Friday, October 18, 2002

Those who do not remember history ...

Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent essay in NRO Online(via LGF ) about how the lessons of history apply to the Iraqi - and now North Korean - situation. I'd add to his list of appeasers the Pollyannas in England and Prussia who thought that with Napoleon on Elba he could no longer pose a threat. And let's not forget the America Firsters. The ghosts of history come alive today in the persons of Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag and Michael Moore. Doesn't it seem, though, that the smug appeasers of other years at least had some class?

Thursday, October 17, 2002

News from Never-Never Land

Peter Pan's "top adviser on Korea", Wendy, denies that Peter ever knew anything about a North Korean nuclear program. He was too busy flying with Monica Tinkerbelle and fighting Cap'n Ken StarrHook and the crocodile Newt who swallowed the clock. So you can't blame him. He never grew up, after all. How could that be his fault? We'll just have to deal with the "very serious problem" that us grownups are so worried about. What IS Peter doing behind that bush with Princess Summerfallwinterspring? Oh, I see, another seminar on diversity. Multiculturalism always was his strong suit.
Get your Florida news - from Israel!

I noticed this story in the Jerusalem Post about a Boca Raton synagogue that had been defaced by swastikas. Sounds like a big story, right? Hate crime. Discrimination. We demand Justice! So I figured I just missed it in the Florida newspapers, which I don't read since I found out I could get my news sooner and more fully from the Internet. So I checked the local Tallahassee paper, searched its recent archives. Nothing. A racist attack on Jews is a non-story. Gee, I wonder if they would have reported it if it had been the defacement of a mosque by Jewish extremists?

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Don't shoot! We're coming out with our hands up!

Does anybody really think that North Korea would have made this admission if President Bush were not moving to invade and conquer the Iraqi government to stop them from producing nuclear weapons? How many good things have come from the readiness of the US government - which does so much stupid stuff, like the drug war - to at least defend its people with military force? I'm encouraged.


The Brits seem to think as I do, that the North Koreans find a lot more to be scared about in the firm resolve of a George W. Bush when compared to the cowardly immorality of a Clintoon. Rush on the radio is saying that Carter was involved in negotiating the "promise" that the North Koreans never had any intention of keeping, in return for nuclear reactor technology. So now, of course, Carter will be giving back his Nobel Peace Prize, since his naive stupidity was responsible for allowing an insane totalitarian autocracy to get closer to having a nuclear weapon.

I noticed this leftist hydrophobic courtesy of Colby Cosh, my favorite Canadian blogger. I just had to supply the following email:


You blame the police for the sniper's reign of death. You blame President Bush for Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and autocracy that threatens each one of us each day. You equate death from terror to two winos beating each other up and say that a few more murders are not worth worrying about.

You say the conquest of Iraq will be to secure oil when oil can be much more easily secured by appeasement and kowtowing to Saddam.

You bemoan poll results while criticizing the government's lack of democracy.

You have nothing but contempt for common sense and for the people of this country who have to suffer events like September 11 and the sniper and then have to listen to ignorant "intellectuals" like you blame them for not being aware of their own government's tyranny.

Well, Garcanski, the people are on to you. They know what you're like. And they don't believe a single word you say.

Robert Speirs
Tallahassee, Florida

Gunfight - with a bullet

I sent the following comment to Spinsanity in a debate about the "ballistic fingerprinting" measure and a Representative Moran's thuggish blathering about the nasty Republican murder machine:

"Ballistic fingerprinting" will not show who a murderer is. At most it MIGHT show where the gun was purchased, if it was purchased legally in this country. Are the proponents of ballistic fingerprinting really asserting that a high percentage of gun thefts can be solved? What percentage is even reported? How is it relevant that "attempts to alter the markings are rare" when it can so easily be done by changing the barrel or simply cleaning it? Of course they're rare, since ballistic fingerprinting isn't possible today. If this measure is put in place, circumventing the intrusive and easily misused registration system may be just as common - and even easier - to alter the ballistic fingerprint as to erase the serial number. A terrorist like the DC sniper is extremely likely to be aware of any ballistics fingerprinting and how to avoid it.

