Sean's Blog

A Guide To Online
Opinion And Current Events

Friday, August 29, 2003

Keep The U.N. Out Of Iraq!:

"If Kofi got his hands on Iraq, as world opinion so devoutly wants, the Cambodian scenario would be more relevant than the East Timorese. The most determined obstructionists in this case would be Iraq’s Arab neighbours: Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and co. don’t care whether the country winds up under another Baathist psychotic or a rent-a-rant mullah, or even a restored Hashemite as long as he’s at least minimally repressive. But they object very strongly to the idea of the Iraqi people living in liberty under a representative government with a free press, etc., because that’s not the kind of thing they want catching on. Putting the UN in charge of Iraq is a vote for ‘stability’ in the Middle East — the fetid cesspit stability of the Assads and Ayatollahs that, as argued in this space many times, is the principal ‘root cause’ of the region’s problems."

I think it's a good time to remember the words of U.S. District Court Judge William Young to Richard Reid, the Shoe Bomber, at his sentencing. Thanks Connie:

"Ruling by Judge William Young

January 30, 2003 United States vs. Reid.

Judge Young: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other. That's 80 years. On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice, you are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice. So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense Trooper Santigo had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and he said you're no big deal. You're no big deal. What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know. It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or what I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice. See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody Mr. Officer. Stand him down."

Theodore Dalrymple describes what it's like to be an inner city physician in England:

"The urban savage has rights, though, of which he is only too aware. The most basic of his rights is to be happy, and happiness, as everyone knows, is a matter of getting everything you want. If a doctor refuses to give a patient what he wants, therefore, he is denying him his human rights. No wonder, then, the patient grows angry: not to be given sleepers to trade on the black market or to space him out during the day is in the same category as being arbitrarily arrested and maltreated by the police.

The doctor in an English slum is like a lone gazelle thrown among lions: there is nothing to protect him, certainly not the law. The police are of limited use, as the following story shows. A man went to his doctor to demand medication that the doctor thought he did not need and — unusually, in the circumstances — refused him. The patient at once became menacing and threatening, and the doctor called the police.

The police arrived. What did they do with the menacing and threatening patient? Did they haul him off to the station and give him a stiff ticking-off? No; they brought him to our hospital, depositing him in the casualty department. There he repeated his performance when denied the medication he demanded, and the police were called again. Did they haul him off to the station and give him a stiff ticking-off? No; they brought him to me, the doctor of last resort. Once again he was menacing and threatening, and this time hit a member of staff. The police were called. Did they haul him off to the station and give him a stiff ticking-off? No; they escorted him from the premises and dumped him at a street corner.

The resistance of the doctors in this case was unusually consistent, but it was almost certainly futile. Before the day was out, he would almost certainly have found a doctor whom he could intimidate into prescription. Doctors have often been criticised for over-prescription, sometimes justly; but in Britain a new reason has been added for this practice.

I think it true to say that a large proportion of prescriptions for antidepressants and addictive tranquillisers in this country are written as a means of ensuring the swift and peaceful departure of the patient from the doctor’s presence. Certainly, I have never spoken to a doctor round here who denied it. Prescription of these drugs is for the doctor’s, not the patient’s good; the doctor feels relieved when he sees the patient leave."

Victor Davis Hanson lists the ones who hope for America to fail in Iraq. For example:

"In more fundamental terms, how can pacifists and socialists believe that war might rout evil and offer hope to millions of oppressed? How might unilateralism achieve what internationalism could not? How could crass, naïve Yankees barrel and bluster into the complexities of the Middle East to solve problems sophisticated, nuanced Europeans had struggled with for centuries?

In short, our failure is essential to confirming the entire European view of how the world should work."

John Podhoretz has an excellent op-ed in The New York Post about leftwing anger and why it's unlikely to go anywhere:

"The problem for the Foxanoia axis is this: What, aside from hating Bush and the Fox News Channel, do they believe in?

Is there anything positive they can say about America? And I don't mean about George Bush's America — I mean about America in general.

Take almost any subject. On race, can a Foxanoid leftist say anything other than the relations between the races are in disastrous shape? On the environment, does a Foxanoid have anything to offer other than that the sky is falling and the earth is melting?

On economics, the Foxanoid mantra is always the same: There is a growing gap between rich and poor, a growing deficit that will eat away at everything, a growing job loss. Oh, and tax cuts are evil.

And don't even ask about the War on Terror, which according to the Foxanoids is a) going badly because we haven't been tough enough on al Qaeda and b) going badly because we've been too tough in the application of anti-terror laws and c) going badly because the world hates us and d) going badly because we deserve it that the world hates us.

What can the Foxanoids offer as a message of hope for the future? Cheaper prescription drugs? Please.

Yes, the left is rising. But for the left to truly challenge the right for dominance of the intellectual debate, its leaders and thinkers will need to be able to offer a picture of a better, safe and wealthier United States.

And the problem for those who describe themselves as "progressives" is that they can see no progress anywhere. All they see is misery stretched out far into the future.

