Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent piece on America's return to the mean:

"First, less than a month after September 11, the Bush administration went right into Afghanistan on October 7 — a vital response taken without much military aid from our allies and with plenty of criticism from elites both here and abroad.

Second, very soon afterward, there arose cries of "quagmire" over the purportedly slow progress of the Northern Alliance. In response, the administration simply pressed on, kept to the plan, and ignored crazy trial balloons such as U.N. ceasefires, coalition governments with the Taliban, and Islamic peacekeepers.

Third, the decision to ostracize Mr. Arafat was long overdue — how can a current terrorist habitually bunk at the White House? — but it took courage nonetheless.

Fourth, Mr. Rumsfeld's revolutionary reappraisal of bases in Europe was perhaps not pretty, but ultimately was beneficial for both them and us. When he says he is "contemplating" adjusting our "footprint," he really does mean redeploying or withdrawing troops, not polite chitchat at Euro-conferences. He is a different sort, in other words, than the last dozen or so defense secretaries.

Fifth, the reexamination of the Korean crisis caused allies, neutrals, and enemies to grasp that the old game of bribery and Sunshine silliness was at last ending.

Sixth, the decision to attack Saddam Hussein — in the face of hysterical threats of "tens of thousands" killed, "millions of refugees," and the Armageddon to come from the Arab Street — finally addressed the entire decade-long charade of broken agreements, no-fly zones, lying, aid to terrorists, and future security threats.

Seventh, in the face of further panic over the supposed "quagmire" and "too few troops on the ground," we nevertheless kept with the plan and had crushed our Baathist adversaries within three weeks.

Eighth, American determination in the mess of postwar Iraq has remained steady amid the shouting about the looting of archaeological treasures, giving way to missing weapons of mass destruction as the new Watergate, leading to the present sniping about a new Vietnam. If our past flight from Beirut, Haiti, and Mogadishu is any indication, even Mr. Reagan, and certainly Mr. Clinton, would have had all the troops home after the first murders, and Iraq would now be left to stew in its own terrorist juices."

The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal features an editorial that explains the reasons for the current budget deficit. Here's how the OJ explains the reason for the current budget deficit:

"Start with the fact that if there ever were a time for Washington to run a budget deficit, the past couple of years have been it. The government has increased military spending to fight a war on terror, and it has cut taxes to lift the economy after the bursting of the 1990s' bubble. Taken together these explain about a third or more of the deficit, yet the U.S. would be far worse off had we not done either one.

By far the biggest chunk (53%) of the deficit is due to the slower economy, which has caused federal revenues to fall faster than anyone expected. From a Clinton-era peak of 20.8% of gross domestic product, revenues are now expected to fall this year to about 16.3%. The average over the past 40 years has been about 18%, which suggests that revenue will bounce back up once the economy does.

This revenue collapse has three causes: declines in capital gains revenue, in corporate tax receipts and in personal-income tax receipts. All three of these boomed in the late 1990s, personal taxes in particular as income growth and stock-option realizations pushed more and more taxpayers into the higher Clinton tax brackets.

The key to regaining that revenue is getting the economy growing once again, which is what the Bush tax cuts are designed to do. They've already helped the stock market, though that won't pay off in higher tax revenue (from capital gains and options) for another year or two."

If President Bush is not reelected we will again witness a Democrat taking credit for an economy which he had nothing to do with.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers will be formally charged by the state of Colorado with a class 3 felony sexual assault. The charge means that the accused either threatened or used force to make penetration.

I'm rather shocked. This charge means that the prosecutor is fairly sure he has enough evidence to get a conviction. If he had any doubts he would have settled on a reduced charge.

I'm also surprised because, from all indications, Kobe was known to be a quiet homebody who preferred spending nights with his wife and daughter instead of going out with his teammates.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Daniel Henninger describes the modern day Democratic party:

"Welcome to the Democratic Party in the 21st century. Actually, the Democratic Party, as understood by most people who think of themselves as Democrats, no longer exists. It has evolved into the political version of a shell corporation. Money flows in and out of something called "the Democratic Party," but most of the politicking is now done by literally dozens of largely independent political groups, of which the NAACP is but one. In fact, left-of-center politics has become one of the most crowded, Darwinian marketplaces in America, and within that market, the NAACP's share-price has fallen.

As recently as two presidential campaigns ago, the idea that any serious contender would bypass the NAACP forum was unthinkable. But as some news accounts of this fiasco noted, Messrs. Gephardt and Lieberman begged off because, according to the Associated Press, "the joint appearances are a common format for dozens of presidential forums being organized by labor unions, environmentalists, civil rights activists, abortion rights supporters and other interest groups active in Democratic politics. The NAACP was one such group."

The Democratic Party now resembles a vast hospital nursery, with each colicky baby lying in a separate crib screaming for attention--right now, for me. And if a Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt doesn't run right over and pour political formula down their throats, they'll keep right on screaming. And so yesterday, Messrs. Lieberman, Gephardt and Kucinich all scampered to Miami, stood before the NAACP convention and apologized. Mr. Lieberman: "I was wrong, I regret it, and I apologize." Then Sen. LIeberman suggested that Kweise Mfume belonged on the Supreme Court."

Mark Steyn in the British Spectator:

"The other day, speaking about Iraq, the President said, ‘There are some who feel that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.’

Bring ’em on? Oh, noooooooo, wailed the Dems, we can’t have that kind of provocative talk. John Kerry said it was ‘unwise’ and ‘unworthy of the office’. Dick Gephardt said he’d had ‘enough of the phoney, macho rhetoric’.

