A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

American Surrender Monkeys

Here`s something that I would have liked to have written myself about Bin-Laden and America. Author Justin Darr argues that Bone-Laden has gotten it half right.

While you are at it, check out the rest of the articles at Common Conservative; well worth your time.

Forgotten History

Here is a fascinating bit of forgotten history. Enslavement and torture are old hat to the Islamic Jihadists, and this is the future awaiting US if we keep piddling around with the War.

Thanks to The American Thinker!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ronnie the Racketeer

Byron York, writing in NRO, shows that the man who wants to bring down Tom Delay, prosecutor Ronnie Earl, is little more than a political protection racket man. He should be investigated by the FBI for RICO violations!

Burning Passion for the Environment

This is what happens when you refuse to allow logging, won`t allow people to pick up deadwood, and insist on maintaining a complete state of nature. When left to themselves, California and the other western states have regular wildfires; this actually REDUCES the amount of forest land.

The wealthy actors and movie producers who live in the high-risk areas are the shrillest voices for environmentalism; perhaps we should have insurance reform and make them eat the costs when their houses burn down. It would be interesting to see how strong their zeal really is.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Singing Soprano in Darwin`s Tabernacle Choir

Our old friend Jay from Stop the ACLU takes on Darwin`s Tabernacle Choir in an interesting and informative post. Check it out!

Estonia`s Flat Tax Experiment

(Estonia has been having success with a flat tax. This from ``What We Know`` e-zine, thanks to my brother Brian for passing this along):

A Flat-Out Success

In America, the flat tax is a joke. So much so that an obscure TV journalist named Bernard Goldberg could launch a best-selling book career with Bias , in which the centerpiece story (told and re-told) is about how one of his CBS colleagues poked some on-air fun at Steve Forbes, the last serious presidential candidate to make a flat tax part of his platform.

In Estonia, however, Goldberg would probably have to find a different second career.

It's likely that most Americans couldn't locate Estonia-one of the former Soviet Baltic satellites-on a map. Yet what happened there has caught the attention of Europe and is beginning to pique a little interest here as well.

Estonia, when it finally cast off its Soviet chains, was as impoverished as any of the Republics. That was fourteen years ago, when the people elected Mart Laar as their prime minister. Laar was only 32, a scraggly-bearded history teacher who dressed in T-shirts and black chinos and loved to listen to Guns 'n Roses.

From the beginning, Laar thought outside the box-in part because he was unencumbered by previous political experience, in part because he'd only read a single book on economics in his life, and in part because he was young and idealistic in the first heady days of freedom. Today he's considered a prophet, and is consulted by politicians and economists from countries around the world. Excluding ours.

Under Laar's leadership, Estonia enacted a 26% flat tax on income in 1994. No loopholes, no exemptions. It also instituted 0% inheritance taxes and, to encourage reinvestment, no tax on corporate profits until they are distributed as dividends.

Last April-as Laar celebrated the 25th anniversary of Solidarity with Lech Walesa, and met with Cuban opposition leaders to plot out how to change their country after Fidel passes-he recalled the resistance he faced: "Most experts advised against it, and said it was a stupid idea. My finance minister said don't do it, the IMF said don't do it. But it's not very easy to convince a young person that he is wrong and I was that type of young person. So I did it."

Estonia was quite fortunate he was that type of young person. Inflation, then running at 1,000% per year, dropped to 2.5%. Unemployment plunged from 30% to 6%. As a flood of foreign investment buoyed the economy, growth reached double digits in 1997. Even after the worldwide slump of 2000, it leveled off at 6% per year.

Laar is a bit bemused by his canonization as the father of the flat tax. "My main 'problem' was I was not an economist but a historian," he says.

That one economics text he had read? Milton Friedman's Free to Choose . After reading it, he just assumed it represented mainstream Western thought, and that Friedman's theories were standard practice. He hardly expected to be hailed as a pioneer. It was just that "a flat tax seemed to be very logical and very fair," he says. "I didn't have the smallest clue I would be the first."

Laar explains the logic and simplicity of his system: "The same rate of tax for everybody, or no rate at all. There is a minimum level at which it kicks in. There's no point wasting state money collecting tax from the very poor... [and] rich people are paying significantly more tax even with the same percentage... It is [also] very efficient in destroying the black market, [being] very easy to collect and control." Overall, "In a highly progressive tax system there is no incentive to work: the harder you work, the sooner you get to the next, higher tax level. A flat tax generates more growth and therefore more revenue for the government."

The results seem to bear him out. General government revenues, 39.4% of GDP in 1993, were 39.6% in 2002. This has been sufficient to allow the tax to be lowered to 23%, with a further cut to 20% scheduled for next year.

Estonia's neighboring Republics, Latvia (25%) and Lithuania (33%), established their own flat taxes by 1995, and by 2005 most of eastern Europe had fallen in line, as Russia (13%), Serbia (14%), Ukraine (13%), Georgia (12%), and Romania (16%) followed suit. Slovakia went to a 19% flat rate in 2004 and, counter to the Estonian model, decided to encourage savings by taxing corporate profits (at the same 19%) but not dividends.

Russia's experience may be the most instructive. At the turn of the century, the government was bankrupt and had to do something. Its radical reorganization included a 2001 overhaul that consolidated 12%, 20% and 30% progressive tax bands into one 13% flat tax. The following year, there was a general economic rebound that saw a healthy 12% growth in wages. Yet government revenues jumped more than twice as much, by 26% (they went on to double by 2005).

Why the disparity? Laar and other flat-tax advocates would say that disincentives to work had been removed. Maybe. But a study authored by Anna Ivanova and Michael Keen of the IMF, along with Alexander Klemm of London's Institute of Fiscal Studies, argues otherwise. These economists found little evidence that Russians were working harder, which is unsurprising since those who had previously inhabited the 12% bracket were actually paying more in taxes. What they did find is that the former members of the two higher brackets reported 68% of their income in 2001, under the flat tax, vs. only 52% the year before.

This suggests that the flat tax's primary attraction might be that it simplifies, something to keep in mind when considering the situation in the U.S. In a typical year, the IRS estimates that for every dollar it collects, about 20 cents is owed but not paid. The Economist addressed that issue in a recent article: "In part, the tax system is burdensome because people dodge it. Every loophole that is exploited must be plugged. Every blurry line that is crossed must be sharpened. But Messrs [Jeffrey] Owens and [Stuart] Hamilton [of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] worry that the tax-codifiers and the tax-dodgers are locked in a mutually destructive 'arms race'. The code is made more complex, because of tax wheezes. More people then seek to avoid taxes. The best way to fight tax avoidance, then, is with simplicity."

As the highly taxed citizens of Western Europe grow increasingly restive, their systems have come under examination as well. Because it's such an explosive issue in a union of welfare states, the flat tax is probably not coming anytime soon. Nevertheless, France and Spain are reducing the number of brackets and lowering their top rates; Greece is poised to adopt similar changes; Britain's Conservative Party has a commission studying flat taxation; and Angela Merkel, vying to become Germany's next chancellor, has a flat-tax advocate as one of her top economic advisors.

The bottom line isn't fairness, it's competitiveness, says Paul Mylonas, chief economist at the National Bank of Greece. "Our neighboring countries are reducing taxes, which provides them with a more attractive business climate."

Not everyone is sold on the idea, of course. Critics question how much of Estonia's robust revenues are due to the flat tax, since it still levies an 18% VAT on most sales, and collects a hefty social security/pension/health insurance tax. Each of these contributes more to general revenues than the income tax.

But such criticisms don't attack the fundamentals. Almost no one-short of those philosophically wedded to soak-the-rich progressive taxation-is suggesting that a flat income tax would be worse than one that relies on more than 60,000 pages of code (up 50% in just the past ten years) and a vast, universally despised enforcement bureaucracy. The IRS now has 115,000 employees, more than EPA, OSHA, FBI, DEA, FDA, and BATF combined. It seems tax reform is clearly something that should be put to a full debate here at home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Where Do Old Terrorists Go?

Where do old terrorists go, once their usefulness is at an end? Do they move on to more peaceful pursuits, like gardening, needlepoint, or helping old ladies cross the street? Do they just fade away?

Recently, the Irish Republican Army turned in their guns for plow-shares, although they seem a bit reluctant to just fade into that good night. It`s a bit sad, really; so many terrorists being forced to retire while still in their prime.

