ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wow.. what idiocy

This post by Zonkette on whether Harvard's president Lawrence Summers should resign is idiotic... and from a Harvard fellow.

Read the whole article and pass it on. Its good.

Meanwhile, I'd like to hear people's personal stories about women in technology and politics -- in the past two years I've overheard casual acceptance of bias ("s/he may not be respectful towards female colleagues/subordinates but s/he's so politically smart..."), and heard talented women technologists and organizers wonder if they are treated as "implementers" instead of designers and strategists because of their gender. I've also seen what happens when an employer takes great pains to avoid hidden barriers for women, and how it affects the entire workplace positively (and leads to many more women in charge of technology projects).

I am trying to think about how we can seize the disruptive moment and try to take advantage of it to make sure bias doesn't corrupt the new field growing in the intersection of technology and political work (two fields not renowned for a great lack of bias).
seriously... if the situation at Harvard is what passes for great intellectual resevoir for our country, we're in serious trouble. I'll just put my head in the sand and tell myself that the business school doesn't contain this pervasive stupidity.

Oh... and just to prove my point, this guy worked on the Dean campaign.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Rude Pundit Liar

The Rude Pundit's idiotic post on the upcoming "Justice Sunday" hosted by the Family Research Council and focusing on the inability of people of faith to serve in the highest appointments of the judiciary because of their faith misses the mark... Beware, the Rude Pundit is, well... rude and uses language appropriate with his blog title.

In his diatribe, Rudy fails to mention the name Bill Pryor or the fact that his being a Catholic was discussed as being a disqualifying factor by Chuckie Shumer himself. So, the Justice Sunday argument has some validity - judges are being disqualified from higher positions because of their faith.

Now frankly, in an ideal world, issues related to faith (ie when does life begin) wouldn't even be matters for courts to decide, but thanks to judicial activism and the "right to privacy" which I can't find anywhere in the friggin' Constitution, these matters are all jurisdiction of the highest court in the land.

Christ Weary About Filibusters:
Seriously, and, c'mon, is Jesus really this bored? Is he sittin' there at the right hand of God, pickin' at those hand scabs that never seem to go away, swattin' away the Holy Ghost every time that f**kin' dove tries to peck lice angels out of his beard, thinkin', "F**k tsunamis, earthquakes, war, horrific poverty, and Britney's pregnancy. What I needs is some motherf**kin' judges approved by the United States Senate."

'Cause that's what the Family Research Council, led by raving lunatic and repressed homosexual James Dobson, would like us to believe. See, they're hosting Justice Sunday on April 24, with featured speakers Senate Majority Leader Bill "the Cat Butcher" Frist, James "The Aforementioned Repressed Homosexual" Dobson, Chuck "I Was Sodomized In Prison For the Crimes of Richard Nixon and I Found Jesus" Colson, and others. The conference/forum/sh!*bagfest will be about ending the Democratic filibuster on judges, the so-called "nucular option" (because, you know, if George Bush wants us to pronounce the f**kin' word wrong, we should abide, we should abide). Check out the creepy pod-boy on the poster for the event, clutching a Bible and a gavel, with the completely anti-American headline, "He should not have to choose."

Jesus or the gavel, man, Jesus or the gavel. Of course, it'd help if the Family Research Council didn't, as it always does, blatantly lie about the reasons behind the filibusters against the incompetent, radically-conservative apemen and women Bush nominated to the federal bench. Says the FRC's frighteningly named Tony "No, Not That Psycho Guy" Perkins, "They are being blocked because they are people of faith and moral conviction. These are people whose only offense is to say that abortion is wrong or that marriage should be between one man and one woman." Well, no, not really. Without getting into the entire list, let's say quickly: Miguel Estrada? Refused to answer questions or provide documents that might offer some light on what he, say, believes about, well, sh**, anything. Priscilla Owen? Endless decisions in favor of corporations over people, and, yes, a radically right-wing agenda on abortion (that caused her to call Alberto Gonzales a "judicial activist" for not being as nuts as she was). And on and on.
Now, he doesn't mention Pryor, as discussed above. But in the case of Owens, he doesn't even know the basics of the case in question, other than what the People for the American Way tell him. I watched Priscilla's testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and she was examined in depth on this matter... She handled the issue well and explained that she merely was upholding the law which required parental notification unless in the case of incest - which the particular case did not include. Yes, to Rudy... parental notification is considered a radical position on abortion. Here's a good description of her specific situation, from Practical Politics (found via Google so no assertion as to the quality of this entire post or the rest of the site - however, this assessment is dead on):
Last week’s vote on Justice Priscilla Owens was a classic 10-9 partisan party line vote.

