, the Office of California Prisons, and the office of the California Attorney General, just to name a few.

In 1970, several Weathermen were killed in a Greenwich Village townhouse, when a bomb that they had been assembling in the basement detonated and destroyed the home. If they hadn't been blown to pieces by their own handiwork, they intended to place the bomb at a military ball at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The targets were soldier and their dates.

In 1980, the Weather Underground turned themselves in, but amazingly, most of them got off scott free. The FBI, caught up in the COINTELPRO scandal, had used illegal police tactics against the Weather Underground. Although they did not deny their guilt, they were released.

Before long, Rosenberg was at it again. She was indicted as the getaway car driver at the 1983 Nyack, New York armored car robbery attempt. The robbery was botched, and allies of the Black Liberation Army tried to shoot their way out of the mess. In its wake, three people were dead, including two police officers. As the Weather Underground used to say "The only good cop is a dead cop."

Even still, "fascist AmeriKKKa" failed to put this woman behind bars. Only later, when Rosenberg was caught with 740 pounds of explosives and a stockpile of weapons, was she sentenced to prison. She was not scheduled for release until 2042. Prosecuters never retreated from the original charge that Rosenberg had been the getaway car driver for the unrelated armored car robbery. They simply dropped all charges when it appeared that she would be spending the rest of her life in prison anyway.

Fast forward to January 2001. During President Clinton's final days in office, he wrote a flurry of presidential pardons, including one for Susan Rosenberg. The unrepentant Marxist terrorist walked free.

The President's power to grant clemency carries with it great responsibilty. It assumes that the President will be a man of great honor and wisdom, which Clinton was neither. The President is supposed to use the pardon only in extraordinary situations, in which it is clear that the justice system failed to dispense justice. The President should not grant clemency simply because he has a soft spot in his heart for cop-killing, America-hating, left-wing terrorist organizations. But that is exactly what happened.

I often wonder if there would have been more media outrage, if the President had been a Republican rather than a Democrat, and the pardoned terrorist had been a Klansman who had fire-bombed a black church, rather than a Communist who liked to kill policemen and bomb government buildings. But no, the media insisted on calling President Clinton a "moderate", and nothing he could do would change their minds.

California Congresswoman Barabara Lee is another example of a left-wing radical who just happens to belong to the Democratic Party. She distinguished herself in September 2001, as the only member of the Congress to vote against responding to the 9-11 terrorist attacks with militay force. She described this as "a vote of conscience," and elaborated that she didn't think that the best way to react to the killing of innocents was the killing of more innocents. She almost sounds like a principled pacifist, if only a little naive.

She is nothing of the sort. Lee has no problem with violence, she just has a problem with the United States. As a young woman, Lee was an aide to Huey Newton, the well known Black Panther. The Black Panthers were, of course, Communist, criminal, and most of all, violent. If Lee is concerned with killing innocents, she might want to look at the Black Panther Party, which she so dearly cherishes. Her idol, Heuy Newton, was certainly a murderer, and probably a rapist and a drug dealer on top of that.

Lee is probably guilty of outright treason against her own country as well. For this, we will need to look back to the tiny island nation of Grenada in 1979. This was the year that Maurice Bishop, a Communist, seized control of the island. He quickly hosted Cuban troops (who were operating under cover, as "construction workers"), and made military deals with Cuba, the USSR, Libya, and North Korea. In 1983, rivalries within Bishop's own organization led to his murder. Grenada was momentarily plunged into chaos, and a twenty-four hour shoot-to-kill curfew was imposed.

At the request of six Carribean nations, President Ronald Reagan ordered troops to Grenada, and the island was rescued from its oppressors with a minimum of bloodshed. American soldiers reported that the Cuban "construction workers" on the island had been using "automatic repeating shovels", but the affair was rather tidy and quick.

Later, the US military found a reference to Lee (then a congressional aide to radical Leftist Ron Dellums, whose seat she won after he retired in 1998) in the minutes of a politburo meeting. The document reads "Barbara Lee is here presently and has brought with her a report on an international airport done by [Congressman] Ron Dellums. They have requested that we look at the document and suggest any changes we deem necessary. They will be willing to make changes." In a notation, it explains, "Airport will be used for Cuban and Soviet military."