The British government, along with donations from Irish-Americans, could establish a retirement home for former Provos, perhaps. Instead of the usual pastimes of shuffleboard and checkers they could plant fake car bombs and plan faux kidnappings. It seems doubtful that this would really satisfy them.

The problem is that these were men of action, and the quiet life just isn`t going to suit them. There is nothing more pathetic than the old, toothless lion dreaming of it`s glory days out on the veldt. Ever meet an old army colonel at a retirement home-dreaming of the past days when he was an important man? It`s sad, and it is a fate which must be avoided.

I offer a modest proposal; why don`t we draft the retiring IRA members into the War on Terror? Think about it-these guys know the all the tricks being used by the mujahadeen, and they aren`t afraid of a scrap. They INVENTED modern terrorism! We should send them to Iraq, and the insurrection would be over in 6 months! We give the sad retirees a new sense of purpose, and those who die will be able to go out the way they would have wished! Meanwhile, we chase the upstart Al-Quada into oblivion; the IRA has been around far longer than any of these Arab terrorists, and they`ll show those towel-headed creeps what a real terrorist organization can do!

I offer this humble idea as an antidote to post-terrorist depression. These unfortunate victims of society must be taken care of. How can we, as a compassionate society, allow these poor souls to wither away in retirement communities, when there is still so much work for them to do?

I say, on to Iraq with them!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Share and Sharia Alike

Christopher Orlet has some thoughts on the rising tide of Sharia Law worldwide, and how Canada just dodged that bullet.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Scopes Monkey Trial....Again

(My brother Brian-that`s Dr. Birdnow to you, Drs. Myers and Hurd-gives the straight dope on the infamous Scopes trial. For those of you who were raised believing Inherit the Wind it will come as something of an eye-opener.)

Few events in American history have become as thoroughly propagandized as the celebrated 1925 criminal case of John Scopes v. Tennessee. In the popular imagination, spurred on by stage plays and movies such as "Inherit The Wind" a brave band of free thinking schoolteachers, aided by an idealistic legal team faced down the forces of bigotry and ignorance in Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925. In this view of reality, Clarence Darrow demolished William Jennings Bryan in cross-examination and exposed Biblical theories of creation as scientific balderdash. The laws against teaching evolution were overturned. the "creationists" slunk back under the rock whence they came, Jennings Bryan died, and the world lived happily ever! How do we know this is true? The popular culture tells us this, so it must be so!

Unfortunately, this account of "What really happened" at Dayton is almost entirely false. The myths about this case were generated even as the legal drama was unfolding and slanted reporting, led by the dean of American journalists, H.L. Mencken framed the context in which the historical event has been viewed ever since. A careful study of the records involved in the case, along with all other historical information that is available show that the propaganda victory won by Darrow and company is, in fact, propaganda. It is certainly not truth!

What must be understood at the outset when beginning a study of the Scopes case is that it was a publicity stunt from the very start. It was, in fact, a "Put-up job" orchestrated by the fledgling American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU publicly announced that they would defend, without fee, any public schoolteacher who would challenge the laws concerning the teaching of evolution in public school classrooms. The ACLU would not be using rookie attorneys, they would be retaining some of the best in the business. A schoolteacher who agreed to take up the cudgel in this case would be represented by the best lawyers in the land and all free of charge!

The actual development of this case as a practical matter in Tennessee followed the same carefully choreographed script that originated in the ACLU boardroom. In Dayton, Tennessee a couple of attorneys decided to challenge the Tennessee state law banning the teaching of evolution in the state schools. Their motives had more to do with the promotion of their growing town than for idealistic or scientific concern. the attorneys recruited John T. Scopes, a part-time biology teacher at the local high school. Scopes admitted that he knew nothing about Darwin and nothing about evolution, but after receiving assurances that he would not be placed in any true danger, Scopes agreed to participate in this charade.

When Scopes was cited for teaching evolution in the classroom(he received a summons-he was not hauled away in handcuffs) in the early spring of 1925 the decks were cleared for action. The ACLU retained Clarence Darrow, the most famous trial attorney in America to defend Scopes. Darrow was assisted by a partner, Dudley Field Malone. Malone was a New York divorce lawyer and sometime politician whose main claim to fame had come in 1915. Malone, fully aware that the British passenger liner the "Lusitania" was violating all of the laws of neutrality, nevertheless allowed the ship to sail out of New York harbor. Malone was the collector of customs at the port and should have prohibited the departure of the ship. He played fast and loose with the law and bore at least a share of the blame for the infamy which followed. This gross misconduct should have at least cost Malone his law license, but nothing happened!

The state prosecution team was headed by veteran Tennessee lawyers. They were aided in their preparation by William Jennings Bryan, whose main role was to serve as an adviser to the prosecution team on the nuances of the law in questin. Bryan had helped to draft the law in Tennessee and a number of other states and his explaination of the way in which the law was supposed to work was considrered important. Bryan did not lead the prosecution, he did not question witnesses, he did not condemn scientists. Bryan was, however, subjected to slander, ridicule, and malicious defamation from people who claimed to stand for tolerance and freedom of thought. Does this sound familiar to readers of this blog?

The trial itself was somewhat monotonous in its early phases. The only legal issue in doubt was whether Scopes had violated the law. The law, itself, was not on trial and the defense team had a slender reed on which to base their case. After much jockeying back and forth the defense asked for permission to question William Jennings Bryan on questions of Biblical accuracy. Bryan consented to answer questions and Darrow subjected Bryan to a tough grilling. What is generally un known is that Bryan needled Darrow on his amoral approach to the law and society. When Bryan questioned Darrow's decision to defend the admitted murderers Leopold and Loeb, Darrow replied that they were actually victims of a society that filled their minds with bad philosophy. Bryan argued that if society convinces people that they have no more capacity for moral reasoning than monkeys society will end up getting many more people like Leopold and Loeb. Yet the only thing that we "know" about the Bryan cross-examination today is that he was reduced to a blithering fool by the folksy, yet razor-sharp Clarence Darrow.

During the trial Darrow did mock religion, he did make sport of conventional morality and the liberal contempt for everything associated with middle class America was much in evidence. For his own part Bryan emphasized Darwinism's incomplete scientific proof. he stressed that evolution could not answer questions about the beginning of life, the ascent of man, the morphing of one species into another and other questions.

In the end, Scopes was found guilty and fined one hundred dollars. The Tennessee appellate court overturned the verdict on a technicality and attempted to put the case to rest. Thanks to some slanted writing by the eastern press the impression was left that the trial was a catastrophe for Bryan and the evolutionists. A stroke killed Bryan five days after the trial ended adding weight to the legend that he had been broken in spirit by Darrow's relentless hectoring. In fact H.L. Mencken was reported to have been positively gleeful at Bryan's death saying "How do you like that? We killed the Son-Of-A-Bitch!" When Darrow was informed of Bryan's fatal strke he remarked (noting Bryan's overeating) "Stroke hell! Bryan died of a busted belly!"

Forgotten in all of this was John T. Scopes. What did Mr. Scopes get out of this spectacle? Most accounts say that he gave up teaching, attempting to leave the impression that Scopes was hounded out of the profession by the strain of the case. Actually, the ACLU paid for Scopes to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago. This expensive perk is left unmentioned by most of those who comment on the trial. Scopes became asuccessful petroleum engineer in later years.

So we find that evrything "Inherit The Wind" tells us about Scopes v. Tennessee is not the whole story. The public should read some of the new works out there concerning the Scopes trial including Marvin Olasky's new work on the subject. Without this information most observers will not know the truth of the "Monkey Trial". Come to think of it, that is exactly the thing the evolutionists want!

Brian E. Birdnow Ph. D

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Feeding the Beast

Israel should have known better, they really should have! Offering land for peace merely wets the appetite for more land. Was Hitler satisfied with reacquiring the Rhine? Was he satisfied with the Sudatenland, or all of Austria?

Here is more proof that the Gaza pullout was a mistake.

Feeding the Beast just makes it stronger and more likely to devour.

Rich Man, Poor Man

Human Events has a top-ten list of the wealthiest and poorest counties in the United States. I was surprised by #7 on the poorest list-Baltimore!(?) Check it out here.