Justice Priscilla Owens sits on the Texas Supreme Court. She won reelection with 84% of the vote. President Bush nominated her to the 5th Circuit Court in May of 2001, sixteen months ago. She was endorsed by the thirteen previous Texas State Bar Presidents. The American Bar Association gave her their unanimous endorsement with their highest rating of “well qualified.”

The Democrat controlled Judiciary Committee and even Democrat Senator Joseph Biden—a former Judiciary Committee chairman—has called for all nominees to get a floor vote, saying that everyone nominated is entitled “to have a hearing and to have a shot to be heard on the floor and have a vote on the floor.” By continuing their campaign of obstructing the confirmation of qualified judges, Democrats have perpetuated the judicial crisis that is threatening the administration of justice.

Georgia Democratic U.S. Senator Zell Miller had said that he would break the 50/50 tie and vote for Justice Owen’s confirmation if her nomination made it to the floor. Typically, if a nominee is going to be confirmed, other Democrats would follow and she would probably have received a wider margin of support. The 10 Democrats on the Judiciary committee voted against letting her nomination go to the Senate floor.

The code words of judicial temperament, qualifications, etc., are just window dressing.

The real reason Justice Owens was rejected was not because she is not qualified. She is the first and only Judicial nominee to have a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association and be rejected.

Justice Owens was rejected because she decided an earlier case that said that teen age girls ought to notify their parents before they have an abortion. Texas law states that any surgery, even an ear piercing must have parental consent. Only abortions are reduced to notification. A parent in Texas can be notified that their daughter is going to have an abortion and they cannot prevent it. They are only given notice. They have no legal right to intervene.

Justice Owens was deemed to be “pro-life” and therefore, unqualified to sit on the Federal bench. U.S. Senate members want to assure that there is no “litmus test for judges” but by their own words and actions they are saying that if you are “conservative” i.e. pro-life, you will not be allowed to sit on the Federal bench.
Rudy never mentions the American Bar Association considering all of these judges to be "well qualified" or even the bipartisan support they would receive if a vote was allowed to occur.

But hey, you can't expect much from Rudy and his side these days. They wonder why they don't win at the ballot box - it's because they're the ones that are extreme. They resort to defamatory language, illogical arguments, and hyperbolic rhetoric.

By the way, the Twinkie-meister weighs in as well. Although, in usual fashion, he adds nothing to the conversation. I can't believe this guy gets paid. What a hack...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Battle for America

H/T to the often unemployed nutjob Eric Blumrich.

The Battle for America has begun

From the looks of this video... it seems like the "Battle for America" is going to be waged in New York City. I don't think Alrick ever thought about venturing out of his liberal bubble.

Frankly, I really think they should've realized that elections are the time to make your case and persuade your citizens... although, I have a feeling that Eric & Co are thinking about more than just persuading us... good thing they believe in gun control.

Also, isn't it amazing how negative these folks are? I mean, from the script they're rattling off, you'd think we live in some authoritarian regime comparable to North Korea. Of course, most of these folks would see NK as a true people's republic, I'm sure... I mean, it's got "People's Republic" in the name of the country, right? Maybe it's the fact that they all live in New York... I don't know. What IS their problem, anyway? Why the visions of dark clouds covering this country?

And do these platitudes really energize people? There's no "there" there... What exactly do you want to change, Alrick & Co? This is just broad strokes without any focus. Come on... out with it, people!! Someone in your video should just out and out say "It's time to redistribute the wealth and give economic freedom to all - just like Stalin did."

wusses... Can't even tell us what you want to revolt over or what you actually want to do. (And this guy gets highlighted on IFC??? Come ON!!! )

This video was created by Alrick A. Brown (filmmaker). You may remember his previous work, SuperN*****

***UPDATE***
Evan Coyne Maloney of Brain Terminal may offer insight into what these folks have in mind when they talk about a "Battle for America."