Lee is one of Congress's most vocal critics of defense spending. And while she was far too principled to react to the 9-11 attacks with justified military force, she isn't particularly concerned with the Soviet military moving in next door. Lee is not a pacifist. She is a left-wing radical, a throwback to the 1960's Berkley, where she formed her political consciousness.
As mentioned before, Barbara Lee was an aide to Representative Ron Dellums before she began her own carrer in the House of Representatives. Dellums is another radical Leftist that the "moderate" "middle-of-the-road" Democratic Party has sheltered. Dellums, like Lee, appears to have had a love affair with Caribbean Communism.

Before the 1983 murder of Maurice Bishop, the aforementioned frontman of Communist Grenada, Bishop enjoyed a lively correspondence with Carlottia Scott, another of Dellums's aides. She writes to Bishop: "Ron as a political thinker is the best around and Fidel [Castro] will verify that in no uncertain terms...Ron had a long talk with Barb[ara Lee] and me when we got to Havanna...Like I said, he's really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn't want anything to happen to building the revo and making it strong. He really admires you as a person, and even more so as a leader with courage and foresight, principle and integrity. Believe me, he doesn't make that statement about just anyone. The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration is Fidel."

It's the Barbara Lee, Ron Dellums, and Maurice Bishop love triangle. And they seem to be awfully fond of Fidel Castro as well. Also, Scott writes that her boss doesn't want anything to happen to "the revo", meaning the "the revolution", which has always been a buzz word among Communists signifying a complete takeover of the planet by Marxist forces. It would have been tossed around freely among every fringe Leftist group of the 1970's and 1980's, from the Symbionese Liberation Army to the Black Panthers. In fact, she's so comfortable using the word that she truncates it, assuming that everyone will know exactly what she means. Indeed, when writing to a Communist dictator like Maurice Bishop, that's a pretty good assumption. Corlottia Scott, the writer of the letter, incidently became the Democratic Party's "political issues director" in 1999.

Although it was quite fashionable for Democrats to claim after the Fall Of Communism that "we were all Cold Warriors", this is simply not the case. When the Vietnam War went sour, liberals grew weary of fighting the Cold War, and true Leftists were never in favor of fighting it in the first place. Nonetheless, everyone from Bill Clinton to Madeline Albright has claimed credit for something that they had absolutely nothing to do with.

During the 1970’s, liberal Democrats used the term "Cold Warrior" as a pejorative term, and always referred to "The Cold War" in the past tense. The 1970’s was the decade when the Democratic Party drifted to the left, although there were left-leaning factions within the Democratic Party as early as the 1930’s.

The first Democratic candidate for President in the 1970’s was George McGovern, no doubt a Leftist. The public rejected him outright, losing forty-nine states, including his home state of South Dakota. At that point, it was the biggest landslide in the history of American presidential elections.

The Democrats tried again in 1976, with the slightly less radical Jimmy Carter. Carter easily defeated Gerald Ford, who had been tainted by Vietnam and the Watergate Scandal.

Carter was probably as far left of a President as we have ever elected, and we only did it once. And while he, like Clinton, tried to present his ideas in ways that the American people would find agreeable, he sometimes slipped up, and the real Jimmy Carter came out.

Carter spoke of our "inordinate fear of Communism", despite the fact that ten nations fell to Communism during the 1970’s, with disasterous consequences in all of them. The worst of them was Pol Pot’s Cambodia, which technically fell to Communism during the Ford administration, although Carter was the President during most of Pol Pot’s days in power, which came to an end in 1979, when the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia for imperialist reasons of their own.

Still, though he must have been given daily briefings about the horrors of Cambodia—not to mention the other nine countries that tumbled to Soviet pressure during the 1970’s—Carter admitted that it was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that made him appreciate the true dangers of Communism. He may have only been mouthing political platitudes at the time as well.

Carter appointed Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations. Young’s comments about his own country, given in front of an international body, were shameful. And while it may be "guilt by association" to assume that Carter agreed with Ambassador Young on all points, it seems unlikely that this man would have kept his job in any other administration, or even been appointed to the position in the first place.

While Young criticized the United States for failing to follow a foreign policy based on human rights, he found ways of excusing the massive human rights abuses of the USSR. "We must realize that they are growing up in circumstances different from ours. They have, therefore, developed a completely different concept of human rights. For them, human rights are essentially not civil or political, but economic…Under those circumstances, [it] inevitably becomes far more economic in expression than it would in a country such as ours…"

So Soviet oppression is justified, because the Soviets don’t really buy into our concept of human rights. And as long as the Soviets provided a decent standard of living for all its people, the Soviet Union was not to be criticized. In fact, the Soviet Union did not provide a decent living for all its people, and those who believed that it did were dupes for the Kremlin’s propaganda. In any case, Young would never apply his own unique definition of human rights to his own country, which he attacked constantly as a racist, oppressive police state.