I would like to a see statistics comparing crime rates in these counties. (I probably could find them if I worked at it long enough.) I did find a site listing the best and worst cities, and Baltimore did not appear in either catagory.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Coming To A Boil

Michael Ledeen, writing in National Review Online, warns the world that Iran is coming to a boil, and proves that the Bush Administration has clearly run out of steam.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rebellion Against the Eminent Dominatrix

America has begun fighting back against that would-be thievery unleashed by the Kelo vs. New London decision. Since the Supreme Court ruling turned Eminent Domain from a gentle lady into a Dominatrix we have seen the citizenry rise in rebellion, demanding that their rights be respected. It seems Americans still have some spirit in them, after all!

As you all remember, in Kelo the Black Robes gave their blessing to state and local governments to seize property for purposes other than those authorized by the Constitution of these United States. The Court ruled that property may be taken for economic redevelopement or other ``public purpose``, further reducing the rights of owners to hold and utilize real property. Prior to this, Eminent Domain powers were generally estricted to necessary functions such as the developement of roads and bridges. Now, according to the Court, a person may have their property seized in favor of the Golden Arches, or Home Depot can tear a man`s castle down for the sake of ``home improvement``. What should be an absolutely sacred view of property rights has been steadily eroding, and the Courts have led the charge on the bastion of this most fundamental right.

For more on my views, visit my August 17 post here or check out my American Thinker article The First Right.

A while back, I reported on an angry session of the city council of Maplewood, Mo. in which the residents forced the mayor to pledge not to use eminent domain for redevelopement purposes. Now, an alderman in the City of St. Louis has actually been recalled for advancing a scheme to steal property for redevelopement! The Patriots are dumping that tea, folks!

David Hogberg reports today in TAS that Rep. Richard Pombo has introduced a bill amending the Endangered Species Act to prevent government from stealing property and denying property rights of the citizenry.

Numerous States have been working to restrict Eminent Domain powers within their jurisdiction, but this is not enough. We need a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee this basic right, since the Supreme Court seems incapable of finding property rights in the Constitution (while finding more dubious ``rights`` such as abortion, freedom from religion, school desegregation, etc.) Property rights are the cornerstone on which all other rights rest, and they must be protected at all cost!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Give Them Enough Rope...

In my previous post, I link to Aussiegirl`s thoughts on hurricane relief. I posted a comment in which I asked the question of why the Bush Administration keeps protecting Clinton. J. James Estrada offers an explanation in the American Thinker.

Hurricane a Blowin`

Aussiegirl has some incisive thoughts over at the birthday blog (Ultima Thule) about the news coverage of the Hurricane disaster. Don`t miss it!

Whose Law is it, Anyway?

The ever brilliant Mattias Caro from Icarus Fallen passing along this interesting piece written by Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon in the Wall Street Journal about the problems with citing foreign law in Supreme Court judicial opinions.

Her point about the non-existence of a real ``International Community`` is huge; citing Sharia Law, or Communist Chinese Law is as valid as citing E.U. or U.N. rulings.

This is a must-read.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule turns 1 today! UT is THE source for Ukrainian news, as well as the best place to go for common sense and cutting edge information. Let`s all wish Aussiegirl and Bonnie Blue a happy birthday!

Doomed to Repeat

David Hogberg weighs in on the Keynsian approach to Hurricane relief and reconstruction. Let`s get in the ``Way Back Machine`` folks; it`s bellbottoms, beads, and headband time again!

Rising Red Tide

There is a good article in the American Thinker today about the growing communist menace in Venezuela. We are going to have a lot of trouble with Hugo Chavez, and we need to take steps to isolate him now. His hatred of the United States will give a portal for the terrorists and other thugs who seek our destruction.

For more on Chavez, read Christopher Orlet`s piece from May in The American Spectator.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It DOES Exist!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the giant mammaried mosquito!

Thanks to estericthespam!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Pantoum for PZ

This pantoum I wrote, which appeared in Poetry Renewal a while back, pretty much sums up radical Darwinists like PZ Myers and friends:


Close your eyes, shut your ears,
hide your fears behind your lies.
You despise what shows behind the mirrors;
so go the years until you die.

Hide your fears behind your lies
when doubts arise through your veneer;
so go the years until you die.
Truth defies the things you hear.

When doubts arise through your veneer
you grow severe in your replies.
Truth defies the things you hear,
still you draw near to your alibis.

You grow severe in your replies;
you despise what shows behind the mirrors.
Still you draw near to your alibis;
close your eyes, shut your ears.

Darwinist Jihad to be Moved

PZ Myers` desperate attack on my American Thinker article The Case Against Darwin has destabilized my blog`s formatting. (There`s a challenge to you Darwinists; how come DNA`s ``program`` has grown better and more complex on it`s own while my computer programs require constant maintenance?) PZ uses a crazy margin scheme; long and narrow (much like his thinking and argumentation) which E-Blogger is unable to cope with. I am therefore going to delete the entire thing from Birdblog, and will instead link to a site especially created for the purpose-Darwin`s Inquisition.

For you, the members of Darwin`s Tabernacle Choir, who want to continue the attempt to browbeat your critics into silence, go there. Leave your comments on DI. (Wow! It just occured to me what reversing the initials of DI gets you! But you guys would NEVER call it by that name, would you?) I will no longer allow any off topic comments on any post here at Birdblog; if you want to huff and puff and fail to blow the house down, do it at DI. You are welcome to post comments at Birdblog which are pertinent to the topic I am writing about.

I was also forced to remove the post A Living and Dying Constitution for the same reason; I will post it back up (with the comments) if and when I am able to correct the problem-sorry Always On Watch and Anonymous.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cost/Benefit Analysis for Kyoto

The National Center for Policy Analysis has an interesting new study comparing the cost to benefits of enacting Kyoto versus dealing with any Global Warming effects. Since Global Warming is largely driven by the solar cycle, the choice should be obvious (well, to anybody but Professor PZ Myers and his swarming minions.) This is definitely an interesting read. (Maybe Global Warming is what makes Myerites swarm?)

Bonnie Blue has a post over at Ultima Thule about the probable (well deserved) death of the Kyoto treaty. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Golden Goose in Every Pot

A nation must be able to transmit it`s own peculiar culture and traditions to truly be a nation. According to the Center for Immigration Studies one out of every four children born in America are born to immigrants! This bodes ill indeed for the continuation of American culture and tradition. How can we enculturate and absorb such a massive tide? The obvious answer is that America must do the changing, and our culture will be the one making the adaptation.

These immigrants came here to enjoy the wealth, prosperity, and way of life that our unique American culture has provided. How long before the storm-surge of unrestricted immigration kills the goose which laid the golden egg? American culture is what has given us this prosperity and success. Immigrants have always brought the best from their home cultures and tossed it into our melting pot, while adopting the ideals which have given this bounty to all. How can this continue if floods of immigrants keep pouring into this country with no pressure to enculturate?

Diversity theorists have insisted that all cultures are equal, and we have no right to force others to accept our values. America has adopted this suicidal creed at a time when we can least afford it, when the Nation is being flooded by a great migration of peoples who seek the blessings of our country but aren`t especially interested in becoming part of us. This is a recipe for Golden Goose fricassie; it holds the seeds of our destruction. We have GOT to take this seriously! Peoples have lost their nations before us; what makes us think that we won`t share the fate of ancient India, Rome, Anatolia, Britain, North Africa, etc.? We have no undying place in this world. Our fate depends upon our cultural and spiritual vigor; without our believing in our God and our culture we are doomed to destruction.

Many, many in America despise the beautiful City on the Hill which is the United States. There are many among us those who see this land as a tyrant and despoiler, and would love to see the end of the very things which allow them to sit in the comfort of their fashionable homes and think (and speak) these thoughts. Many in the left would love to see a flood of immigrants swallow up the ``evil imperialist`` America. Many believe that if America could be transformed into a third-world nation, the world would be at peace and humanity could return to that pastoral paradise of yore in which we all live in an idyllic state of Nature and frolick with Mother Gaia. The destruction of the evils of capitalism and industry are necessary to return us to this mythic paradise, and the collapse of America is the price they are willing to pay. That this destruction would arguably be the greatest disaster in history (worse, even, than the fall of Rome because it would spell the end of Mankind`s experiment with Liberty) does not seem to occur to these dolts. These people want the Golden Goose to fly free! They never think about what they will eat when the Goose has flown.