Brian Adds: Ok, I watched it. And I have to say I don't get it. As the St. illustrates above, it's all just images and sounds and words but it signifies nothing. The Battle has begun? How? What are you going to do? What are your ideas? You don't have any, other than to proclaim Republican's as fatcats, and nazi's and tell us how morally superior you feel.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Murdoch gets it.....sort of....

H/T Drudge

Murdoch chastises the paper-based media and alerts them to the impending doom that is coming their way. Relevant part:

Murdoch said newspapers must overhaul how they gather and deliver news to collect the readers and advertising revenue shifting to the Web.


"The trends are against us. Unless we awaken to these changes which are quite different than those five or six years ago, we will, as an industry, be relegated to the status of also-rans," Murdoch told the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.


"We've been slow to react. We've sat by and watched," he said.

He does seem off the mark when he talks about making it people's home page. Thats so 1998.

"The challenge for each of us in this room is to create an Internet presence that is compelling enough that users make it their home page. Just as people traditionally started their day with coffee and a newspaper, in the future I hope that the way they start their day online will be with coffee and our Web site."

Its not the homepage you have to worry about. Instapundit draws millions, but I doubt anybody has it as their home page. Its things like not having to log into the damn web site every single time I want to read an article your paper puts out. Still he's not saying bury your head in the sand the problem will go away, so he gets marks for that

Additional insight into opening business in communist closed societies, versus growing democracies.

In recent years, Murdoch has sought to expand a satellite business in China, but he voiced doubts Wednesday when asked about the business climate there.


"There are indications that it's closing up more than opening up," he said, calling the enterprise "very hard work."

Similar efforts in India have gone much better, he said, even though the potential market is significantly smaller.

Ah the ol' Commie Tax. It may be a huge market, but if it's a closed commie society it may be too expensive to develop the market. Better to pick other fruit.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Supreme Ignorance

Seven at Three Bad Fingers comments on this National Review Online piece regarding a NYTimes article ("Supreme Confidence" by Margaret Talbot) on Scalia. Here's the relevant passage from NRO:

Yet Talbot's account has a deep and pervasive flaw — a flaw that reflects an elementary but surprisingly widespread confusion among critics of originalism. Specifically, Talbot repeatedly conflates Justice Scalia's determination that the Constitution leaves specific matters to be decided through the people's elected representatives with the mistaken assessment that he thereby would somehow be imposing his own substantively conservative results on these matters. Consider, for example, the following passage:
Although proponents of originalism claim that it is a politically neutral method, in Scalia's hands it usually leads to conservative results — at least on social issues like abortion, capital punishment, and gay rights.
What Talbot evidently does not comprehend is that on each of these "social issues" Justice Scalia's understanding of the Constitution binds him as a jurist to defer to whatever laws the people might adopt — including, for example, fully funded abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, the abolition of capital punishment, and the redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex couples.

Stated somewhat differently, if Justice Scalia were in fact to read into the Constitution his own (presumed) substantive views on abortion, he would conclude that permissive abortion laws were themselves unconstitutional. Likewise, he would conclude that legislators could not abolish capital punishment and could not create same-sex marriage. His clear rejection of these positions demonstrates that on these issues Justice Scalia's originalism is in fact politically neutral. In other words, originalism will lead to "conservative results" on these issues only if, and to the extent that, elected legislators enact conservative positions into law. Conversely, originalism will lead to liberal results when elected legislators enact liberal laws. And, of course, the free play that originalism gives to the political process on these issues will allow the electorate the flexibility to change its collective position over time
Now, despite Scalia saying publicly that originalism binds him to the original meaning of the Constitution, regardless of his personal opinions (and his argument that the Living Constitution is truly a non-democratic form of government), the media continues to either not hear him or not believe. I have a feeling it is the former...

Scalia's example in the CSPAN conference was that he's a law & order guy, but because of Constitutional texts, he had to strike down a statute that allowed a judge to increase the penalty for a crime if the judge found that the crime had been committed with a gun.