Speaking on the presence of Cuban troops in Angola, where the Soviets and Cubans were busily assembling another oppressive African dictatorship, Young said "I don’t believe that Cuba is in Africa because it was ordered there by the Russians. I believe that Cuba is in Africa because it really has shared in a sense of colonial oppression and domination."

Yes, domination and oppression were two things that Cuba knew very well. In fact, they still practice it to this day. But the point here is that Young would never give as much slack to his own country as he generously gives to the Soviets and Cubans. An outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, he believes that American attempts to rescue the South Vietnamese people from the tyranny and the bloodbath that eventually followed, was the the essence of "colonial oppression and domination". But when the Russians and Cubans conspired to bring the same blood bath and tyranny to Angola, they were doing it because they are actually opposed to "colonialism and oppression".

When asked about political prisoners in the Soviet Union such as Natan Sharansky and Alan Ginzburg, Young described it as "a gesture of independence" on the part of Moscow. In other words, the Kremlin was telling the world that they would lock up whoever they wanted to lock up, and no one could tell them otherwise.

He then employed a famous trick of the Left, and tried to make a moral equivalence between the two superpowers. "We also have hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in our jails that I would call political prisoners." Young later resigned his post, after he met with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, in violation of US laws that ambassadors not meet with terrorist organizations.

Tom Hayden has been a superstar on the fringe Left for forty four years, ever since he authored the Port Huron Statement which gave birth to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962. He would later go on to plan (yes, plan) the 1968 Chicago riots.

He and his future wife, Jane Fonda, travelled to the North Vietnam on a number of occasions. Tom sat down for strategy sessions with North Vietnamese officials, and mapped out the "anti-war" movement that was so essential to Communist victory in Vietnam. Both Hayden and his wife propagandized on behalf of the North Vietnamese government. After visiting the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" the couple reported that American POWs were being treated humanely (they were not), called U.S. soldiers "war criminals" and later denounced them as liars for claiming they had been tortured. Fonda would later have her picture taken on an enemy anti-aircraft gun. Neither Haden nor Fonda denied their affection for Communism, and Fonda even remarked that "If you understood what Communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would some day become Communist. . . . I, a Socialist, think that we should strive toward a Socialist society, all the way to Communism."

In 1979, Hayden would be asked by singer Joan Baez to sign a public statement, that would appear as a full page ad in The New York Times, condemning the government of Vietnam and their atrocious behavior in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Baez is a practicing Quaker, and is opposed to all war and violence, regardless of the source. Although she had been an outspoken critic of the American war in Vietnam, she was also appalled with what the North Vietnamese were doing to the South in the days after we so ignobly abandoned our allies there. Baez was hoping that many of her old friends from the her anti-war days would give the letter some credibility with their signatures. Baez asked three hundred and fifty "peace activists" to sign the letter, and she got only eighty-three signatures. One of those who refused was Tom Hayden. He went as far as to call the Quaker folk singer a "tool of the CIA" for daring to run such an ad.

Hayden hasn’t changed much. Since Septmeber 11th, Hayden has been acting much the same way as he always has. He has written an article called "How to End the Iraq War", in which he writes "The anti-war movement can force the Bush administration to leave Iraq by denying it the funding, troops, and alliances necessary to its strategy for dominance." Hayden shows a lot more candor here than most "anti-war activists". Most maintain that they oppose the War in Iraq because we can’t win. At least Hayden is honest enough to admit that he fears we will win, and has taken it upon himself to undercut the mission in any way possible. We used to call that treason, but the "t-word" has been thrown out, ever since patriotic Americans became so afraid of the being accused of "McCarthyism" or a "fascism" for simply for calling treason by its name.

Haden goes on to explain that "The movement will need to start opening another underground railroad to havens in Canada for those who refuse to serve." Aiding deserters is, of course, a crime. He also calls on his followers to "undercut the pillars of war" (a brutally honest phrase; most Democrats react with scripted horror whenever they are accused of undercutting the war effort, but Hayden uses the exact word) "by link[ing] with working class through counter-recruitment."