Between the lunatic left, our foreign enemies, and uncontrolled immigration, the United States is in mortal peril. It`s time for everyone to wake up to that fact, or we may be joining the Romans as footnotes of glory in the pages of history!

Race Baiting

Thanks to Thomas Willms for passing along a this excellent piece by Larry Elder on race-baiting the New Orleans tragedy.

Is Catholic a Four Letter Word?

Patrick O`Hannigan has some interesting thoughts on John Roberts Catholicism and his answers to the Senate Confirmation Inquisitors in the American Spectator Online this morning. While you`re at it, you should check out his blog The Paragraph Farmer for a bumper crop of common sense.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Courting Judicial Change

Jeff Jacoby was quoted by the Federalist arguing for term-limiting the Judiciary. I wholeheartedly agree, and make my case below.

Mr. Jacoby writes:

"The Constitution grants life tenure to federal judges, and [Chief Justice William] Rehnquist was under no legal obligation to step down because of illness;not even an incurable cancer that was visibly robbing him of his strength. But there is growing support, both public and academic, for abolishing life tenure on the high court, and cases like Rehnquist's are part of the reason why. As life expectancy has grown, and as the Supreme Court has become ever more powerful, justices are staying in office much longer than they used to... There are other problems with life tenure: Little or no democratic accountability. Bitter confirmation battles, since the stakes;a justice who may hold office for 25 or more years;are so high. Falling productivity, with today's geriatric court generating only half as many full opinions as the court did two or three decades ago (even though the justices hire twice as many law clerks). Remoteness from the workings of the real world, including the judicial system over which they preside... An AP poll last year found 60 percent support for ending lifetime tenure;with people older than 65 most likely to favor mandatory retirement. Past attempts to limit Supreme Court terms have fizzled, but in a post-Rehnquist era, the winds may shift.``;Jeff Jacoby

The principle argument for life tenure of judges and justices is that 1. the Judiciary is the weakest branch of government, and term-limiting judges would unduly diminish it`s power and 2.Judges should be shielded from political pressures to make their decisions based on what the law says, not what popular fashion dictates. Unfortunately, neither of these arguments have any validity at the current time.

Alexander Hamilton makes the case in Federalist 78 that the Judicial Branch is the weakest of the three branches of government. He points out that the Judiciary has no enforcement powers, and has no means of raising money on it`s own (or it didn`t before courts began socking people with fines and fees). According to Hamilton, the Judiciary is at the mercy of the other branches of government. This was undoubtedly what the Founders had intended, and the Founders almost certainly thought that the Executive Branch would refuse to enforce Judicial fiats which overstepped the Court`s authority, while Congress would use the power of the purse or impeachment to wither an out-of-control Court. Remember, the Supreme Court was not explicitly granted the right to decide the Constitutionality of laws; they granted that right to themselves through Marbury v. Madison. The Supreme Court has been expanding it`s own power ever since-and the other branches have allowed it get away with this. It has never worked the way the Founders thought it would. (Actually, many other aspects of government didn`t turn out the way the Founders thought; they believed that there would be no political parties and that the Presidency would be decided in Congress, they believed that amendments to the Constitution would enter via conventions rather than the more time consuming method of state ratification, etc.)

The early United States government was very different from the Leviathan monstrosity we know and love today; with few people, little money, and a huge frontier it was impossible for the Federal Government to micromanage as it does now. Until the Civil War the state governments were the principle authority over matters within their territories (and this was the primary reason for the Civil War-not slavery as we have been led to believe.) The Supreme Court was limited by the more Confederated system we had in place. Still, the Court continued to usurp power, and Congress and the Presidency were both willing to allow this because of the lifetime appointments of the Justices! The Judiciary was inoculated from the wrath of the voting public, so the other branches of government have been willing to allow the Courts greater authority over matters. The Founders hadn`t realized this would happen when they devised the architecture of the government; those who have to face the voters will ceed authority to those who don`t.

We see this concept at work in institutions outside of the courts; consider the myriad bureaucracies within government. Bureaucrats are career people in governmental entities which can issue regulations and guidelines which have the force of law, and yet they do not answer directly to the populace. Think of how many people are angry at the price of gasoline, for example; that price is driven by environmental standards set by the EPA, and Congress and the President can claim that they have no blame for high prices because THE AGENCY has issued the orders! They themselves are not PERSONALLY responsible for giving the orders which raised gas prices, so they can cover their gluteus maximi! Elected officials hide behind bureaucratic skirts-and behind Judicial robes. Our elected servants are content with this watering down of their duties and authority; they can transfer blame to an ephemeral agency or tyrannical Court. As a result, Congress and the President have been more than happy to surrender their authority, even when this surrender is antithetical to the purposes of those who support them. Our fearless elected officials worry more about their own political skins than about their Constitutional mandate.

The Left understood this fact early on, and they enticed leftish-leaning representatives to support a strong Court to do their dirty work. Conservatives were slow to come to the realization of this conceited usurpation of power, preferring to work electorally to reign in the power of the Black Robes. That the Left had control of the dissemination of information (Media, Universities, publishing houses, advertising and entertainment) and held sway over Congress since Roosevelt, made them invincible in advancing their radical agenda. The Courts acted as the Left`s ``Martello``, the liberal`s mafia hammer, which could force ridiculous and despotic social experiments off on the citizenry in the name of fairness and Constitutionality. The right would huff and puff, but in the end would obey Court rulings because of a belief in the Rule of Law, a rule which had long been broken by the radicalizized Judiciary. Judicial edict came to trump the spirit of the Law.

The old arguments for lifetime appointments for the Judiciary no longer work. The Courts have become too powerful, and the appointment of one activist Justice to the Supreme Court has repercussions for half a century or more. The Founders hadn`t foreseen this. They believed that the Judiciary should be shielded from political winds, but the Judiciary has become the Hurricane which is blowing those winds through our society. At present, we have absolutely no way of holding this branch of government accountable. It has become the most powerful branch, with the Executive and Legislative Branches asking how high when the Court says jump. Furthermore, as Jeff Jacoby points out, with the increase in longevity Justices now can spend decades on the Court instead of years. This has to stop.

The Founders had originally planned for a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Unfortunately, it has become a government of lawyers, by lawyers, for lawyers. How many of our representatives are NOT attorneys? How many Judges or Justices? It has become common wisdom that Judges and Justices must be Doctors of Jurisprudence, but that was not at all what the Founders intended. Where, pray tell, is that qualification in the main body of the Constitution? Why isn`t it there? Because that was never their intent to have America governed by such a narrow school of thought. Furthermore, the concept of Lawyer has changed since the days of our Founders; much of what a lawyer studied in the 18th and early 19th centuries was Natural Law (i.e. philosophy). Patrick Henry read a few books on Natural Law and took the examinations for his license. (This was not a written test; it was done through private interviews with respected lawyers. Two out of three had to assent to granting the license, and Henry became an attorney only because one of his examiners took pity on him and made him pledge to study hard in the future.) Lawyers used to be men of learning in general; not just specialists in the manipulation of an arbitrary legal code. Unfortunately, Lawyers have attained ascendancy in all aspects of government in America.

It`s time for a change! A good start would be to term-limit judicial appointments.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Emergency Powers and Duties

Thanks to all for your concerns about my back troubles. I`m not quite up for telling the whole sordid tale-it would actually be quite funny if it happened to someone else-but I promise to give you the whole story sometime this week. Suffice it to say that I`m doing better, but still have a ways to go. My blogging may be a bit lighter than normal; please be patient!

I was wondering how many of you, my wise and noble readers, caught New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Meet the Press? In an effort to stir up trouble, Tim Russert asked Mayor Nagin his opinion of George Bush`s response to the Hurricane. Nagin spoke rather kindly of Bush, saying he thinks the President initially didn`t have proper information on what was happening. He stated that the President responded immediately to any requests from his office. His attitude changed dramatically when asked about Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco; he was visibly trying to control his anger at the Democratic Governor. Interesting, no? The Democrats and the Media have tried to pin the slow response to this disaster on the President in one of the most shameful partisan displays we have yet witnessed. The reality is that the Governor has control of her state-not the President-and her timid and vacillating response was largely to blame for the problems. SHE asked for twenty four hours to think over the President`s offer of troops. SHE failed to put her State`s evacuation plans in motion. She fumbled the ball-and Mayor Nagin understands that clearly.