This goes to the matter of abortion... one can be both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life and at the same time be against the Roe vs Wade ruling. Not against the result of the ruling, but from the very fact that the ruling created the right to abortion based on a right to privacy which can only be found in the penumbra of the Constitution. This is creating whole rights and statutes out of thin air by the Courts, an unelected body and this is the turning point at which the political discourse in our country soured to the level it has reached today. In Scalia's world, Roe v. Wade would never have been heard by the court and Scalia's message would have been: If you want the ability to abort a fetus up to and including the 9th month, fine... persuade your fellow citizens and pass a law. The elimination Roe vs. Wade doesn't impose an immediate elmination of access to abortions. Quite the contrary... I would assume that state governments (ie elected representatives) would have to pass laws restricting the existing practice (or remove public funding or impose restrictions - whatever that state chooses to do). This is called the democratic process and its result is much easier to accept than a ruling by 5 robed justices that is lacking in terms of rational justification. Now, one of the main reasons that the Left so fears this possibility of a democratic process may be that they lack the confidence in their positions - they realize that many issues would not go their way if left up to the people at the local, state, or even federal level. Thus, they must resort to the courts to impose their will on us...

Unfortunately, the Court could not resist ruling on the matter and people no longer need to persuade their fellow citizens... instead, they scream and yell and coarsen the debate. When the US Supreme Court ruled on abortion, they removed the matter from public debate.

And, as Scalia points out, be careful what you wish for... When judges are no longer bound by the text of the Constitution and are allowed to rule according to "evolving standards of decency," there is no guarantee that those rulings will protect our freedoms or be according to liberal wishes. If liberals would understand that Scalia really isn't talking about imposing his conservative thoughts on them, but rather encouraging them to persuade & convince their fellow citizens through the democratic process, I would hope that they would recognize the wisdom of this approach.

But, with the Kossacks, the Ollies, and the MoveOn-ers driving the discussion, I won't hold my breath. Heck, Chuckie Shumer certainly doesn't get it, so I guess I shouldn't expect much.

***UPDATE - 11.50 AM***
And I SWEAR that I didn't read this Jonah Goldberg piece on this subject until after I made this post (and this one). I just read his article... Now, how do I go about getting paid like he does. ;-)

***UPDATE 2 - 4/14 1pm CDT***
A case in point regarding the coarsening of the public debate. To answer the first question posed to Scalia, I would say, "Yes... the government has no role in creating a Constitutional right for a sexual act."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Nuke It

H/T Ace of Spades

NRO's Ramesh Ponnuru has info that the GOP has the 50 votes required to change the rules re fillibuster for judicial nominees, with Dick Cheney casting the winning vote.

FILIBUSTER UPDATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]

I'm hearing that Republicans now have at least 50 votes to change the rules--which means at least 51 if you add Cheney. Senator Byrd's hysteria helped pad the total.

And if Michael Crowley's reporting in the New Republic is correct--and I have no reason to think it isn't--the Democrats have no idea what to do about it. Senate Democrats have vowed to shut down the Senate if Republicans end judicial filibusters. But the Democrats don't want to be accused of shutting down the government or hindering national security, there aren't many Republican agenda items that they can block any more effectively than they already are blocking them, and Democrats want to get pork passed just as much as Republicans do. Crowley's conclusion: An "increasing number [of Democrats] are desperately hoping that Frist's bomb never detonates." So while the Republicans are almost guaranteed to get very bad press for ending the judicial filibuster, it's not clear whether they'll face serious retaliation from the Democrats.
Frankly, I think that the GOP will get creamed by the press, who won't have any qualms about their hypocrisy over the government shutdown under Newt and the de facto shutdown the Senate Dems will cause.

We're going to see numerous clips of Mr Smith Goes to Washington (showing the lone Senator fillibustering to keep a corrupt politician getting his way) and the media complaining about the GOP's elimination of this great tool for the minority. How stopping corruption through fillibuster is related to stopping a simple yes/no vote for judges, I don't know... but far be it for me to try and apply logic or standards to the MSM. (BTW, in Mr Smith Goes To Washington, no party affiliation is provided for any of the politicians, but in my opinion, the corrupt senior Senator doesn't have a R after his name.... Would be interested to know what others think about this...)

