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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Friday, March 04, 2005

Running Up the Score

By John Tabin

Let's once again check the score:

The development of the Afghan state is going surprisingly well (S. Fredrick Starr details the correction of problems that he and other experts once warned of in the current issue of the National Interest), and now some other spots in that neighborhood bear watching. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan each held parliamentary elections on February 27, both fraught with irregularities favoring the leadership -- including the muzzling of the press.

While the Tajik opposition is for now too fractured and weak to seriously challenge strongman Imomali Rakhmanov's dominance, in Kyrgyzstan, where run-off elections for many parliamentary seats will come on March 13, democracy activists talk of a Kyrgysz "Lemon Revolution," modeled on last year's successful Orange Revolution in Ukraine (which was itself inspired in part by the Rose Revolution in Georgia). There have been large protests, but so far they seem mostly limited to the southern part of the country -- but if there is no Lemon Revolution this month, it may still come with the presidential election in October.

In Lebanon, too, the Orange Revolution has had its influence, as protesters have borrowed Ukrainian techniques for their effort to push the Syrians out; they've already succeeded in forcing a pro-Syrian government to resign. Iraq's successful election was another important catalyst: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," Druze Muslim leader Walid Jumblatt told David Ignatius of the Washington Post last week. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Read it all.


Syria to Announce Partial Lebanon Pullout

Syrian president set to speak, may address Lebanon troops

Thursday, March 03, 2005

God's Not Dead

God not so dead: Atheism in decline worldwide
By Uwe Siemon-Netto
Gurat, France – There seems to be a growing consensus around the globe that godlessness is in trouble.

"Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide," Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg told United Press International Tuesday.

His Oxford colleague Alister McGrath agrees. Atheism's "future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its habitat," he wrote in the U.S. magazine, Christianity Today.

Two developments are plaguing atheism these days. One is that it appears to be losing its scientific underpinnings. The other is the historical experience of hundreds of millions of people worldwide that atheists are in no position to claim the moral high ground.

Writes Turkish philosopher Harun Yahya, "Atheism, which people have tried to for hundreds of years as 'the ways of reason and science,' is proving to be mere irrationality and ignorance."

Read more.

The Coming Crackdown on Blogging

Here's another example of free speech being curtailed. The McCain-Feingold law on campaign finance limitations, which has turned out to be a disaster, and was criticized at the onset by many as an infringement on free speech, is rearing its ugly head into the blogosphere.

By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

Read more.

Constitution Killers

By George Neumayr
Author Bio.

The Supreme Court's judicial activists are cutting off the branch on which they sit. By rejecting the law and putting their personal opinions in its place, the justices invite the people to imitate them and disregard their decrees with the same willfulness they disregard the Constitution. If Anthony Kennedy isn't bound by the framers' words, why are the people bound by his?

The authority of Supreme Court justices derives from the authority of the Constitution: once they deny its authority, they deny their own. The Roper v. Simmons decision is a stunningly stark illustration of this despotism that masquerades as jurisprudence. Despotism is not an overwrought description here: we are dealing with a lawless court, judges who obey no law save their own will. Yes, they invoke a living Constitution, but that just means the real Constitution lies dead at their feet, having been trampled beneath a juggernaut of false progress.

The Supreme Court has been holding a de facto constitutional convention for decades, ripping up the old one and writing a new one without the consent of the people. A fitting punishment for this act of hubris will come when the chaos that their own example of lawlessness has set in motion consumes them in impeachment trials or worse.

The justices conceal their despotism in rhetoric and flat-out lying. As Antonin Scalia demonstrated in his dissenting opinion, the "national consensus" that the justices cite to justify the decision doesn't exist. Kennedy and company did a shoddy job of lining up this lie, first inventing a national consensus against executing 17-year olds, then conceding that it doesn't exist by whining about America's refusal to ratify international treaties that forbid the practice.

As the Supreme Court writes a new constitution, the justices are using as their co-authors foreigners not Americans. This now routine reliance on foreign fashions illustrates their alienation from and distrust of the American people. In citing the "overwhelming weight of international opinion" in the Roper decision, the justices are in effect saying to the American people: we are right, you are wrong; since you won't support our boutique views, we will look abroad for support.

Read more here.

'Haavad' University

Harvard University is back in the news. I blogged about this over-priced wretched university and the Larry Summers fiasco here, here, and here. Now this execrable institution of higher learning is back in the news.

We are quickly losing our right to free speech and even our right of free thought; well at least if you are right -of- center. But then again, it's happening to some that are left-of-center also, as in the case of Larry Summers and now this example.

Why is it that only the conservatives (mainly GOP) are criticizing these frightening attacks on free speech rights and not the Democrats? Is it wrong to criticize "our own"? Is that the logic that's behind this refusal to do so?

Mexico Warns U.S. Citizens

"Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said Monday that the Mexican government will take legal action against any vigilante militia groups at the U.S.-Mexico border who harm or violate the rights of undocumented migrants crossing into the United States."

Emphasis mine - HH

Read more.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Fly Away, Fly Away...........................Please?

Blogging may be light for awhile as I have a lot on my platter. I must comment on Senator Byrd, however. I think the Byrd has flown and flew one too many times over the "Cuckoos Nest".

