Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, May 31, 2003

I always jump at the chance to read articles on how things are going in post-war Iraq. The Opinion Journal feature linked to is much more encouraging than the television reports I see although it's clear that there is much to be done in Iraq. Here's a sample:

"And apart from the few gunmen--die-hard Baathists or foreign jihadis probably--still targeting coalition soldiers and robbing foreign journalists, people don't seem at all unhappy about the presence of American troops on their streets. If anything, the complaint is that there aren't enough. There is no doubt that Iraqis have, as Vice President Dick Cheney predicted, welcomed us "as liberators."

Also:

"Citizens spouting near-fluent English and holding degrees from European or American universities accost visitors with their hopes for the new Iraq. "Tell Mr. Bush . . ." they say. "I want to thank Mr. Bush and the Americans for helping liberate our country . . . and all countries that help the American people and stand with them for giving us the happiness . . . ."

And here's a very interesting tidbit (notice how the writer doesn't mention any names because the accusation can't be proved):

"One of the Baghdadis eager to tell his story is a former agent of Iraq's intelligence service, or Mukhabarat. He has effectively turned himself in to Mr. Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. He says that Saddam used money from illegal oil sales to buy off a U.N. weapons inspector, and names a well-known figure. He also offers details of plans to bribe two U.S. congressmen, though he is not sure that the money ever changed hands. He has no documents to back up his allegations, but his identity checks out."

Finally, I have to include this:

"On the street, opinion of Iraq's would-be leaders is decidedly more skeptical--perhaps understandable in a country that has not learned to expect great things from politicians. "No to \[Shiite religious leader\] Hakim, no to Chalabi," is a common refrain. "I want America to stay here . . . kill Saddam and stay." Of all the preconceptions I had before my visit, the idea that Iraqis would demand a provisional government of their own at the earliest possible date was most wrong.

America has a surprising amount of trust among the Iraqi people to work with, but the coalition's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance does not inspire much confidence."

Friday, May 30, 2003

Joel Engel makes a great point about celebrities such as Sean Penn and Danny Glover whining about McCarthyism and how they are being oppressed for expressing an unpopular opinion. To which Engel replies:

"Glover and Penn can't seem to get that. And given how relentlessly the issue keeps popping up, they probably won't unless they ask themselves how they'd expect the public to react if, say, Julia Roberts decided to endorse David Duke for president."

Indeed. Would it be okay for people to boycott Julia Roberts movies if we suddenly found out that she was endorsing David Duke for president? Not according to Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and Danny Glover.

Stupid Hollywood leftists.

Ann Coulter has another of her typically brilliant and devastating pieces. This time she's writing about global warming:

"In 1998, President Clinton denounced Republicans for opposing his environmental policies, citing Florida's inordinately warm weather: "June was the hottest month they had ever had – hotter than any July or August they had ever had." This, after the Senate rejected the Kyoto Treaty by the slender margin of 95-0. In fact, all the world's major industrial powers initially rejected the treaty, including Japan. That's right: Even Kyoto rejected Kyoto.

That same year, CNN's Margaret Carlson remarked that when her neighbors experienced temperate weather at Christmas, global warming was the word on everyone's lips. Adding to the world's supply of hot air, she said global warming was the big sleeper issue.

Well, this year, Washington, D.C., had the coldest February in a quarter-century. What are the scientific conclusions of Ms. Carlson's neighbors now? In a single day in February, New York got its fourth-deepest snowfall since 1869. Baltimore got more snow in February than in any other month in recorded history. I wish there were global warming."

There's more:

"In January 2002, the journal Science published the findings of scientists who had been measuring the vast West Antarctic ice sheet. Far from melting, it turns out the ice sheet is growing thicker. The researchers were Dr. Ian R. Joughin, an engineer at the jet propulsion laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Pasadena, Calif., and Dr. Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

About the same time, the journal Nature published the findings of scientist Peter Doran and his colleagues at the University of Illinois. Rather than using the U.N.'s "computer models," the researchers took actual temperature readings. It turned out temperatures in the Antarctic have been getting slightly colder – not warmer – for the last 30 years."

I've said this before: A lot of the global warming hysterics has been nothing more than a way to keep environmental bureaucrats at the U.N. and at various governmental agencies in well-paying, prestigious jobs that allows them to fly around the world on environmental missions.

I've also said this: I'm not saying human induced changes in the environment isn't happening; it well could be. But solutions such as the Kyoto Treaty were knee jerk reactions and, it appears, if we had implemented those solutions we would have, as the evidence now suggests, devastated the U.S. and world economy unnecessarily.

This whole global warming scare should make us all more wary of non-governmental and governmental bureaucrats who have a stake in these issues. They're human too. They will do what is in their best interest and that includes falsifying or exaggerating data to protect jobs or their reputations.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Tammy Bruce has a great piece on the political philosophy that lead to the Jayson Blair scandal at The New York Times:

"When Perpetual Victimhood keeps young black men especially from being able to succeed, it's inevitable in the view of Leftists, that only incompetent young black men are available. Of course, that's not their fault, the Left argues. It wasn't Jayson Blair's fault either, you see. No, it's the fault of everyone else. As a result, Howell Raines, in all of his insulting, myopic, cloying Leftist pandering, is only able to see and promote and embrace a young black man as unfit as Blair.

