Friday, April 6, 2007


Don't know if you have seen this strip.... I enjoy it. They cut thru a lot of clutter.... Much funnier than Trudeau was in his pre-Samoa days and now his Hampton/Jane Pauley- Darling-Days have made him boring...No smiles in his direction in decades... Falling for the Bush-Derangement-Syndrome Hoax was almost funny. When you hate it's hard to have share perspective... D-b-D, OTOH has cracked me up within the last week....

A conservative comic strip?..... Conservatives are really the underground now. We have to find each other in the ether of the internet, read each other, listen to our own music and laugh at our cartoons..... GEE-! It's just like 1965 with the roles reversed and new technology... Now if we could only get an explosion of decent music... The grocery store plays some great 1958-1968 music... Its hard not to dance in the aisles... Will we ever have Diddy in the elevator? Blenderized Beyonce and background 50cent?..... I doan think I'll make it that long..... Shifting gears... I've had Pete Fountain playing clarinet around the house for the last 2-3 days... If you don't know him, you should. If you do, you should get reacquainted...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

War With no Name Cont'd

Correction received:

First of all, the Eagles didn't do "A Horse With No Name," that was America, and if you're going to mix that song up with the wrong group, the song was really a clone of Neil Young's "Harvest" soundscape and not an imitation of the Eagles early work at all. It's a stupid-ass song, but the chord trick is pretty neat: switching from an E minor to some mystery chord (a 13th? I can't remember...) by moving each finger of the Em outwards one string (same fret, though). It's a cool progression, but a stupid-ass song. The ocean is a desert, my ass. The ocean is WATER, you dumb-ass hippies! Thank g*d punk rock came along and turned the world day-glo, is all I can say.

And Then

Suffice to say: you will fight them now, or you will fight them later....but you WILL fight them. Even if the USA returns to a 9/10 mindset, our enemies will NOT. Read OBL's fatwas: this mook means what he says. When high-level Iranian government meetings begin and end with chants of "Death to America, death to Israel," what, exactly, do you think that they mean by that? Do you think they mean it IRONICALLY? Or that there's some post-modernist Derridian subtext wherein "death" means something else entirely, or "America" is to be interpreted as emblematic of post-World War II European philosophical malaise?

Hotel Tango: Draftervoi

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong..... Not so sure bout that "hippie" bit... But otherwise...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

War Without End: Prisoners Without Rights

The ongoing debate about what to do with the detainees boiled over in the pages of the WSJ Opinion Journal. Specifically, between James Taranto and Anthony D'Amato. The following is from the Opinion Journal... Emphasis and comments are mine...

Do Terrorists Deserve Special Rights?
Our item yesterday on law professor Anthony D'Amato's opposition to treating al Qaeda detainees pursuant to the Geneva Conventions, prompted this response from reader Jonathan Hawkins, who defends D'Amato's position:

What Bush is doing at Guantanamo is abhorrent to democracy and abhorrent to classically liberal values. It is more in line with the values shown by courts in the Middle East. We need to be better than they are, not equal to. (How so? Why? No support for this position. Just a summation-AJ)

You mention that Mr. Mohammed is "merely" undergoing an Article 5 tribunal. But Article 5 tribunals were designed in the context of wars which had a conceivable end. This one does not. How, then, can you miss that the declaration of Mr. Mohammed as an enemy combatant allows the administration to lock him up for as long as it is convenient for them to do so? And doesn't that create an extrajudicial detention, something more in common with autocracy than with the republican democracy we strive for? (What is the solution?-AJ)

To put it another way, if we have such great intel on what he was responsible for, why can't we just try him in a legitimate court and win? (Rules of evidence-soldiers are not police officers nor vice versa-AJ) Is the government that scared of their case's inadequacies? Is the government so incapable of protecting its sources and methods that it cannot suffer them to be even hinted at in publicly available parts of the trial? Or, as both conservatives and liberals should fear, does the government believe itself to be above the law?

Hypothetically speaking, Mr. Taranto, in such a world of military tribunals and never-ending "conflicts," what's to stop a similar Democratic administration from declaring you an enemy combatant and locking you up forever? This sword cuts both ways, and Mr. Bush, of whom you are apparently a fan, won't always be in office. We hope.