"Counter-recruitment" is, of course, the ongoing campaign to disrupt U.S. military recruiters, exclude them by law from college campuses and high schools, and vandalize recruiting stations. While most counter-recruiters will claim that their only goal is to keep recruiters from "preying" on our youth, Hayden once again phrases his support in brutally honsest terms: it's part of his strategy to "undercut the pillars of war", in other words, to sabotage it. As much as liberals complain that the war is driving recruitment down, they secretly celebrate poor recruiting numbers, and even apply a concerted effort to make sure that the numbers continue to fall.

Hayden served eighteen years in the California legislature, in both the State Assembly and the State Senate. He ran unsuccessfully for the office of the mayor of Los Angeles. Did he run on the ticket of the Communist Party? The Socialist Worker's Party? The Greens? No, he's a Democrat.

To be fair, Hayden co-founded the Progressive Democrats of America, in July 2004. The goal of PDA is to bring the current Democratic Party further to the Left. In other words, Hayden is not satisified with the current Democratic Party, probably because it still sticks to that silly donkey logo, when it should have adopted the hammer and sickle years ago. PDA is founded mostly by followers of the failed Dennis Kucinich presidential campaign, and takes credit for the appointment of Howard Dean to chairman of the DNC.

Hayden has found that he can work within the Democratic Party, and the Democrats have done next to nothing to distance themselves from him, as the Republican Party has done to distance itself from David Duke and other far-Right-wingers.

The Democrats have more extemists within the ranks of their party. Those mentioned here, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Andrew Young, Ron Dellums, Barbara Lee, Carlottia Scott, and Tom Hayden, represent a small portion. What's worse is that these few examples may be unique in one aspect: their demonstrable Leftist histories. Other stars within the Democratic Party seem quite adept at keeping their radical thoughts to themselves, or finding much more palatable ways to phrase what they really mean.

Rather then saying calling our troops "liars" and "war criminals" (as Hayden did) or admitting to "loathing the military" (as Clinton did), they keep up the old refrain of "Support our troops! Bring them home!". They've found it much more effective to pretend to love our troops than to insult them. It sells better in Iowa, and probably every other state in the country as well.

Being a keen political observer for about half of my young life, I'm still frequently unable to distinguish a liberal from a Leftist. Sometimes I think that the only difference between the two is that the Leftist is so proud of his putrid beliefs that he refuses, in most cases, to keep them undercover. The liberal, being more pragmatic and understanding that our system of democraticly elected leaders requires them to at least pretend that they love this country, are smart enough to keep their mouths shut about what they really believe. Consequently, the liberals seem to follow the same policy objectives as the Leftists, and usually buttress their goals with convoluted arguments. It should be no surprise that these arguments ring hollow because the person making the argument doesn't even believe it himself.

Maybe, for the sake of sanity, I will go on believing that there are great patriotic liberals out there, who have more in common with conservatives than they have with their screwball cousins on the left-wing fringe. After all, conservatives (center-right) and liberals (center-left) should be closer relations with each other than with either of the extremes. Sadly, I usually find that not to be the case in the case of the Democratic Party.

And to make things worse, the Democratic Party, the party of Hayden, Dellum, Lee, and Young, will not admit to even being a liberal party. Their gall is astounding. They appear to have "Margaret Carlson Syndrome", a phrase coined by Daniel J. Flynn, in reference to the liberal reporter and columnist Margaret Carlson.

Carlson appeared on CNN's Crossfire for two nights in 1995, and adamantly refused to go off the air with the traditional Crossfire farewell. Carlson was supposed to say "From the left, I'm Margaret Carlson", and her debate-opponent was supposed to say "From the right, I'm Robert Novak." Carlson refused, and caused Novak to miss a few steps when she signed off with "From Washington, I'm Margaret Carlson. Good night for Crossfire." Novak claims that she later told him that she just couldn't say such a thing, because she was "middle-of-the-road". "What planet are these people from?" remarked Novak.

The Democratic Party has a serious case of Margaret Carlson Syndrome. In all honesty, they are probably a liberal party with a generous sprinkling of Leftists, although you will never get them to admit even that. All the big Democrats, right down the line from party chairman Dean to the Clinton super-power duo, cling to the ridiculous notion that the Democrats are the epitome of mainstream, despite the fact that they haven't won a majority of seats in either house of the Congress in thirteen years.