Their failed philosophy has blinded them, left them incapable of conceiving of a positive future or offering even a road map out of their own misery."

There is no "morning in America" Ronald Reagan attitude among the left. They basically hate everything about this country and would change it in drastic and undemocratic ways if they could. Never forget that, for many opinion makers and financiers on the left, Fidel Castro is a role model. That's a clear indication where the Democratic party would take America if they could.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Alan Dershowitz on the U.N.'s support of terror (LA Times reg required):

"• There are numerous occupied peoples around the world seeking statehood or national liberation, including the Tibetans, Kurds, Turkish Armenians and Palestinians. Only one of these groups has received official recognition by the U.N., including observer status and invitations to speak and participate in committee work. That group is the one that invented and perfected modern international terrorism — namely, the Palestinians.

These rewards were first bestowed in the 1970s when the Palestine Liberation Organization was unabashedly committed to terrorism. In fact, Chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 at a time when his organization was seeking to destroy a member-state of the U.N. by terrorism.

By rewarding Arafat and the PLO for such behavior, the U.N. made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. The Tibetans, whose land has been occupied more brutally and for a longer period than the Palestinians, but who have never practiced terrorism, cannot even receive a hearing from the U.N."

This is the organization that Europeans want us to turn Iraq over to?

The U.N. practices the European brand of diplomacy. That is, a brand that we Americans increasingly reject as unprincipled and politically perverted.

We'll hear more of this from the left:

"The “disaster” Bromwich identifies as the perhaps the worst result of the niceness jihad is that it has made leftwingers too nice. He complains that Democratic politicians aren’t abrasive enough in the face of rightwing nastiness."

However, there is good evidence that shows this is complete bullshit:

"While in office, Bill Clinton said that Republicans would rather risk nuclear war than give Clinton a political victory. When President Clinton campaigned in Texas during the 2000 election, he declared the Texas Republican Party’s platform, “was so bad that you could get rid of every Fascist tract in your library if you just had a copy.” “When I compare this to what happened in Germany,” New York Rep. Charles Rangel observed during the debates over the Contract with America, “I hope that you will see the similarities to what is happening to us . . . . Hitler wasn't even talking about doing these things.” And of course there’s Al Gore who was arguably the nastiest campaigner since at least Richard Nixon and/or George Wallace. He assigned evil motives--and stupidity--to all of his opponents on Global Warming, affirmative action, and economic policy. Gore said people who disagree with him about Global Warming are akin to people who ignored the Holocaust. Al Gore, I believe, said that conservatives have an extra chromosome. More recently, he accused the current president of warmongering and enriching his friends at the expense of the common man. And let’s not even get into what his handlers and sock puppets have said.

The idea that liberals get “aw shucks” tongue-tied is just the latest convenient myth to cover up for the ongoing failure of liberalism as a political philosophy. It’s a shame that Bromwich who spends a great deal of time denouncing propaganda decided to use his essay to spread some of his own."

These are just some examples of leftwing nastiness. The list is being added to everyday.

Remember this if racial unrest boils over in Dallas:

"Despite the fact that black Dallasites are bearing a disproportionate brunt of the crime, black leaders here are going to the mat for the chief. Yesterday, the chief's top defender on the city council, a black council member named Don Hill, came to visit the editorial board here at the Dallas Morning News. He's a very friendly man, but he laid down the law. He said, in so many words, that it doesn't matter whether Bolton brings the crime stats down, as long as he makes a show of trying hard. He said that he believes the newspaper is out to get Dallas' first African-American chief. He said that if the city moves to fire Bolton, there will be "racial unrest"--he said he wasn't promising a riot, but that conditions would be ripe for one. And he said that even if the black community is suffering disproportionately from the crime Bolton is not preventing, it didn't matter because African-Americans feel good about having one of their own running the police department."

The U.S. has been trying to get the U.N. Security Council to approve sending peacekeepers to Iraq as part of the U.N. effort to rebuild that country. Obstinately, the French and Germans are refusing to take part because they believe we need them. I believe they are mistaken.

It appears to me that, while it would ease our financial obligations to have France and Germany take part, it isn't necessary that they contribute. Our request was more of a self-esteem/goodwill/face-saving gesture that was aimed toward restoring cordial relations between the U.S. and Europe. Once again the Europeans have rejected the U.S. offer because they want the U.N. to run Iraq. We are simply not going to let that corrupt, unprincipled, and despicable organization run Iraq.

We do not need the French or Germans. Within a year the Iraqi people will take over control, with American support, of the day to day operations of their country. The Iraqi people will only need outside help for awhile longer and our request for help from the Europeans was the diplomatic equivalent of the U.S. extending it's hand to ask that old friends let bygones be bygones. But, as I said, the French and Germans believe that the request was a sign of weakness and need.

The French and Germans reaffirmed their irrelevance.