This "egalitarian/elitist windbag orator" is a walking paradox that continues too amaze and really has taken to a mad flight this time, when he maniacally compared the GOP senators to Hitler.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman responded:

"Senator Byrd's invocation of Hitler's Germany in discussing the duty of U.S. Senators to advise and provide consent on judicial nominees is reprehensible and beyond the pale. While members of the Senate are free to agree and disagree on the issues, this poisonous rhetoric only serves to illustrate the desperation and weakness of Senator Byrd's position."

Captain's Quarters weighs in here, and Radioblogger here.

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Making of a 9/11 Republican

From SFGate.com
Cinnamon Stillwell

Hat tip to LGF

As one of a handful of Bay Area conservative columnists, I'm no stranger to pushing buttons. Indeed, I welcome feedback from readers, whether positive or negative. I find the interplay stimulating, but I am often bemused by the stereotypical assumptions made by my critics on the left. It's not enough to simply disagree with my views; I have to be twisted into a conservative caricature that apparently makes opponents feel superior. They seem not to have considered that it's possible to put forward different approaches to various societal problems and not be the devil incarnate.

But in some ways I understand where this perspective comes from, because I once shared it. I was raised in liberal Marin County, and my first name (which garners more comments than anything else) is a direct product of the hippie generation. Growing up, I bought into the prevailing liberal wisdom of my surroundings because I didn't know anything else. I wrote off all Republicans as ignorant, intolerant yahoos. It didn't matter that I knew none personally; it was simply de rigueur to look down on such people. The fact that I was being a bigot never occurred to me, because I was certain that I inhabited the moral high ground.

Having been indoctrinated in the postcolonialist, self-loathing school of multiculturalism, I thought America was the root of all evil in the world. Its democratic form of government and capitalist economic system was nothing more than a machine in which citizens were forced to be cogs. I put aside the nagging question of why so many people all over the world risk their lives to come to the United States. Freedom of speech, religious freedom, women's rights, gay rights (yes, even without same-sex marriage), social and economic mobility, relative racial harmony and democracy itself were all taken for granted in my narrow, insulated world view.

So, what happened to change all that? In a nutshell, 9/11. The terrorist attacks on this country were not only an act of war but also a crime against humanity. It seemed glaringly obvious to me at the time, and it still does today. But the reaction of my former comrades on the left bespoke a different perspective. The day after the attacks, I dragged myself into work, still in a state of shock, and the first thing I heard was one of my co-workers bellowing triumphantly, "Bush got his war!" There was little sympathy for the victims of this horrific attack, only an irrational hatred for their own country.

As I spent months grieving the losses, others around me wrapped themselves in the comfortable shell of cynicism and acted as if nothing had changed. I soon began to recognize in them an inability to view America or its people as victims, born of years of indoctrination in which we were always presented as the bad guys.

Never mind that every country in the world acts in its own self-interest, forms alliances with unsavory countries -- some of which change later -- and are forced to act militarily at times. America was singled out as the sole guilty party on the globe. I, on the other hand, for the first time in my life, had come to truly appreciate my country and all that it encompassed, as well as the bravery and sacrifices of those who fight to protect it.

Thoroughly disgusted by the behavior of those on the left, I began to look elsewhere for support. To my astonishment, I found that the only voices that seemed to me to be intellectually and morally honest were on the right. Suddenly, I was listening to conservative talk-show hosts on the radio and reading conservative columnists, and they were making sense. When I actually met conservatives, I discovered that they did not at all embody the stereotypes with which I'd been inculcated as a liberal.

Read all of it here.

The Domino Effect

Today when I heard the news that the Syrian backed puppet government in Lebanon resigned en masse, I started to think of all the changes in the Middle East, starting with Libya and its about face after Iraq was routed.

Now todays' development, and the pressure Syria is facing, and the pressure the mullahs in Iran are facing from their own people, and the changes in Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and for the moment anyway, the positive developments of cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians: and found myself wistfully thinking that maybe this was the beginnings of the domino effect -- the fall of tyrants and theocrats.

It made me wonder if there would have been a similar effect had we stopped at Afghanistan, and not gone into Iraq; or had we chosen to take on Iran, or Syria instead of Iraq, would be still getting these same results.

My first inclination was to answer, no. Iraq (Saddam) was seen as the bully, the power player of the Middle East. Taking him down sent a bigger, more powerful message than had, say Syria.

Captain Ed has similar thoughts and does a good analysis, check it out.

Border control

From The Washington Times Commentary section
Border control

"The Bush administration would have us believe most illegal immigrants (or 'undocumented workers' in the political correctness lingo) are merely looking for a better life and taking only jobs Americans do not want.

Kerry Morales doesn't buy it. 'Maybe 20 years ago the illegals were innocent, hard-working people,' she tells the San Antonio Express-News. 'Not any more. Now they're extremely dangerous. They mean violence.'

A South Texas rancher, she says illegal immigrants have cut down her fences, stolen her pickup truck and broken into her home, once invading her bedroom and nearly strangling her. She says they fled after she reached for her gun." Full article.