This denial has interesting effects. A former professor of mine, a dogged Leftist who adores Gramsci and Chomsky, spouted the familiar line that there is a "right-wing media bias." I've never heard such a silly thing in my entire life. When faced with the overwhelming evidence that reporters go hard on Republicans and soft on Democrats, his response was typical: both parties in this country are right-wing parties, so favoring one or the other does not disprove the idea that there is a right-wing bias in the media.

I don't know how he said it with a straight face. Perhaps there were some naive undergraduates in the lecture hall that day who fell for such a silly assertion. I did not. For the reasons stated above, I have come to the conclusion that the Democrats are not a right-wing party, not a centrist party, and possibly not even a liberal party. They are the party of retreat and defeat, a party composed of Leftists who openly supported the NVA and Vietcong during the Vietnam War. The current leadership of the Democratic Party were "just kids" then, most of them staying in school as long as possible to avoid the draft. Now, thirty-five years later, they've grown up, smartened up, and learned how to advance their beliefs without actually spelling out their beliefs. The party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Senator Scoop Jackson was replaced with the party of Clinton, Carter, Dellums, Lee, and Hayden.
 
Saturday, December 17, 2005
  France: stuck on stupid
The ashes of French cities are still smoldering, as the nation tries to get back to "normal" after last month's riots. France will probably never be the same again.

The trouble began on the night of October 27th, when two teenagers of North African descent took refuge from the police inside a power station. Whether the police were actually persuing them or not, is still unknown. Nonetheless, the two boys lost their lives when 20,000 volts of electricity rocked their bodies. That evening, angry rioters took to the streets in suburban Paris, clashing with police, burning vehicles, and generally spreading mayhem.

And they didn't stop for twenty consecutive nights. The rioting spread, first into the city of Paris proper, then to other parts of France. In all, rioting affected 274 communities, including France's fifteen largest urban areas. Rioters burned 8,973 vehicles, injured 126 police officers, torched a daycare center in Carpentras, a school in Belfort, and a Catholic church in Romans-sur-Isere. Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, a retired Renault auto worker, was murdered on November 7, the night that the riots peaked.

By the night of November 17, French authorities declared that order had been restored, saying that the previous night's 98 torched vehicles corresponded to the usual average. When only 98 vehicles burn, this a return to normalcy.

Right now, I'm studying in Freiburg, Germany, a small city just a few minutes from the French border. The riots intrigued me. I was interested to know how the European press, public, and intelligensia would respond. This sort of thing was not supposed to happen in Europe, particularly not in France, the home of "liberté, égalité, fraternité". When Hurricane Kathrina hit Louisiana, the European press covered it ad naseum, and most of the Europeans I talked to told me that the Katrina revealed everything that was wrong with America: lack of governmental assistance, racism, inequality, poverty, and the general brutishness of the American people. That sort of thing doesn't happen in enlightened Europe, I was told. Europeans are generally not racist, they don't have the massive gulf between rich and poor that we do, their social "saftey net" doesn't allow people to fall through the cracks, and Europeans are just all-around more civilized.

As former French President François Mitterrand remarked during the 1992 LA riots, "There can be no comparison between us and what happens elsewhere," he assured his countrymen, "for France is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world." That's right, it can't happen in France. They take care of their people, unlike the savage American capitalism that exploits minorities, the poor, and the working class.

Then France exploded. I wanted to know how it would be portrayed: would they downplay it, or would they apply the same logic to the French riots that they did to Hurricane Katrina?
Well, a little bit of both. Although the riots did receive press attention, I believe that they would have attracted a lot more if they had occured in the US, rather than in Europe. But it wasn't entrirely ignored. Recently, I attended a panel discussion at the University of Freiburg on the subject of the French riots. I sat for two hours while stuffy professors gave the same remedies and explanations that I figured they would. According to them, the French riots are a result of great social injustice, police harrassment, and racism (funny, I thought those were confined to the United States). Their solution to the problem was two-prong: first, the French government needs to "invest" more in these neighborhoods. And secondly, they need a system of "postitve discrimination" to get jobs for ethnic minorities.

This is exactly the wrong solution and represents the close-mindedness of the liberal mind. Their first presumption is that if people are rioting, they must have a legitimate grievance. In fact, when riots occur, it is obviously the rioters themselves who are the victims. In order to prevent such occurences in the future, the government needs to determine their grievances, and then bend over backwards to give them whatever they want.