That's why a 22-year-old Ward Connerly or Thomas Sowell would never be able to get in the front door of the Times. Young black men who think differently, challenge the status quo and by their very existence contradict the Leftist worldview, are invisible to patronizing buffoons like Raines. God help us, they might not even be Leftists, "liberal," and they might even see Jesse Jackson and Maxine Waters for the circus clowns they really are."

Victimhood is at the root of affirmative action.

I know this might seem racist, but it has to be said. If I had a sick or seriously injured loved one in a hospital's emergency room and a black doctor was assigned to the case I would have to ask myself: "Do I want to take the chance that this doctor was an affirmative action student and/or hire? Do I want to take the chance that this person is less qualified and that he was admitted into medical school because of the color of his skin?"

Call that racist or unfair or whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is that those questions would come into my mind and that is the problem with affirmative action. I would not want an affirmative action doctor treating my loved one and any black person would immediately fall into question. If the problem were serious enough, I would, as prudence would demand, ask for another doctor. And I would tell the doctor if he asked, "You can thank affirmative action for my lack of confidence."

According to SFGate.com, the Democratic National Committee has laid off 10 black staffers and Donna Brazile is outraged:

"I'm just outraged," said Donna Brazile, who served as Al Gore's campaign manager in the last presidential election and is also the chairwoman of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute. "They started reading me the names and I said 'Oh, oh -- they're all black. I went through the roof."'

I wish there was some context within this story. I mean, are Democrats never allowed to layoff black staffers? The report indicates that there are approximately 100 staffers at party headquarters. What percentage of those workers are black? If there are 70 black employees and they laid off 10, then Donna Brazile is wrong to be raising hell. But if there are 20 minority workers and they laid off 10 then maybe she has a right to complain.

I wish I had the percentages because my gut is telling me that Donna Brazile and other black leaders are complaining because they believe it's always wrong to lay off or fire black workers. The ugly charge of racism is probably lurking just below the surface ready to rise up the very next time any black person is disciplined or fired at the Democratic National headquarters.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

For at least the past 20 months Michael Ledeen has argued that Iran represents the greatest threat to the U.S. In column after column he has ended with an almost trademark plea ("Faster please!") to the Bush administration to move more quickly to confront and eliminate the threat the mullahs represent to the Middle East, the U.S. and the world at large. Ledeen became almost hysterical at one point because the U.S. State Department seemed inclined to view Iran as a non-threat. Indeed a senior State Department official, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, nearly drove Ledeen to apoplexy when he pronounced Iran a democracy.

In Ledeen's latest piece for National Review, you can almost feel the whoosh of relief from the Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen has virtually been alone in his insistence that Iran is the number one supporter of terrorism in the world. He has argued quite forcefully that it was Iran, not Iraq or North Korea, that must be ultimately dealt with if the war against terror was to be won.

I sense in this column that something profound has changed. Ledeen has changed from making the argurments as to why something must be done to how it must be done. I can tell that he now views the administration's position as being dramatically changed and that now something will be done. His relief is palpable.

Pay close attention to Iran in the coming months. That nation has had an almost revolutionary atmosphere for more than a year now. The young people of that country are fed up with a theocratic government that arrests them for holding hands in public and which offers very few opportunities for them to improve their lives.

Many people on the left insist that Iranians hate Americans because of our support for the Shah in the 1970's, but the fact is that the young people don't even remember those days. They want a western form of government as their recent demonstrations have proved. In fact, many openly wish the U.S. military in Iraq would help them overthrow the mullahs. They marched in sympathy with the U.S. in the aftermath of the the September 11th attacks. They are ready and eager for a brighter future. There is a general strike scheduled in early July, 2003. That may offer the Iranian people the best opportunity to realize that brighter future if we support them properly.

Ledeen is more optimistic about Iran than I can ever recall. If he is optimistic, I am optimistic.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Time magazine online has a piece that details the brutality of Saddam's two sons. Okay, to be fair, Uday was much worse, but Qusay was no saint by any stretch of the imagination.

After I read this disgusting article in the Guardian, I sent the author the following letter:

"Mr. Jacques

I just read your piece in the online Guardian.

All that we ever expect from Russia or Iraq or any of the other nations of the world is for the people of those countries to be able to choose what form of government they will have. And to be able to elect who will represent them in free and fair elections That's it. You and your kind are simply upset that you can't rule with an iron fist like your heroes Stalin and Lenin did. You want to be able to dictate to people and if they complain you want to slaughter, starve or imprison them a la Stalin.

That's what you leftists want. You want total control without those bothersome elections. You do know what's best for the people don't you? Those poor bastards don't know that you know best so if you have to slaughter a few hundred million, c'est la vie. They should have kept their mouths shut if they didn't want to die.

Ah, the good old days when you could slaughter a few million for daring to speak up. Or maybe you preferred the gulag's in Siberia. I bet you weep at the thought of those golden days of ideological intolerance. How perfect you must have viewed the slaughter of those poor peasants who disagreed with your particular brand of leftism. They had it coming didn't they? They should have kept quiet because, as we all know, you leftists know what is best.

Your a political dinosaur. All that you believe is dying is slow, painful death and you don't have the vision to see it. That you don't know that makes it even more delightful to me.

Sean Roper"