President Bush gave a great and inspiring speech to the American Legion convention yesterday:

"We are on the offensive against the Saddam loyalists, the foreign fighters, and the criminal gangs that are attacking Iraqis and coalition forces. We're receiving more and more vital intelligence from Iraqi citizens, information that we're putting to good use. Our recent military operations have included almost 200 raids, netting more than 1,100 detainees. Since the end of major combat operations, we have seized more than 8,200 tons of ammunition, thousands of AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

And as we help the Iraqi people establish security, we are working through that famous deck of cards. So far, of the 55 most wanted Iraqi leaders, 42 have been captured or killed. (Applause.) The brutal, viscous sons of the dictator are gone. (Applause.) Recently we captured the former Vice President of Iraq. He was one of Saddam Hussein's most feared enforcers. And recently, as well, we captured the man known as Chemical Ali. He earned his nickname by ordering chemical weapon attacks on whole Iraqi villages, killing thousands of citizens. Chemical Ali's savage career is over. (Applause.) The search goes on for other former leaders of Iraq, and we will find them. (Applause.) After decades of smothering fear, the Iraqi people can be certain: the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone, and it is never coming back. (Applause.)

Ultimately, the security of Iraq will be won by the Iraqi people themselves. They must reject terror, and they must join in their own defense. And they're stepping forward. More than 38,000 Iraqis have been hired as police officers. Iraqi police and border guards and security forces are increasingly taking on critical duties. Over 1,400 Iraqi civil defense corps volunteers are being trained to work closely with coalition forces; 12,000 Iraqis will be trained in the next year for the country's new army.

At the same time, 31 countries have contributed 21,000 forces to build security in Iraq. I will continue to challenge other countries to join in this important mission. In most of Iraq today, there's steady progress toward reconstruction and civil order. Iraq's Governing Council, representing the nation's diverse groups is steadily assuming greater responsibility over the country. The coalition provisional authority, led by Ambassador Paul Bremer, is implementing a comprehensive plan to ensure a successful, democratic Iraq, and a better future for the Iraqi people."

I am looking forward to reading the account by the accuser in the Kobe Bryant case when it's released in a couple of weeks. The New York Post is reporting that a TV show, "Celebrity Justice" will apparently report new details from the arrest warrant that aren't yet released to the public:

"The 19-year-old hotel concierge told officials that Bryant initially called her to his room, but when she wanted to leave, he blocked her way and asked her to stay and help him turn on his in-room hot tub, sources told the show.

Then Bryant kissed the woman - which she didn't wholly object to, the sources told "Celebrity Justice."

But when the All-Star guard allegedly grabbed her breasts, she did object, reportedly telling Kobe, 'No.'

The show does not say what happened next - or if she eventually relented and willingly had sex.

But the account of when she first said, "No" varies from initial reports that she objected only after the pair started physical relations."

If the arrest warrant is released and this is indeed what the woman told the police and it's backed up with physical evidence, then Kobe could be in serious trouble. Rumors were flying that Kobe's lawyer sought to make a deal with the woman and prosecutors last week and this report would be a good reason to believe those rumors.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

A new study that is discussed in a Washinton Times editorial says that "voucher competition in Florida is leading to significant academic improvements in public schools."

Personally, I believe that parents are more to blame than the schools for their children's poor performance, but I'm sure there are teachers and schools out there that fail miserably when it comes to teaching students. I'm not sure that vouchers are the answer, but I do know that things can't continue. The survey that is featured in this editorial gives some hope that perhaps we have found at least one method to improve student success.

It's weary reading and honestly it's not a slam dunk, but Stephen Hayes' piece for The Weekly Standard makes it clear that there was some sort of relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In many cases the evidence is pretty clear:

"....according to documents unearthed in Baghdad after the recent war by journalists Mitch Potter and Inigo Gilmore, Hussein's intelligence service wrote a memo detailing upcoming meetings with a bin Laden representative traveling to Baghdad. Each reference to bin Laden had been covered with Liquid Paper. The memo laid out a plan to step up contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. The Mukhabarat, one of Saddam's security forces, agreed to pay for "all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden." The document set as the goal for the meeting a discussion of "the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him." The al Qaeda representative, the document went on to suggest, might be "a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden."

I was in Soapbox last night and to hear the leftists in that room tell it, there is NO connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam whatsoever. The evidence contained in Hayes' piece shows clearly that that is simply not true.

A Los Angeles Times poll shows that Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante is leading Arnold Schwarzengger 35% to 22%. What to make of all these conflicting polls? In a couple of days a new poll will come out and it will directly contradict this one. Perhaps these polls just reflect the volatility of the situation.

Michelle Malkin wrote an article for Townhall.com about Bustamante's membership in the hispanic racist organization, MeCHA. Here's a quote from the article:

"While Katie Couric complains about GOP candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger being "the son of a Nazi party member" and international media outlets assail Schwarzenegger adviser Pete Wilson as 'anti-immigrant' and 'racially divisive,' the liberal press has been stone-cold silent on Bustamante's connection to one of the nation's most virulently racist organizations."

And Democrats wonder why we think there's a liberal bias in the press. You will not hear about Bustamante's connection to MeCHA from Dan Rather, Peter Jennnings, Katie Couric, or on CNN. It's not PC to call a hispanic racist organization a racist organization. That would be insensitive.