The central argument here is that the Geneva Conventions' provision allowing enemy combatants to be detained for the duration of the conflict is unjust if the war does not have "a conceivable end." This is perverse. (The alternative is to "Take-No-Prisoners" which is an option only in a video game. Not taking prisoners would go against everything that is American. we could ot do that and still have American Soldiers as the world knows and loves-AJ)

Hawkins is claiming that because al Qaeda has declared what appears to be a war without end (a war in which combatants on its side adhere to no rules of civliized conduct), those combatants are entitled to more rights than soldiers in a legitimate war: namely, all the rights enjoyed by defendants in the civilian criminal-justice system, including the right to go free unless criminal culpability is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. (Back to the terrorism-as-crime mentality. This brings about rules of evidence, chain of custody, rights of the accused, defense intervention, etc. No war is fought with those restrictions. The enemy does not offer these-AJ)

Hawkins then raises the specter of a future Democratic administration declaring this columnist an enemy combatant. To say the least, this is a remote and theoretical concern, and it does not trouble us at all. The Bush administration has never designated a domestic critic an enemy combatant, and we find implausible the suggestion that even an administration inclined to do so could get away with it.

On the other hand, we can think of quite a few cases in which overzealous prosecutors have abused the criminal-justice system, prosecuting innocent people for political ends, and sometimes winning convictions. Hawkins's faith in the criminal-justice system seems naive in light of his irrational objections to the treatment of enemy combatants in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Homer nods: We accidentally cut off the end of Anthony D'Amato's email in yesterday's column. We quickly corrected it, but for the benefit of our email subscribers, his conclusion should have read: "Mr. Taranto might wish to explain to his readers the difference between sentenced for life at a jury trial and sentenced for life at an administrative hearing. In the meantime, if I'm a red baiter, then Mr. Taranto is a bait and switcher."

Sadly......Nobody who opposes Guantanamo and open ended detention for enemy combatants has a solution. They offer no options. They want the police to replace soldiers. they want a CSI team to investigate each civilian atrocity they commit. They want legal protections, rights and strict rules of evidence to be given by people who are under attack or who are in the process of killing the enemy... Open ended detention is the best option. They want the rights and privileges of a civil society but reject the rule of law, laws of society and status of combatant (uniforms, not attacking civilians, no chemical weapons, etc) plus the protections of a prisoner of war... Someone would have to sign a treaty and abide by its terms... In the absence of grown-up national sovereignty to represent these killers, we are all left with the open ended detention...

War With No Name

The House being run by "She Who Must Be Obeyed" trying to shut down the "War With No Name".... With the famous herds of cats citing Rumpole saying "I Say What I Think And Do As I'm Told" on the Sunday chat shows.... It seems as if we have American Foreign Policy being scripted by the Brits. They are entertaining and imaginative in their use of language and plot devices... The WSJ Opinion Journal offers the following citations and opinion (I have added some emphasis and comments):

'The War That Must Not Be Named'
A story in the Military Times gives a window into the strategic thinking--or lack thereof--of the Democrats who now control the House:

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.

This is not because the war has been won, lost or even called off, but because the committee's Democratic leadership doesn't like the phrase.

A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should be specific about military operations and "avoid using colloquialisms."

The "global war on terror," a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the "long war," which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years.

Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administration's catch phrases. The memo, written by Staff Director Erin Conaton, provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as "the war in Iraq," the "war in Afghanistan, "operations in the Horn of Africa" or "ongoing military operations throughout the world."

A Republican aide quips, "If you are a reader of the Harry Potter books, you might describe this as the war that must not be named." But underlying this semantic argument is a serious question--one that shows why the Democratic Party cannot be trusted with national security.

There are valid reasons to quibble with the phrase "global war on terror"--primarily the last word, which focuses on the enemy's tactical approach rather than on its identity, ideology and strategic goals. (A hodge-podge of outlaws with no single nationality, no clear goals, no strategic plan, offering only random violence against soft easy civilian targets; Looks like the best term is "terrorist" . -AJ)

What the Democrats object to, however, is the idea that it is a "global war." In particular, they are trying to sell the fantasy that Iraq is a discrete problem with no relation to any broader conflict--so that surrendering in Iraq would have no deleterious consequences for U.S. national security.

It would be nice for Americans (albeit brutal for Iraqis) if the U.S. could simply cut its losses and abandon Iraq. But it seems to us there is far more wisdom in the holistic approach of the "global war." America has failed to engage its enemies, or tactically retreated when the going got tough, repeatedly since Vietnam: Iran in 1979, Lebanon in 1983, Iraq in 1991, Somalia in 1993. ( When we Surrender And Run Away (SARA) this time will anyone be surprised? What about the next attack? Who will get the blame for that one? Will we bother with a response? When will we no longer react or respond? Why bother?-AJ)

There is ample reason to think that these shows of weakness--or, more precisely, of irresoluteness--emboldened America's enemies. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provided strong--at the time, seemingly irrefutable--evidence that taking the easy way out did not enhance American national security. (That's true. But it's too hard. It breaks into our TV time. We're too busy being bored, hanging out, hooking up, finding a new job. We can't be bothered to remove the threat and avoid a repeat-AJ)

America seems dangerously close to a tipping point: a return to the 9/10 mindset that led to 9/11. It may be that President Bush's steadfastness is the only thing standing in the way, and that his departure from the scene in January 2009 will leave a more timid America.