And the reason why guns have more importance to our individual rights than automobiles is the Second Amendment. It's in something called the Constitution.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Speaking of Iran

DEBKAfile has some really interesting stories today. I love Debka. It's always on the cutting edge, like Drudge. OK, maybe now and then it falls off the cutting edge, but stories like this are worth it:

US-UK Aircraft Bomb Air Defense Command Center
Tuesday at Al Kut 100 m. Southeast of Baghdad Near IranianBorder

DEBKAfile Military Sources:
This is First Allied Raid from East, Made Possible by
Secret US-Iranian Accord for Over-flights from New
US Base at Herat, Afghanistan

That reminded me of something. During the Falkland War in 1982, didn't a British carrier come down the Pacific side of South America and fly bombers over Chile and Argentina to attack the Argies on the Falklands? I seem to remember some to-do about whether Chile would let them use their airspace. The Galtieri regime figured since they were a military dictatorship, the Chilean junta wouldn't betray them to the Brits. Wrong! Maybe we're finally starting to play it smart in the Mideast. Wouldn't take much to outdo Albright in manipulating the interests of these relatively poor, weak countries to get them to go along with our legitimate security interests. I have a feeling a great book is going to be written about these "interesting times".

I may have to move to Iran

I know there are too many things about the place to hate, so I could never live there, but this story tempts a dog-hater such as myself to at least consider whether it might be possible to put up with all the other garbage to live without dogs around all the time. But why short-legged dogs are particularly persecuted is still a mystery to me. BBC didn't see fit to explain that part of the Koran.


In a Conundrum exclusive, Ms. Mavis Codswollop of Pekinese Close, SW1, London, has come out full force against the Iranian fatwa against our canine companions. We have it on good authority that her sentiments are echoed by millions of other half-witted British housewives. "It's barbaric!" she was quoted by the Conundrum London correspondent as saying, "I mean, we didn't mind when they were just killing Americans and Jews. But stopping people from walking their dogs, we just can't have that, can we? I mean, what do we have nuclear weapons for if we're not going to use them?" Hear hear, Mavis, you alcoholic old bint, or should I say, "Not arf!"?
My copy, right or wrong

godofthemachine started a discussion about copyright. So I just had to jump in:

My favorite law school professor used to tell me to suspect all "balancing tests". How do we balance intangibles and how do we know these are the right weights in the pans?

I agree with Aaron Hospel that intellectual property is the most suspiciously unproperty-like kind of property. However, one of the rationales for protecting any property is that a man will fight for his property, so the state must protect it to avoid violence. This applies to some degree to intellectual property, as anyone who has observed an author picking over unauthorized Chinese editions of his works in a remainder bin in Taiwan will testify. But the lack of physical reality to intellectual property makes its protection less important and less practical.

I have always suspected the constitutional argument that authors would not write without copyright. Graphomania is a well-documented illness. Perhaps it's the other way around. Without copyright, authors wouldn't be stimulated to grind out the reams of nonsense we see in so many bookshops these days and we'd only get works written for the love of it. That might be just as well.

Robert Speirs 10/15/2002 01:33 PM EST
Reading discrimination

This article in the St. Petersburg Times (via Flablog)sounds reasonable until you think about it a bit. Getting a high school diploma, with straight A's, without being able to read on your own? Am I missing something, or is it the height of idiocy to think you are preparing a kid for the real world by telling him he should be able to function perfectly well in society without being able to read or write? And does the author really think that "acquiring and processing information" is an unnecessary skill? Another odd thing: the kid's mother is a "special education paraprofessional" and yet "nobody seems to know how to help me get ..." a waiver of the FCAT to get his diploma!!? Something smells to high heaven here.
Happy Columbus Day!

This comment on Indymedia asking for info on events that didn't celebrate Columbus on Columbus Day (huh??) brought this response from yours truly. Wanna bet I get a reasoned, civilized response bringing up real facts and issues?
All pro-Columbus events are pro- "Native", since a great majority of the present residents of America were born here, which is what "native" means, from Latin "natus, -a, -um", meaning "born". As a native-born American, I urge you to consider what Columbus brought to the New World: writing, the wheel, glass, iron, the compass and the germ of the scientific method which brought at least North America out of millennia of savagery to host the greatest country in the history of the world.

Monday, October 14, 2002


I have always been bothered by the notion of voting. Ever since reading Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" I realized how useless it was. I continued voting for one election. I blush to admit I voted for Carter once. So I had the following exchange of emails with Emily of Emilysplace, started by a comment I made on someone else's post. Boy, it sure is easy to lose your way in the Blogosphere. Someone should make some software to make navigation easier.

Dear Emily,

Thank you for your kind words about Conundrum. I'm trying to think of ways to keep it fresh.

I'm afraid your reply does not address my point that whether a particular voter votes or not makes zero difference. Changing a landslide to a close election takes more than one vote. And when you join with others, even five others, to vote in a certain way, you dilute your interests. It's what Harry Browne calls the "Group Trap".