I would say that the Democrats may rue the day when they called for an investigation of this except that the press will probably bury it. Congress will issue a report which the MSM will cover half-heartedly and they will stress that mistakes were made on both sides of the aisle. Don`t expect any political fallout from this-unless someone turns something up which makes the Administration look bad.

In fact, the President handled this properly. His only mistake was not rushing to Louisiana immediately, biting his lip ala Bill Clinton and ``feeling their pain`` (as well as a few of the more nubile refugees fannies.) In the modern theraputic culture, the President is supposed to be ``our Freud``, the Psychiatrist-in-Chief, who listens sympathetically to our woes. Clinton was the perfect man for the Jerry Springer/Oprah culture of the `90`s. President Bush just isn`t cut from the same cloth; he believes in listening when he should listen and acting when he should act. He does not speak first and ask questions later. This makes him a more effective administrator, but it costs him P.R. points. Modern America wants a ``Great White Father`` in Washington; they want someone to hold their hands.

This Hurricane is going to have serious long-term effects. We are going to see a move to further weaken the autonomy of the States, with the Federal Government running the show whenever any disaster strikes. I fear that Federal involvement will no longer be at the request of the state, but at the pleasure of FEMA and Congress. How much longer will we even bother with the notion of ``states``? Soon we will be calling them provinces.

Further, the move is afoot to move FEMA out of the DHS and make it a cabinet level position. Liberals are actually saying this will cut through the red tape (when has a new layer of beaurocracy ever REDUCED red tape?) We don`t need another layer of beaurocracy in Washington. The Republicans need to oppose this.

In the final analysis, government starts at home. Many of those hurt by the Hurricane failed to heed the warnings, and are angry at the government because they have come to depend on government to babysit them. The City of New Orleans did indeed fail to execute their evacuation plans properly. The State failed to act decisively. A cabinet level Department of Emergencies would not have been able to act any faster than the local or state governments-or the people.

First and foremost, people must learn self-reliance. The world is a dangerous place, and survival starts with the individual. For too long we have sought the solutions to our problems in Washington, and everyone in this crisis waited for the Feds to act first. This monarchial mentality, this idea that power flows from the King downward, has cost numerous lives here. America has lost the spirit which made a Republic possible. One hundred years ago no one would have made a fuss about the failure of Washington to act. We have become conditioned to the idea of, well, servitude. Too many among us view our condition as one of serfdom, where the Lord (Government) provides for us and protects us while we render our yearly tribute (on April 15th, as it happens here.)

Our system was never designed for such a servile attitude; America was built by the self-reliant, and our system of government was predicated on that principle. America cannot last in its current form with the continual feudalization of society.

If hard cases make bad law, what does a disaster of this magnitude create? Any proposals which grow the authority of government to deal with this crisis will doom more people in the future.

Bolshevik Busting Bunker Buster Bombs

The left has a curious worldview; they see a moral equivelancy between the United States and her enemies (actually, they believe our enemies to be superior to us), and they resist our right to defend ourselves on moralistic grounds. They think our use of nuclear weapons against an enemy who plans on using WMD`s against US is immoral and obscene. As a result, they have bitterly resisted our developement of tactical nuclear devices and spend their time pining away for the good old days of the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine because it guaranteed non-use of atomic weapons. (They also wanted to freeze our ICBM levels and reduce them through international treaties until they, too, were gone.) The problem to the left is America, not terrorists or communist thugs! WE have no right to such power, and will destroy everything in our madness and lust for World domination. They refuse to allow America to defend itself.

That`s why it`s good to see that we are working on the implementation of George Bush`s new doctrine of pre-emption (that new policy which goes back into the mists of history.) The left will go absolutely bananas! Below is a story from the Washington Post about the plans the Pentagon has under developement:

Washington Post


By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 11, 2005; A01

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The document, written by the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs staff but not yet finally approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, would update rules and procedures governing use of nuclear weapons to reflect a preemption strategy first announced by the Bush White House in December 2002. The strategy was outlined in more detail at the time in classified national security directives.

At a White House briefing that year, a spokesman said the United States would "respond with overwhelming force" to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, its forces or allies, and said "all options" would be available to the president.

The draft, dated March 15, would provide authoritative guidance for commanders to request presidential approval for using nuclear weapons, and represents the Pentagon's first attempt to revise procedures to reflect the Bush preemption doctrine. A previous version, completed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, contains no mention of using nuclear weapons preemptively or specifically against threats from weapons of mass destruction.

Titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" and written under the direction of Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the draft document is unclassified and available on a Pentagon Web site. It is expected to be signed within a few weeks by Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, director of the Joint Staff, according to Navy Cmdr. Dawn Cutler, a public affairs officer in Myers's office. Meanwhile, the draft is going through final coordination with the military services, the combatant commanders, Pentagon legal authorities and Rumsfeld's office, Cutler said in a written statement.

A "summary of changes" included in the draft identifies differences from the 1995 doctrine, and says the new document "revises the discussion of nuclear weapons use across the range of military operations."

The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.

Another scenario for a possible nuclear preemptive strike is in case of an "imminent attack from adversary biological weapons that only effects from nuclear weapons can safely destroy."

That and other provisions in the document appear to refer to nuclear initiatives proposed by the administration that Congress has thus far declined to fully support.

Last year, for example, Congress refused to fund research toward development of nuclear weapons that could destroy biological or chemical weapons materials without dispersing them into the atmosphere.

The draft document also envisions the use of atomic weapons for "attacks on adversary installations including WMD, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons."

But Congress last year halted funding of a study to determine the viability of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator warhead (RNEP) -- commonly called the bunker buster -- that the Pentagon has said is needed to attack hardened, deeply buried weapons sites.

The Joint Staff draft doctrine explains that despite the end of the Cold War, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction "raises the danger of nuclear weapons use." It says that there are "about thirty nations with WMD programs" along with "nonstate actors [terrorists] either independently or as sponsored by an adversarial state."

To meet that situation, the document says that "responsible security planning requires preparation for threats that are possible, though perhaps unlikely today."

To deter the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, the Pentagon paper says preparations must be made to use nuclear weapons and show determination to use them "if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use."

The draft says that to deter a potential adversary from using such weapons, that adversary's leadership must "believe the United States has both the ability and will to pre-empt or retaliate promptly with responses that are credible and effective." The draft also notes that U.S. policy in the past has "repeatedly rejected calls for adoption of 'no first use' policy of nuclear weapons since this policy could undermine deterrence."

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has been a leading opponent of the bunker-buster program, said yesterday the draft was "apparently a follow-through on their nuclear posture review and they seem to bypass the idea that Congress had doubts about the program." She added that members "certainly don't want the administration to move forward with a [nuclear] preemption policy" without hearings, closed door if necessary.

A spokesman for Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said yesterday the panel has not yet received a copy of the draft.

Hans M. Kristensen, a consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council, who discovered the document on the Pentagon Web site, said yesterday that it "emphasizes the need for a robust nuclear arsenal ready to strike on short notice including new missions."

Kristensen, who has specialized for more than a decade in nuclear weapons research, said a final version of the doctrine was due in August but has not yet appeared.

"This doctrine does not deliver on the Bush administration pledge of a reduced role for nuclear weapons," Kristensen said. "It provides justification for contentious concepts not proven and implies the need for RNEP."

One reason for the delay may be concern about raising publicly the possibility of preemptive use of nuclear weapons, or concern that it might interfere with attempts to persuade Congress to finance the bunker buster and other specialized nuclear weapons.

In April, Rumsfeld appeared before the Senate Armed Services panel and asked for the bunker buster study to be funded. He said the money was for research and not to begin production on any particular warhead. "The only thing we have is very large, very dirty, big nuclear weapons," Rumsfeld said. "It seems to me studying it [the RNEP] makes all the sense in the world

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Apologies For Light Blogging

Blogging will be light for the next couple of days-I`m having some problems with my back and it`s too difficult to sit at the computer. Check back in a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Meanwhile, Back In Palestine...