Or, more optimistically, it may be that the current opposition to the "global war" is less about the war itself than about partisanship and Bush-hatred--and that its apparent gain in strength is really only a reflection of the president's political weakness late in his term.

If this is the case, then President Bush's successor, be he Democrat or Republican, will be likely to take a more realistic view of the world than the House Democrats are now doing. Bush's policies, once untethered to Bush himself, may prove more resilient than many of his detractors now expect.

Re-arranging the furniture, changing the names.... Whenever a public company does this I bail out of the stock... It is a clear signal that the problems are not large, the leadership has no reason to be in the leadership, there are no goals to be accomplished, the rest of their career will be spent justifying their existence by making things look different... The assumption being that looking different solves problems... The competition knows better. They are busy solving problems, finding new customers, inventing new technologies...

Would the Eagles ride a "Horse With No Name" to a War With No Name?

Smooth [Kathryn Jean Lopez] (from NRO Offers the following citations without comment-AJ)

RNC is accusing the Dems of mimicing Rosie in their no global war on terror move:

Last Week, Rosie O'Donnell Attacked Use Of "War On Terror" Phrase:

Actress And Guest Co-Host Marcia Gay Harden Called The Phrase "Propaganda." "But even you worded a 'war on terror,' personally that is propaganda. ... Don't like the wording of it like that." (ABC's "The View," 3/29/07)

Rosie O'Donnell Agreed: "Exactly, Marcia Gay. Thank you. ... It makes people into evil and good." (ABC's "The View," 3/29/07)

  • O'Donnell: "I'm saying that in America we're fed propaganda and if you want to know what's happening in the world go outside of the U.S. media because it's owned by four corporations. One of them is this one. And you know what; go outside of the country to find out what's going on in our own country because it's frightening. It's frightening." (ABC's "The View," 3/29/07)

Click Here To Watch Rosie's "View" On The "War On Terror"

If the American News is slanted and biased-Who is buying the ads? Who is paying for the podium that Rosie stands upon? Then; Who is buying the products that she is advertising?

If the global news organizations (American and worldwide) don't trust the Administration or the US Military to provide information; Where do they get the "facts" they provide? Are terrorists (Outlaws) found in alleys and sidewalks, really more trustworthy, honest and forthcoming with facts than those who can be held accountable?

Alice never had anything like this in her tumble through the looking glass... The Red Queen was quite specific about conduct and consequences.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Economics Ain't Politics

From today' mail comes the Mises Institute latest thought leader. Selected exerpts, comments and emphasis added as follows;

Economics versus Politics

By Frank Chodorov

Posted on 4/3/2007
Subscribe at email services, tell others, or Digg this story.

This article is excerpted from Chapter 1 of The Rise and Fall of Society.

It may be that wary beasts of the forest come around to accepting the hunter's trap as a necessary concomitant of foraging for food. At any rate, the presumably rational human animal has become so inured to political interventions that he cannot think of the making of a living without them; in all his economic calculations his first consideration is, what is the law in the matter? Or, more likely, how can I make use of the law to improve my lot in life?

This may be described as a conditioned reflex. It hardly occurs to us that we might do better operating under our own steam, within the limits put upon us by nature, and without political restraints, controls, or subventions. It never enters our minds that these interventionary measures are placed in our path, like the trap, for purposes diametrically opposed to our search for a better living. We automatically accept them as necessary to that purpose.

And so it has come to pass that those who write about economics begin with the assumption that it is a branch of political science. Our current textbooks, almost without exception, approach the subject from a legal standpoint: how do men make a living under the prevailing laws? (Entrepreneurs, I know,look to the grey, barely legal areas where laws and regulations are few and illenforced for opportunity-AJ) It follows, and some of the books admit it, that if the laws change, economics must follow suit. It is for that reason that our college curricula are loaded down with a number of courses in economics, each paying homage to the laws governing different human activities; thus we have the economics of merchandising, the economics of real-estate operations, the economics of banking, agricultural economics, and so on.

Economics is not politics. One is a science, concerned with the immutable and constant laws of nature that determine the production and distribution of wealth; the other is the art of ruling. One is amoral, the other is moral. Economic laws are self-operating and carry their own sanctions, as do all natural laws, while politics deals with man-made and man-manipulated conventions. As a science, economics seeks understanding of invariable principles; politics is ephemeral, its subject matter being the day-to-day relations of associated men. Economics, like chemistry, has nothing to do with politics.