The rhetoric may be macho, but it isn’t necessarily phoney. Indeed, its authenticity is what strikes a chord with the American people. In these pages in November 2001, I noted various California commuters’ reactions to the governor’s announcement that terrorists were planning to blow up the state’s major bridges. The TV cameras positioned themselves at the Golden Gate Bridge to measure the downturn in traffic, only to be confronted by drivers yelling, ‘Come and get me, Osama!’ More to the point, Bush’s bring-’em-on is not just macho swagger, but the core of the strategy. My distinguished former colleague, the dean of Canadian columnists David Warren, brilliantly characterised what’s going on in Iraq as ‘carefully hung flypaper’. In other words, the US occupation of Iraq is bringing Saudis and other Islamonutters out of the surrounding swamps — and that’s a good thing. If they’re really so eager to strike at the Great Satan, better they attack its soldiers in Iraq than its commuters on the Golden Gate Bridge.

And, whaddayaknow, they’re falling for it. On al-Arabiya TV in Dubai, an al-Qa’eda affiliate insisted they, and not Saddam, were behind the attacks in Iraq. ‘I swear by God no one from his followers carried out any jihad operations like he claims,’ chuntered the spokesterrorist. ‘They are a result of our brothers in jihad.’ Plenty of room for both on that flypaper, boys."

I love it.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Like Ann Coulter, I've been hearing from leftists, both here and abroad, that America is in the grips of civil rights crisis and that America has become a police state. Here, Coulter sets the record straight:

"AFTER PEARL HARBOR, President Roosevelt rounded up more than 100,000 Japanese residents and citizens and threw them in internment camps. Indeed, both liberal deities of the 20th century, FDR and Earl Warren, supported the internment of Japanese-Americans. In the '20s, responding to the bombing of eight government officials' homes, a Democrat-appointed attorney general arrested about 6,000 people. The raids were conducted by A. Mitchell Palmer, appointed by still-revered Democrat segregationist Woodrow Wilson, who won the 1916 election based on lies about intelligence and war plans.

In response to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world right here on U.S. soil, Attorney General John Ashcroft has detained fewer than a thousand Middle Eastern immigrants. Ashcroft faces a far more difficult task than FDR did: Pearl Harbor was launched by the imperial government of Japan, not by Japanese-Americans living in California. The 9-11 Muslim terrorists, by contrast, were not only in the United States but, until the attack, had broken hardly any laws at all (aside from a few immigration laws, which liberals don't care about anyway). And yet, Ashcroft's modest, carefully tailored policies have prevented another attack for almost two years since Sept. 11, 2001. No internment camps, no mass arrests. And no more massive terrorist attacks."

I don't call them the hysterical left for nothing.

Amir Taheri has a New York Post op-ed that shows how well things are going in Iraq. This is a must read.

First, I think it's important to understand this:

"......the violence we have witnessed, especially against American troops, in the past six weeks is limited to less than 1 percent of the Iraqi territory, in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," which includes parts of Baghdad."

Now, here's the larger point that Taheri is making:

"THERE are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future.

"After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone," says Mohsen Saleh, a geologist in Baghdad. "A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold."

The whole piece is excellent and should be read especially by people who are worried that things are going poorly in Iraq. Be encouraged and be strong.

One might conclude from the hysterical left (columnists, bloggers, commentators, and politicians) that Iraq was NOT trying to get uranium. I mean, the ravings from these people might lead people to believe that there was no proof whatsoever. If you watch CNN you might believe that Great Britain pulled this information out of thin air. That it was all just made up.

The plain truth is that a foreign intelligence service, probably France, gave Great Britain the intelligence on Iraq's quest for uranium:

"British intelligence was passed some convincing documentation from a source it trusted This points, ironically enough, to the French intelligence service, the DGSE – the Directorate-General of External Safety. France is the former colonial power in Niger, and the uranium company is run by French nationals. Obviously, France is well placed to know the facts. Moreover, the Financial Times recently disclosed what that two “Western European” nations were the source of the intelligence, specifically naming France and Italy (although Germany and Spain may have as easily played a role; see below).

Both nations have predictably denied the report. However, Michael Smith of The London Daily Telegraph has reported that France itself tried to keep the MI6 from passing on intelligence that nation’s intelligence operatives gathered on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions in Africa. According to a July 14th Telegraph article written by Smith, “MI6 had more than one ‘different and credible’ piece of intelligence to show that Iraq was attempting to buy the ore, known as yellowcake, British officials insisted. But it was given to them by at least one and possibly two intelligence services and, under the rules governing cooperation, it could not be shared with anyone else without the originator's permission.”

There's also a piece on a National Intelligence Estimate that is featured in today's Opinion Journal that says that it was a concensus among our intelligence services that Iraq was trying to buy uranium.

The bottom line is that President Bush did not lie to the American people and his actions are not impeachable. His State of the Union speech was accurate as it related to those famous 16 words that the hysterical left is foaming at the mouth about.

The left is misreading this. They think that because their hard core constituency is convulsing with rage over this that the American people share their feelings. They don't. The American people understand that the world is much safer with Saddam gone.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm in awe. Weapons technology has taken a huge leap forward.

Victorino Matus has an article about a huge leap that has been made in gun technology.

It seems that a company called Metal Storm has created various electronic guns that fire up to, get this, a million rounds per minute. What's even more awesome is that the same technology can be applied to artillery and grenade launchers. The potential for this sort of weapon is incredible.

That Metal Storm website has video clips of the guns in action.

Anyone who has a gun or cares about guns must read this article. This is big.