This from Palestinian Media Watch, courtesy of Jihad Watch:

Palestinian Authority hatred of the United States is so deeply ingrained in its ideology that it continues to openly promote vicious anti-American hatred - even right after signing a deal to receive $50 million in direct aid from the US.
Radio and television sermons by senior PA religious officials in the past week have presented the US as foremost among the "heretical" countries, and as an enemy trying to dismantle the Islamic world.

In the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, one religious leader called for Iraqis to intensify terrorist uprisings against American soldiers.

The timing of these anti-US sermons is particularly significant - and not just because they come on the heels of the $50-million grant from the US. The PA has received considerable worldwide criticism for the hatred and calls for violence in its official sermons. In recent months, it has been reported that the texts of these sermons are now presented to PA officials for approval before the public broadcasts....

Yusuf Abu Sneina, Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque

"Anyone who watches closely the nature of our world today, can see that the heretical countries - first and foremost, the USA - have succeeded greatly in tearing our Islamic world apart by disintegrating and splitting up more than one Islamic state, intending to weaken it, disperse [its citizens] and plunder its resources. It is terrorism, and there's no choice but to fight it.

"As regards Iraq, there is much to say about it. The USA has composed a draft of the Iraqi Constitution in a way that it will serve US interests and enhance the disintegration of Iraq's unity. The new constitution includes federal solutions, which are dividing Iraq into small countries.

"A federal government hides behind it; the seeds of a future civil war. The USA is planning to rule Saudi Arabia and disintegrate it, too, despite the close friendly relations between the two countries...

"Is the USA going to fulfill its ambitions and aggressive plans? And, for how long shall the submission and surrender to the plans of the enemies of the [Islamic] nation?" [Yusuf Abu Sneina, Voice of Palestine, September 2, 2005....]

Yusuf Jum'a Salamah, PA Minister of the Waqf and Religious Affairs, in the presence of Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials

"We say to the dear, heroic Iraqi nation, turn this incident [the accidental death of 1,000 Iraqis] into an opportunity for resisting [term regularly used by PA to describe terrorist attacks] the [American] occupation, for uniting families, for unifying the forces and for opposition to the policy of dismantling Iraq and dividing it geographically." [Yusuf Jum'a Salamah, Official Friday sermon, PA TV, September 2, 2005]

A Disasterous SCOTUS Decision

An article in The Hill by Elana Schor suggests that as many as 25 Democrats may be voting to confirm John Roberts as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I`m sorry if I`m not thrilled, but I think this was an astoundingly lame move by the President, and was taken solely to avoid trouble. Politically it was the safe choice, but I wonder who is going to have the last laugh?

We still know very little about what Roberts will do once on the Court, and making him Chief Justice will give him great influence over which direction the Court will take. Roberts is a novice judge, after all, and it was his lack of judicial credentials which got him nominated for the post of Justice in the first place. I have always frowned on this move, and I fear we may end up with another Earl Warren.

Even if Roberts proves to be a bonafide conservative (how many conservatives manage to spend 30 years inside the beltway and not have their views known?) he still should not be given the top job on the Court over Scalia or Thomas. His lack of experience as a judge will not sit well with any of the other members of the Court, and one can hardly fault Scalia or Thomas for being unhappy about this insult. (Actually, I doubt ANY member of the Court will be happy about this.)

This is a slap in the face of Antonin Scalia, who clearly should have been named as Rehnquist`s replacement. Scalia has proven himself to be an outstanding jurist, and is respected by all of the members of the Court. His confirmation battle would be tough, but he would have triumphed in the end. Furthermore, this is an insult to the conservative coalition which supported the President.

The President made this move because he has no stomach for a fight (you might say he`s Bushed!) and because he shows loyalty to his people (one could use the less-than-flattering term ``cronies``.) The situation in New Orleans loomed large in the President`s thinking; he didn`t want a scrap at this moment. (When does he ever want a scrap?)

The problem is that Roberts will be leading the Court for decades, and his influence will extend for half a century or better. America deserved the best legal mind to lead the Court; the right man for that job is Scalia. The President has failed us with this popgun nomination. He is not qualified to be Chief Justice, and we just don`t know where Mr. Roberts will lead.

Even if he is not Earl Warren, he is still a man of compromise and consensus-that much is clear from the lack of opposition he faces (when Mark Shields on PBS calls him easily confirmable, look out!) America does not need a knock-kneed, mealy-mouthed Chief Justice; America needs a strong leader who will roll back the activist decisions and usurpation of authority we`ve suffered during the last 50 years! It`s very unlikely Roberts will be that man; at best he will give us a Warren Berger-type Court. We deserved better!

For once, I`m actually rooting for the Democrats!

The Helping Hand of Government

Proof that Mr. Bumble (of Oliver Twist fame) was right when he called the Law an ass!

``On July 3 in San Marcos, Texas, Dave Newman, 48, rescued a swimmer caught in the currents of the San Marcos River, pulling the man underneath a waterfall and to shore. However, when Newman tried to climb out of the water, a police officer offered his hand but only to arrest Newman for interfering with "official" rescuers (who, of course, failed to get to the man before Newman did).``

[WHIO-TV (Dayton, Ohio), 7-1-05]

The Blame Game

This from Rich Galen, courtesy of the Federalist:

The Culture of Blame—on assigning blame for Hurricane Katrina: "Let me make this clear: Everything which has happened as the result of Hurricane Katrina is my fault. Mine. Alone. No one else's. Stop wasting energy pointing fingers and put your hands to work helping out. It was me. Got it? I was a United States Senator from Louisiana in 2001 when the levee at Lake Pontchartrain was declared unsafe and I didn't have enough clout with my Senatorial brethren to get sufficient money appropriated to fix it. It was my fault. Oh. I almost forgot. I was the Commander-in-Chief of all United States Armed Forces in the 1960s which includes the Corps of Engineers. The cost-benefit analysis? My fault. It is my fault that, as the Governor of Louisiana, I didn't foresee the need to have enough Louisiana National Guard troops—the vast majority of whom are NOT currently in Iraq, or Afghanistan or, for that matter, Indiana—pre-positioned and ready to preserve order. I, frankly, forgot that there is a portion of the population which will steal anything from anyone given any opportunity and then will blame it on me because I didn't—in spite of ample warnings by sociologists from large Eastern Universities—foresee the need to have 27" flat-screen television sets available to every family in the New Orleans city limits as soon as the electricity went out. That one WAS my bad. It is my fault that, as Mayor of New Orleans, I was boogying down Bourbon Street the night before the hurricane hit rather than being where I should have been—on the roof of the Superdome pounding in extra nails to hold the roof on. As the architect of the Superdome, it was my fault for claiming that the Dome could survive 200 mile-per-hour winds. It couldn't even handle a relatively gentle 160 mile-per-hour zephyr. Strap me to my drafting table and set me adrift. Global warming? My fault. Despite the fact that nearly every serious climatologist in America has stated over and over again that there is no clear evidence tying human-generated greenhouse gasses to global warming, and even if there were, there is no evidence tying global warming to hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, I was opposed to the Kyoto treaty and so it is my fault. It is also my fault that during the administration of Bill Clinton the U.S. Senate rejected the terms of the Kyoto protocols by a vote of 95-0. That would be zero, zilch, nada, nil, bupkis. As the Grand Poohbah in Charge of all TV Coverage, it is my fault that there is constant video of looters and almost none of humanitarian activities. I am the person who issued the statement: 'No more rescue footage UNLESS the person rescued complains about how long they had to wait or, if he shoots at the rescuers.' And, finally, as Chairman of the National Association of Gasoline Producers it is my fault that I had the bad judgment to put so much of my drilling, refining and transportation assets in a hurricane-prone area like the Caribbean basin. What...was...I...thinking? If I could re-do that whole thing, I would have put all that equipment in Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. There may not be any oil there, but hurricanes are very rare. So. There you have it. Everything that has happened is my fault. Now. Shut up and help."—Rich Galen

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Jihad of the Divine Wind

They called it the Divine Wind-the Kamikaze. Back in the 13th Century, when Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan launched a fleet of ships to invade Japan, a typhoon struck while the fleet was in passage, wiping it out utterly. The Japanese believed that the wind was divinely ordained to save them for a greater destiny. It is no wonder that the Japanese named their suicide pilots Kamikaze during the Second World War; they believed that these were the new Divine Wind, destined to bring America to it`s knees.