The intrusion of politics into the field of economics is simply an evidence of human ignorance or arrogance, and is as fatuous as an attempt to control the rise and fall of tides. Since the beginning of political institutions, there have been attempts to fix wages, control prices, and create capital, all resulting in failure. Such undertakings must fail because the only competence of politics is in compelling men to do what they do not want to do or to refrain from doing what they are inclined to do, and the laws of economics do not come within that scope. They are impervious to coercion. Wages and prices and capital accumulations have laws of their own, laws which are beyond the purview of the policeman.

The assumption that economics is subservient to politics stems from a logical fallacy. Since the state (the machinery of politics) can and does control human behavior, and since men are always engaged in the making of a living, in which the laws of economics operate, it seems to follow that in controlling men the state can also bend these laws to its will. The reasoning is erroneous because it overlooks consequences.(Witness the current budget proposed by Democrats-AJ) It is an invariable principle that men labor in order to satisfy their desires, or that the motive power of production is the prospect of consumption; in fact, a thing is not produced until it reaches the consumer. (And a price is not a price until it is agreed by willing buyer and willing seller-AJ)

Hence, when the state intervenes in the economy, which it always does by way of confiscation, it hinders consumption and therefore production. The output of the producer is in proportion to his intake. It is not willfulness that brings about this result; it is the working of an immutable natural law. The slave does not consciously "lay down on the job"; he is a poor producer because he is a poor consumer. (Or welfare recipient who has been marinalized and warehoused by a "caring" society-AJ)

The Welfare State is in fact an oligarchy of bureaucrats who, in return for the perquisites and prestige of office, undertake to confiscate and redistribute production according to formulae of their own imagination, with utter disregard of the principle that production must fall in the amount of the confiscation. It is interesting to note that all welfarism starts with a program of distribution — control of the market place with its price technique — and ends up with attempts to manage production; that is because, contrary to their expectations, the laws of economics are not suspended by their political interference, prices do not respond to their dicta, and in an effort to make their preconceived notions work they apply themselves to production, and there too they fail.

The story of the American state is instructive. Its birth was most auspicious, being midwifed by a coterie of men unusually wise in the history of political institutions and committed to the safeguarding of the infant from the mistakes of its predecessors. Apparently, none of the blemishes of tradition marked the new state. It was not burdened with the inheritance of a feudal or a caste system. It did not have to live down the doctrine of "divine right" nor was it marked with the scars of conquest that had made the childhood of other states difficult. It was fed on strong stuff: Rousseau's doctrine that government derived its powers from the consent of the governed, Voltaire's freedom of speech and thought, Locke's justification of revolution, and, above all, the doctrine of inherent rights. There was no regime of status to stunt its growth. In fact, everything was de novo. (Note the word "was". Things have changed-AJ)

Every precautionary measure known to political science was taken to prevent the new American state from acquiring the self-destructive habit of every state known to history, that of interfering with man's pursuit of happiness. The people were to be left alone, to work out their individual destinies with whatever capacities nature had endowed them. Toward that end, the state was surrounded with a number of ingenious prohibitions and limitations. Not only were its functions clearly defined, but any inclination to go beyond bounds was presumably restrained by a tripartite division of authority, while most of the interventionary powers which the state employs were reserved for the authorities closer to the governed and therefore more amenable to their will; by the divisive principle of imperium in imperio it was forever, presumably, deprived of the monopoly position necessary to a state on the rampage. Better yet, it was condemned to get along on a meager purse; its powers of taxation were neatly circumscribed.(Well it was a good idea at the time. Some still think so-AJ) It did not seem possible, in 1789, for the American state to do much in the way of interfering with the economy of the nation; it was constitutionally weak and off balance.(On purpose. It was supposed to remain so. However, we humans like stabliliity and predictability for those in power-AJ )

The ink was hardly dry on the Constitution before its authors, now in position of authority, began to rewrite it by interpretation, to the end that its bonds would loosen. The yeast of power that is imbedded in the state was in fermentation. The process of judicial interpretation, continued to the present day, was later supplemented by amendment; the effect of nearly all the amendments, since the first ten (which were written into the Constitution by social pressure), was to weaken the position of the several state governments and to extend the power of the central government. (When was the last time you heard of a fight over "States Rights"?-AJ) Since state power can grow only at the expense of social power, the centralization which has been going on since 1789 has pushed American society into that condition of subservience which the Constitution was intended to prevent.

Frank Chodorov (1887–1966) was a journalist of the Old Right. Murray Rothbard wrote, "The outstanding disciple of his beloved mentor, the great libertarian Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov, again unlike his 'libertarian' colleagues, never forgot for an instant that the State is the great predatory enemy of the human race, that the State is, in its very being, the organization and regularization of predation, exploitation, and robbery." Comment on the blog. ( Go visit-AJ)

I dislike quoting so much. I worry about copyright and infringement. I also worry about long posts boring the reader.... However, when a topic comes around that is so pertinent and germane to the major issues of our daily headlines, I feel the need to share.