In this connection, when someone tells me, "If you don't vote, you can't complain!" I always think of one situation. What if you were in an auto accident on election eve and in a coma until the polls close? Would you still be able to complain? I have a sneaking suspicion that people who say you should vote - like my sister! - would be hesitant to say that the coma victim couldn't complain. I can just hear her saying, "Well, it wasn't his fault, the poor comatose thing, he intended to vote." I might very well be able to get her to admit that it isn't really voting that counts at all. It's intending to vote. SO it's really a matter of buying in (selling out?) to the system that counts, not the act of voting. And she'd be right. The illusion of voting, that they each have a real voice in political matters, keeps people from rioting in the street.

Well, I'm allergic to illusions. They make me break out in a huff. I contract terminal indignation. So I guess I better not vote. Hey, I'm not complaining! I can't figure out any way one man's opinion - mine, say - COULD make a difference. But, wait a minute. There was Einstein. And Newton. OK, I'll keep thinking about it.

I like your site, although I must be pretty far away from your political opinionplace. I remember, many moons ago, I talked to some Nichiren DaiShonin people in college. Let me see, nam myoho renggekkyo? Something like that, millions of times a day. That illusion soon dissipated.

Now I'm into victory over terrorism, or at least going in the right direction. This "peace" idea is another illusion. Victory or defeat are the two possibilities. Remember, Islam means "submission". And we've had quite enough bended knees lately. Sorry to be so lengthy.

Robert Speirs
Tallahassee, Florida

From: Mark Shorette
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 08:54:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: voting...does it matter?

> Robert:
> I was looking at your weblog and read the following:
> How can you say my vote counts? When was an election last decided by one vote? If this ever happens, then one vote will count. In every election decided by more than one vote, a single vote does NOT count. Do I have to spell this out? It makes no difference to the outcome. Whether I vote or not changes nothing. Nobody gets into office, no referenda are passed or defeated based on whether I vote or not. I have no reason, whatever, then, to vote. Why should I?
> Do I hear you saying, "But what if everyone thought like that?"? Well, what if they did? Each would be right, with reference to his own vote. The illusion that one vote counts has only one consequence: it gives power to politicians who make their living by swaying more than one vote, that is, by "making other people's decisions for them." But, hey, didn't your intro say we didn't want people to do that?
> *********
> OK, I do think you are correct if we limited the argument to the effect in that one particular election. Howe
> ver there is an effect that goes beyond that. Almost all politicians in the country are considering a move up the food chain. (The exception being the president, who is already at the top) Let us imagine there is an open seat in Congress and there are two state representatives who are interested in the vacancy. They are competing for the nomination of the same party. Fred has won his last election by only 30 votes, and is by no means a sure thing even to be renominated for the seat he currently holds. Letitia, on the other hand, has never received less than 75% of the vote. Those who have challenged her nomination in the past are dead meat. I think we can safely say that, all other things being equal, party learers will encourage Letitia to run, and discourage Fred. To sum, party leaders want strong candidates to seek higher office, and each vote does determine that.
> Next, wide or narrow vote totals influence officeholder behavior. My own representative (a Republican)lwon a very close race to a progressive Democrat a few years ago. Previously she had trounced all comers. Well, what do you know? All of a sudden, the unions who would not have gotten the time of day from her, had all their calls returned. She posed with Democrats to have her picture taken to show her support for pro-labor bills. This election, she is running against her own party's Social Security plan. Is it likely that she would have done the same thing if she had won another landslide? Perhaps. I think not, however.
> While I never have been involved in an election which hinged on a single vote, there have been some which have come down to as few as six. That is extraordinarily close. If a handful of voters had stayed home, we would have no new firehouse or middle school in our town.
> Finally, I would argue that democracy does not end with the ballot, it is where it begins. When was the last time most Americans have ever written a letter or called the office of their representatives?
> I like your site quite a lot, and do hope you will visit mine.
> Thanks,
> Emily

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Oceania joins the war

"Tom Paine" at Silent Running cites NZPundit as expressing hope that the latest terrorist outrage in Bali will expand the sphere of realism towards fundamentalist Islam to include Australia and New Zealand at least. I contributed the following comment:

Excellent! By spreading their war to Indonesia, the Philippines, France, and possibly Finland, the Islamofascists are just reducing the number of places they can hide. Before too long they'll all be cooped up in the West Bank. We in the US have always known we could trust the men of Australia and New Zealand when the going got tough. It feels good not to be alone in the fight for freedom.