What is the measure of a people? What are the watermarks which define the vigor and moral character of a nation? If character is what one does when no-one is looking, what can be said for the behavior of the people of New Orleans and, by extension, the people of America itself in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina? Within hours of a temporary disruption in law enforcement and Civil Services we witnessed an appalling display of barbarism and savagery as looters and criminals ran amok on the streets of the Big Easy. Unfortunately, this criminality reflects the deeper malady which is becoming entrenched in our society; it is becoming apparent that for many in America moral righteousness and the rule of law are but distant echoes, and that our civilization is held together more by force of arms than by decency and respect for our fellows. It is a sad commentary on the state of our National Character.

George Neumayr, executive editor of the American Spectator, has an excellent article in which he delves into the criminality which has haunted the Big Easy. He, along with Thomas Lifson from the American Thinker make the case that New Orleans is ultimately the fruits of liberalism and a leftist social agenda. New Orleans is a city full of corruption and immorality, and force of arms has been the basis of order for years. There is no respect for the rule of law now because there was no respect for it before the disaster. By removing the constraints imposed by the State, Hurricane Katrina has paved the way for the barbarians we have been creating in our midst to act as they will, with chaos, murder, rape, and general mayhem the results.

This is illustrative of more than a political or even moral problem; this is a spiritual one. For far too long, this nation has turned its back on its roots, and on the Faith which has nurtured and sustained us. America has allowed the ACLU and the other forces of darkness to cloud our minds and darken our hearts. For far too long we have scoffed at the old ideas of morality and Godliness, thinking ourselves too intelligent and urbane to bother with these old superstitions. We have kicked God out of our schools, our Courts of Law, our governments, and out of our philosophy of life. We have replaced an almighty Creator with an almighty Government, putting our faith in the works of Man. It should not surprise us when everything comes unraveled; Man has no moral authority over men, and the failure of the system inevitably leads to the ancient precept of might makes right. We return to a state of nature, where life is poor, hard, brutish, and short. Darwin`s ``survival of the fittest`` is the natural state, and this means the ruthless and the strong will flourish at others expense.

What we believe, and what we honor, determines our behavior. If our highest honor is to our lusts we will be ruled by our lusts. If we believe we are animals, we will act like animals. If we exalt our bellies we will end up crawling on them.

We can only have the Rule of Law in a righteous land, and righteousness ultimately can come from only one source. We should not be surprised to find lawlessness and chaos where God is not welcome.

For the most incisive thinking on the Katrina situation, go to Ultima Thule. Aussiegirl has been making more sense than anybody else on the subject (as usual!)

Osama Bin-Laden must be laughing his loincloth off over the situation in New Orleans. What has been happening there confirms to the rest of the world what Bin-Laden has been saying; that the United States is immoral, weak, cowardly, and barbaric. Al-Quada got what they wanted without having to raise a finger; a Divine Wind has smitten America. We have been busily doing to ourselves what every terrorist on Earth would have loved to do. We have given our militant friends the greatest gift-we have given them instant Jihad!

If Al-Quada has any plans to attack the United States in progress, now would be the best time to strike. Look at the chaos a HURRICANE has caused! Can you imagine what will happen if a nuclear device were to be set off now?

I think the time has come for the Nation to Pray.

The Fragile X

In my recent article on Darwin I mentioned Fragile X, which results from the disintegration of the end of one arm of the X chromosome . Fragile X is the leading inherited cause of mental retardation, and a great scourge, since it usually ends a family line. Believe me, I know.

A reader took umbrage with my description of Fragile X, and wrote a letter to the American Thinker, which Thomas Lifson graciously published. Read the letter in it`s entirety below:

Dear Editor,

As a parent of a child with Fragile X Syndrome, I wanted to clarify that Fragile X Syndrome is not a result of "chromosomal decay where one of the legs of the X has crumbled away" as described in the August 30th article by Tim Birdnow.

According to the National Fragile X Foundation Website: (
A change or mutation in a gene on the X chromosome causes the fragile X syndrome. Chromosomes are packages of genes that are passed from generation to generation. Most individuals have 46 chromosomes, two of which are sex chromosomes. In females, these are two X's; in males they are and X and Y. Genes are given names to identify them and the gene responsible for fragile X syndrome is called the FMR1 (fragile X mental retardation 1) gene. The mutation is in the DNA (the chemical that makes up genes), of the X chromosome. The gene appears in three forms that are defined by the number of repeats of a pattern of DNA called CGG repeats. Individuals with less than 60 CGG repeats have a normal gene. Individuals with 60-200 CGG repeats have a premutation which means they carry an unstable mutation which can expand in future generations. Individuals with over 200 repeats have a full mutation which causes fragile X syndrome. The full mutation causes the gene to shut down or methylate a region of the FMR-1 gene. Normally, the FMR-1 gene produces an important protein called FMRP. When the gene is turned off, the individual does not make fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). The lack of this specific protein causes fragile X syndrome.

Mr. Birdnow suggested that the gene decays. That is not factual. While we always appreciate the fact that more people are learning about Fragile X Syndrome, it's important to be armed with factual information about the cause and symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome. I invite you to visit or for more information on Fragile X Syndrome.

Steve Strom

I responded:

I just wanted to clarify the point made by reader Steve Strom about Fragile X. He is correct in that Fragile X is caused by a mutation (which was my whole point) but what I said about Fragile X was correct. Obviously, I couldn`t go into a long dissertation about the FMR1 gene.

This is from the Pediatric Bulletin

``Fragile X syndrome is the most commonly inherited form of mental retardation. Although it is thought to be an X-linked recessive trait with variable expression and incomplete penetrance, 30% of all carrier women are also affected. The syndrome is called “fragile-X” because there exists a fragile site or gap at the end of the long arm of the X-chromosome in lymphocytes of affected patients when grown in a folate deficient medium.``

In short, one of the legs of the chromosome is crumbling away because of this mutation.

My wife has fragile X in her family, as well as two M.D.`s (both of whom have Fragile X children) who have explained this to me. Steve Strom is correct, but so am I.

Here is a picture of the collapsing end of the x chromosome in a Fragile X carrier.

According to USA Today`s Health Encyclopedia:

Some people have chromosomes that when studied in a laboratory, have a tendency to "break" or "tear." The damage to these aberrant chromosomes typically occurs in particular regions, called fragile sites.

Also, Dr. Jennifer Jewell writes:

The genetic defect is dynamic and lies at the distal end of the long arm of the X chromosome. Careful examination of the karyotype of affected individuals' lymphocytes, cultured in a folate-depleted and thymidine-depleted medium, reveals a constriction followed by a thin strand of genetic material extending beyond the long arm at the highly conserved band Xq27.3. This constriction and thin strand produces the appearance of a fragile portion of the X chromosome, leading to the term fragile X. The function of the band Xq27.3, which is also termed the fragile X mental retardation (FMR1) gene, is currently unclear but is believed to play a role in normal brain development. Once identified and sequenced, the gene was discovered to contain a repeating base pair triplet (CGG) expansion, which is responsible for fragile X syndrome.

In other words, the end of one arm of the X chromosome is collapsing, with a strand of molecules trailing off.

That this collapse is caused by a genetic mutation does not invalidate my point. My point was that genes, and chromosomes, mutate in non-beneficial ways, and that the idea that random mutations evolve an organism for the better is dubious. Also, Mr.
Strom states that Fragile X is caused by genetic mutation, then says it is not from genetic disintigration. What exactly IS genetic mutation other than a form of disintigration?

My point in the article, of course, was that a slight change to one gene causes a structural defect at the tip of a chromosome, and this ``hanging chad`` causes enormous problems for the inheritor. That genes and chromosome mutate is without question, and those mutations are unavoidable and inevitably harmful. We all suffer from genetic drift as we age, which is probably why our sex drive begins to shut down and a woman passes her childbearing years. Still, why hasn`t this drift corrupted the gene pool? Men can father children into old age (I believe Charlie Chaplin was in his 90`s when he fathered a child.) These mutations should corrupt the gene pool, not drive it upwards. The idea that mutations lead to evolution is hard to swallow; things wind down.