Using this logic, the panel members came to the conclusion that the French need to "invest" more money in their poor neighborhoods. It sounded like they were suggesting that the French need more hand-outs. Don't the French have enough of those? France is border-line socialist, and their anti-growth economic and social policies have made the French economy go stagnant, registering almost no growth over the last ten years. Economic growth reached a whopping 0.1% in the second quarter of 2005, and will probably not reach 2% for the year.

Sorry, but France has already enancted all of the policies that were supposed to prevent this sort of thing. As President Mitterand said, "France is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world". It's the "social protection" that's killing them. French workers can collect unemployment benefits of 57% to 75% of their pay for up to three years. The French have startling high payroll taxes, worker "protections" that discourage hiring and growth, and they subsidize or price-control everything from baguette to daycare.

And what about this business of "postive discrimination"? Discrimination is never positive, Herr Professor. Yes, jobs are hard to come by in France, especially if you are a non-white Muslim. Unemployment is rather high in France, hitting 9.1% in June 2005, the most recent stastic I could find. Even though this level of unemployment would be intolerable by American standards, the French have grown used to it. Actually, unemployment has been much higher in the not so distant past, reaching 12.8% in 1997. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know why there are so many Frenchmen out of work either--you can thank the semi-socialist "worker's paradise" that the French have created for themselves. Or at least it would be a "worker's paradise", if anyone were actually working.

Yes, the unemployment rate of non-whites is staggering, but that is not to say that there are no white Frenchmen out of work. Indeed there are, and they are as frustrated and disgruntled as anyone else. Now imagine that they're out of work, and they are given second class treatment whenever they apply for a job. Soon, white Frenchmen named Jean-Luc will come to blame non-white Frenchmen named Muhammed for receiving special treatment. And they will be justified in thinking such a thing. To steal a cliche from the liberals, this would be used as a "recruiting tool" for radical hate groups and Jean-Marie Le Pen's extremist political party, Front National. No, discriminating against one group, indeed the largest group, is not a recipe for racial healing or understanding, especially at a time when there is fierce competition for work.

I can imagine being born in France around the end of the Second World War, back when France was a pretty homogeneous country. Over the the course of my lifetime, I would have witnessed a demographic revolution in my country. Chances are, I would not have liked it, either. At first, I would have been called a racist pig because I was under the false impression that the immigrants are different, and that their introduction into my society would invariably alter my culture. I would have been told that "people are just people", and that we're all the same inside. After millions of immigrants came to my country, and after their effect on my society was undeniable, I would still be called a racist pig because I was intolerant of people who are different. Then, after I watched my country explode in the Autumn of 2005, I would I would be called a racist again, because my country wasn't adapting well enough to the new multicultural reality. That's right, it's the responsibilty of the native French to adapt to the immigrant newcomers, not the other way around. As a Frenchman, I would already be forking over half of my paycheck to the government, but that would not be enough. I would be told that my government wasn't "investing enough" in poor neighborhoods, and that I should accept discrimination in the workplace. In fact, I should have supported both of these policies years ago, and the reason my country is burning down is because I failed to do so.

Well, you can keep your multiculturalism. I'd be just as happy living in the old France, back before I had to give immigrants special treament out of fear that they might torch my car.

I was hoping that the French riots would be a wakeup call to our European friends. And maybe some Europeans learned something from the riots, but it appears that others are stuck on stupid: they want more of the poison that's killing them. The last thing that the French (or the Germans, the Belgians, the Dutch) need is more socialism and more multiculturalism. I'll be praying for France and her neighbors.
 
  My three wives say you should keep your morals to yourself!
Judge Walter Steed is in hot water. Even though he has pledged to uphold the law, he is an unabashed polygamist, and it may cost him his job. Polygamy is illegal in all fifty states, including Steed’s home state of Utah, where it is a felony.

Nonetheless, Utah is home to a number of religious offshoot groups that endorse the practice of polygamy. Most of these religious groups have splintered off from the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (LDS), better known as the Mormons. The Mormons did allow polygamy within their religion until 1890, but have staunchly opposed it since then. Though many of these splinter groups may claim to be “the real Mormons”, they are not connected to the LDS church.

Steed’s defense is interesting: by his account, he’s being denied his “equal protection” under the law. Sound silly? Sure it does, but not one iota more silly than the 2003 Massachusetts SJC decision that declared that two men or two women can be joined in matrimony.

So far, my state has not been able to gather enough votes to democratically reverse what was so undemocratically shoved upon us. From the pro-gay “marriage” side, we hear over and over that it is a simple matter of equality. If straights can get married, then why not gays?

Well, I have a number of problems with that statement, but let’s take the argument at face value, and assume for a second that it makes sense. By the same standards by which homosexuals are being discriminated against, Walter Steed is too.

To hear the pro-gay side of the issue, you might think that there are no differences between men and women, which makes the opposite-sex requirement of the marriage contract seem rather arbitrary. Well, it isn’t arbitrary; marriage is, by definition, a union of a man and a woman. The reason a man can’t marry another man, is because two men cannot possibly constitute a married couple, despite what a ridiculous Boston court has to say about it. It’s like trying to say that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich now consists, by judicial decree of a Massachusetts court, of two parts peanut butter and no parts jelly.

But if the gender requirements of state-sanctioned marriage are arbitrary, I suppose the number requirement is too. Why should a marriage consist of only two?

As mentioned earlier, the LDS Church in Utah once sanctioned polygamy, and early leaders of the church Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both had multiple wives. This did not sit well with the rest of the nation, and became an issue when Utah applied for statehood.

America found polygamy despicable, and Congress made polygamy illegal in all US territories in 1862, a move clearly aimed at Mormons in Utah. The Mormons ignored Congress and continued the practice. Because the American public was so strongly opposed to polygamy, statehood for Utah was stalled until 1896, six years after church officials declared their opposition to polygamy. Indeed, the 1890 rejection of polygamy was a political move; they wanted statehood, and they knew that Utah would never be admitted to the union if they continued the practice.

Weren’t they protected by the First or Fourteenth Amendments? At the time, some Mormons argued just that, but were eventually defeated.

But I can’t reconcile that with the new Massachusetts gay “marriage” law. If you look at it with the same bizarre logic, it looks as if the Mormons are victims of a cut-and-dry religious discrimination. So what if the majority of American were opposed to the taking of many wives? They don’t have the right to shove their values on others, and limiting marriage for moral reasons is a violation of the “separation of church and state”. Isn’t that how the old argument goes?

Well, let’s apply that to Judge Steed today. He claims to be a Mormon, although he is not. He is a practitioner of his own religion, which is currently in rebellion against the LDS Church. Nonetheless, he has a right to practice his religion. If you don’t like the practice of marrying three wives, that’s fine. Then only marry one.

Walter Steed sees himself as the vanguard in a new civil rights movement, and he isn't alone. One pro-polygamy website proclaims: “Freely-consenting, adult, non-abusive, marriage-committed, POLYGAMY is the next civil rights battle. Lawrence v. Texas just guaranteed it!”
Lawrence v. Texas was the 2003 case in which the Supreme Court found another right in the Constitution that was apparently written in invisible ink. They decreed that adults have the right, under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to private relationships with other adults, without government intrusion. With the stroke of a pen, every anti-Sodomy law in the nation was struck down.

Polygamists have taken the court at its word. They want the government to butt out of their adult polyamorous relationships. By this logic, a polygamist could have multiple wives, all of his wives could have multiple husbands, and all of those husbands could have multiple wives. Throw a few bisexuals in there who have partners of both sexes, and we have a very tangled sexual web. Those participating in it would probably call it a family. I call it an orgy.

No, polygamy is probably not “the next civil rights battle”, and I don’t believe that limiting each person to one marriage partner is a violation of the Constitution. But if I hypothetically adopt the thought-process of the gay “marriage” crowd, I can’t seem to evade Steed’s logic. He has a point: we have been discriminating against polygamists for years. So let’s get our heads straight and tell Boston that a wedding will never consist of two brides or two grooms, no matter what a court has to say about.
 
Friday, December 16, 2005
  My country, always wrong
It seems as if my use of the term "anti-Americanism" is an invitation for liberals to bite my head off. Every time I utter the phrase, I am immediately scolded for confusing legitimate criticism of American policies with being an "America-hater".

To be sure, there is a difference between legitimate criticism of our country and "anti-Americanism". I can criticize the United States with the best of them, and do so when I see fit. I condemn, for example, our history of slavery, our atrocious treatment of the American Indians, our abandonment of the South Vietnamese people, our thirty-three year (and on-going) atrocity against unborn children, and our status as the leading contributer to the hopelessly corrupt UN.

What is anti-Americanism? It's the endless pursuit of American guilt, the idea that we have been wrong at all times and all places, and that no matter what happens tomorrow, we'll be wrong then, too.