Getting back to Fragile X; people often ask my wife and me why we don`t have children. This is one of the primary reasons; my wife has the premutation, and we will probably be passing along the SYNDROME to any children we would conceive. She has four syblings, and all but one have Fragile X children. Fragile X ends families.

My wife`s sister is an M.D., and so is her other sister`s husband, and they are both active in the cause, as is the rest of her family. Their children have a range of problems; hyperactivity, emotional problems, slow cognitive developement, epilepsy, etc. Fortunately, only one boy is affected (Fragile X is generally much worse in boys), and the girls range from fairly minor to moderately severe.

Great strides are being made towards developing gene therapy and other therapies to treat Fragile X Syndrome. Like all genetic disorders, it is going to be a long and laborious process, and actually CURING the disorder is not likely in the forseeable future. Still, early intervention may help prevent the Syndrome from developing and ruining lives.

(Apologies to Furniture Cat who left a message while I was trying to repair formatting problems with this post. I have lost her comments in the process; please feel free to write back to me!)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

You Want Fries with that Eucharist?

Due to the pedophilia scandals, the Catholic Church needs money, and lots of it. Recently we have seen massive parish closings here in St. Louis (my old grade school and church closed, for instance)and the parishes which have closed have been those with high commercial appeal. The Archdiocese is selling off it`s best properties to raise money. This suggests that we may have another wave of accusations against clergy on the way.

As a result, the traditional architecture and style of Catholic Churches is being sacrificed for buildings with higher commercial appeal.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Catholicism has always been it`s reliability; the Church has always been a rock, and people have always expected it to act as a force for stability. What message does it send when your community Church may become a Jack in the Box restaurant in a few years?

It hardly encourages confidence.

Below is an article proving the point:

Today's Church, Tomorrow's Treasure

XPQwire (August 29) "WE'RE BUILDING for the future," claims Los Angeles
Archdiocesan Projects Manager Msgr. Bud Bradelstad. The man who directs its
long-range planning explained that California's largest Catholic diocese designs its
churches with a view to future use -- as warehouses, fast-food outlets, or
even skating rinks.
"We estimate between 40 and 70 percent of our properties will be sold in ten
years' time," said Bradelstad, "just to pay the buggery bill. So resale value
is hugely important to us. Now if you sell a church that can be easily
converted into a Wendy's, say, or a Jiffy-Lube, you're getting maybe 80 cents back on
your construction cost dollar, compared with 15 cents for a gothic-style
Bradelstad has little patience with critics who prefer traditional church
architecture. "It's like marrying a dumb fashion model," he snorted. "Sure she's
pretty, but can she cook? And brother we NEED buildings that can cook --
probably $200 million worth of cooking all told. I mean, what can you do with a
traditional church except use it for another traditional church?
"Look," he continued. "I like the old-style buildings myself. They're cute.
But to build a nave-and-sanctuary prayer-machine in today's world is grossly
irresponsible, pastorally speaking. It's a dog. And in the end it's the seller
who pays for the makeover."
Recent bankruptcy court decisions in Oregon and Washington have made diocesan
real estate more fungible and increased the need for a functional "turnover
strategy," according to Bradelstad.
"Take our new cathedral. We could've gone the ritual and worship route and
got stuck with an old maid. Instead we went with maximum second-owner
flexibility: a poured-concrete mega-box that'll bring in big bucks come market time. I'm
thinking frozen foods, I'm thinking cineplex, I'm thinking long-term storage,
I'm thinking foundry or medium-industry manufacturing. Hey, we've already had
interest expressed by General Motors and Lockheed. It's a winner."
Monsignor Bud expressed the hope that the archdiocesan laity would eventually
become reconciled to reality and accept that fact that massive legal payouts
were part of the "price to be paid" for the advantage of being served by a
fully renewed clergy. "You can't keep the kids away from the candy," he said,
"and candy costs plenty in the courts. Figure a million three for every Father
Hollywood on the job. All I'm trying to do is ensure that there'll be a Father
Hollywood in your future."
Mention of the aesthetic value of European Catholic churches is something of
a sore spot with Bradelstad, goading him to exasperation:
"Everybody comes whining to me: Look at Chartres Cathedral! Look at Chartres
Cathedral! It's so beautiful, so prayerful, so lovely, blah, blah, blah. Well
let me tell you I've BEEN to Chartres Cathedral. There isn't even a place to

Immigration and Terrorism

The Center for Immigration Studies has some bad news about the sorry state of homeland security and our control of illegal immigration. They show that the 911 hijackers had multiple visa violations which were overlooked to our great sorrow.

Read and judge for yourself:

Immigration and National Security
Two New Reports Highlight Connection

WASHINGTON (August 30, 2005) -- Two new reports released today by the Center for Immigration Studies examine the role of immigration control in our efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks on American soil. Both point to the profound security challenges posed by a federal government policy of mass immigration and lax enforcement of the law.

The first paper, ''Immigration and Terrorism: Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff Report on Terrorist Travel,'' illustrates how 94 Islamist terrorists used the immigration system to infiltrate and embed in the United States. The author is Janice L. Kephart, counsel for the 9/11 Commission and an author of the Commission staff’s report on terrorist travel. The report is on line here.

Other than the 9/11 hijackers included in the study, almost all of the terrorists examined have been indicted or convicted for their crimes. The report builds on prior work done by 9/11 Commission and the Center for Immigration Studies, providing more information than has been previously been made public.

The report highlights the danger of our lax immigration system, not just in terms of who is allowed in, but also how terrorists, once in the country, used weaknesses in the system to remain here. It makes clear that strict enforcement of immigration law -- at American consulates overseas, at ports of entry, and within the United States -- must be an integral part of our efforts to prevent future attacks on U.S. soil.

Among the findings:

* Of the 94 foreign-born terrorists who operated in the United States, the study found that about two-thirds (59) committed immigration fraud prior to or in conjunction with taking part in terrorist activity.

* Of the 59 terrorists who violated the law, many committed multiple immigration violations -- 79 instances in all.

* Temporary visas were a common means of entering; 18 terrorists had student visas and another four had applications approved to study in the United States. At least 17 terrorists used a visitor visa -- either tourist (B2) or business (B1).

* There were 11 instances of passport fraud and 10 instances of visa fraud; in total 34 individuals were charged with making false statements to an immigration official.

* In at least 13 instances, terrorists overstayed their temporary visas.

* In 17 instances, terrorists claimed to lack proper travel documents and applied for asylum, often at a port of entry.

* Fraud was used not only to gain entry into the United States, but also to remain, or ''embed,'' in the country.

* Seven terrorists were indicted for acquiring or using various forms of fake identification, including driver's licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, and immigration arrival records.

* Once in the United States, 23 terrorists became legal permanent residents, often by marrying an American. There were at least nine sham marriages.

* In total, 21 foreign terrorists became naturalized U.S. citizens.

The second paper is ''Keeping Extremists Out: The History of Ideological Exclusion, and the Need for Its Revival,'' by James R. Edwards, Jr., an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Principal at Olive, Edwards, & Brinkmann, L.L.C. It is on line here.

This paper describes the contribution immigration law has made and can make again in barring and removing ideological enemies from our shores. America has often faced the threat of foreigners promoting radical ideologies, including Jacobinism, anarchism, communism, fascism, and now Islamism. It is an unavoidable consequence of mass immigration; the higher the level of immigration, the more likely it is that individuals espousing hatred and violence toward America will gain entry.

But whatever the level of immigration, excluding or removing noncitizens from the United States based on their promotion of radical beliefs (''ideological exclusion'') can help to protect the country. Historically such efforts have played this role, especially during the 20th century. With the end of the Cold War, Congress effectively repealed ideological exclusion, meaning that only active terrorists on watch lists could be barred, while those promoting the ideologies of such terrorists would have to be admitted.

To end this vulnerability, Dr. Edwards argues that ideological exclusion should be restored, allowing aliens to be excluded or deported not only for overt acts but also for radical affiliations or advocacy. Such grounds for exclusion and removal should be based on characteristics common to the many varieties of extremism, rather than target a specific ideology.

# # #

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute
which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

Darwin in Both Worlds

In the interest of milking as much as I can from my Darwin article, I present to you a post by Gary over at Both Worlds from August 12 in which he debates Darwinists over evolution and ID. Anyone interested in the subject should check this out; Gary shows the world how to deal with this!

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