It's kind of like playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"; the anti-American Left delights in finding a way to trace all human suffering, anywhere on earth, back to the United States. With a nihilistic attitude and a lot of tortured logic, anybody can play.

As noted America-hater Noam Chomsky writes "So when people talk about Israeli attrocities or Turkish attrocities, they should be talking about US attrocities, because that is where they come from." For this reason, Chomsky can refer to "Clinton-backed Turkish terror" and "US-backed Chinese invasion".

As Daniel J. Flynn writes "It matters little if the conflicts... involve no US military support. If we trade with or provide aid to nations pursuing policies Chomsky objects to, then he blames America... On the rare occasion that America has withheld aid and restricted trade, such as with interbellum Iraq, Chomsky introduces a catchall phrase, blaming America for not trading or giving aid..."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. That's Anti-Americanism. And the embargo on Iraq between the wars is a prime example of this.

After Gulf War I, Saddam Hussein was not allowed to trade with the world because he has a bad habit of diverting all of his nation's wealth to dangerous weaponry. But living under an embargo was difficult for the Iraqi people, crippling its economy. Despite the fact that food and medicine were expempted under the sanctions (UN Resolution 661), a reported 1.7 million Iraqis died under the embargo. This figure is hard to believe, since it comes from the Iraqi government itself, and was used by Saddam as a propoganda piece against the "Zionist Anglo-American Alliance", in order to persuade the world that the sanctions needed to be lifted. Nonethless, the figure was gobbled up by the Left and frequently circulated as established fact, when in fact it is not.

And it was all America's fault too. Should we have allowed Saddam to trade? Certainly not. Sure, a few more scraps might have trickled down to his people, but Saddam would have used most of the profits for weapons which he would use to kill his own people. And that would have been a "US-backed atrocity".

But not to worry, Chomsky. In 1997, the UN, with the blessing of the United States, established the Oil-for-Food program. Iraq would be allowed to export oil, so long as it recieved payment only in food, medicine, and humanitarian goods (although food and medicine were never prohibited under UN 661).

It turned into the biggest monetary scandal in world history. Saddam skimmed off the top, bought friends in foreign governments and in the press, and the Iraqi people got inedible food and expired medicine. Big wigs at the UN profited nicely as well.

So the era of Iraqi sanctions can really be split in two: pre-"Oil-for-food", and post-"Oil-for-food". I don't blame the US for deaths occuring pre-"Oil-for-food"; I blame Saddam. He could have stopped them in a second, and chose not to. And there is no rational way to blame America for any death occuring after 1997, although I'm sure that Chomsky will have it figured out by the time his next book goes to press. For deaths in the post-"Oil-for-food" era, I blame the UN and anyone whose palm was greased by Iraq's fascist government. And I blame Saddam Hussein.

Well, the sanctions were lifted as soon as Saddam was unseated. Thank you, Iraqi Freedom troops. As much as I thought the statistic about embargo deaths was bogus in the first place, let's assume that it's true. In that case, we have saved 326,923 lives by invading Iraq and removing the government against which the sanctions applied. That's the number of people who would have died in two and a half years, if we apply the yearly average of 130,769 deaths (1.7 million, divided by twelve years gives the average number of deaths per year under the sanctions. Multiply that by the two and half years that we've been in Iraq, and you get 326,923). And we didn't have to allow Saddam to arm himself in order to do it.

Pages could be filled with the caustic, contradictory, and almost schizophrenic accusations of the prophets of anti-Americanism. Don't be fooled for a second that such criticisms are fueled by a genuine desire to build a better America. It's pure bile that does not deserve to be taken seriously. So when you hear me calling anti-Americanism by its name, don't assume I mean that every leftie is a traitor. I don't take issue with reasoned dissent, I just have a problem with those on the Left who follow the motto, "my country, always wrong." It just happens that this type of leftist represents about ninety-five percent of the Left.
 
  The reason
Well, I like to write for The Daily Collegian. And sometimes The Daily Collegian is not good enough. Sometimes they slash my articles, sometimes they don't print them and won't respond to my emails, asking for an explanation. Other times, I just can't express what I have to say in the (sometimes flexible, sometimes inflexible) eight hundred word limit. Furthermore, I can write articles a lot faster than The Daily Collegian can print them.

So here it is: the blog where I get to express myself. When I get published in the paper, I will post a link here. When I write something that is too long for the paper, or whathaveyou, I will post it here.

When you're right, you're right!
 

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