Personally, the way I'd like to see this issue get resolved is the way it was resolved in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Have an actual out and out fillibuster. The current "gentleman's fillibuster" is just stupid. And I'm not talking about a 24 hour fillibuster ala last November... No, I'm talking have the Dems prattle on until a vote is finally cast either way...

But, if that's not something our spineless Senators (except for the upstanding gentlemen from Missouri, of course) want to handle the situation, I say:

NUKE IT

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Certain Death averted!

I thought New Zealand were made of sterner stuff than this but I guess not.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has been left badly bruised after an
aircraft she was travelling in was forced to make an emergency landing.

Ok, interesting, let's keep reading.
The twin-engined Piper Aztec's door blew open when it hit turbulence at 8,000 feet (2,440m). Two policemen tried to hold the door as the plane dived then
landed at a nearby airstrip.

Um, unless it flew off the hinges its not going to "blow open". Wind blowing against the plane will cause the door to vascillate a few inches open. Once open you can't close it in the air. You'd have to land. Why two policeman tried to hold it is beyond me. It wasn't going anywhere. Why it had to DIVE is beyond me as well. My guess is that while trying to hold it one of the policeman pushed against the yokes, causing the plane to dive.

Ms Clark, who was wearing a seat belt, was jolted when the six-seater plane
dived.

"When the plane plunges like that, obviously it is quite shocking. And then when you see the door can't close, you know that it is a serious incident," she said.


So the dive caused the injury, not the door opening. It wasn't a serious incident until the plane dived. That can be a serious incident, since the plane could exceed its "never exceed" speed potentially causing structural damage.
Air safety officials are to investigate what caused the plane's door to open.

Um. Turbulence? An inadequatly latched door?

True story time. As some of you may know I'm a certificated private pilot (we aren't "licensed", we're certificated). One of the requirements for your certificate is a solo cross-country trip of at least 50nm. Your trip has to be endorsed by your instructor who reviews your trip planning, fuel requirements, runway lengths, etc. and specially signs off on the given trip. I.e. if your planning on flying to Jefferson City, MO, and thats what your instructor signs you off on, thats all your legally allowed to fly to, since your in effect flying on your instructors certificate (your not a pilot yet).

So my cross country was planned from a small airport to Jefferson City, signed off as such, and away I launched on a beautiful day. About halfway as I was overhead beautiful Herman, MO I looked over to notice the passenger side door on my Cessna 172 was open. It was gently flapping in the breeze.. Never closing, but never opening more than an inch either. How long had it been open? Not long I would think, but it could have opened on takeoff. I hadn't noticed.

Was this an emergency? Did I dive for a small strip that happened to be below me? Of course not. I flew the plane. Did I try to close the door? I could have I suppose, but since the door was on the passenger side, I'd have had to lean over, and then I wouldn't have been flying the plane. I considered landing in Herman, but wasn't sure if I was legal to do so (turns out I probably would have been). Besides, KJEF was only about 15 minutes further and the plane was flying fine, etc.

I landed uneventfully at JEF and taxied off the runway and closed the door.

Lesson? Don't panic. Don't let your passengers panic. Fly the plane. Land as appropriate. And make doubly sure the door is latched before you takeoff.....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Information On Dead Tree

Tip O' the Hat to WizBang

This story by Howie Kurtz in the WaPo is extremely interesting. I think this is going to be a shockwave to all of those in print journalism, even though it's been discussed and covered a million different times.

"The percentage of people in their 30s who read a paper every day was 73 percent in 1972, and it's 30 percent today. The average newspaper reader is 53. More and more people, trained by the Internet, believe that information should be free, and so give-away daily tabloids are springing up in big cities all over. I realize that media professionals are studying this problem full time, but what does your gut tell you newspapers should do to remain vital and profitable in the digital age?

"My ideas are: Seven-day a week advice columns about personal technology; vastly increased coverage and criticism of other media, particularly entertainment television; a return of the old action columns in which we mediate disputes and avenge bitter consumers; more gossip and, of course, blogs, blogs, blogs."

American Journalism Review takes a look at The Post's circulation drop:

"Eight or nine Washington, D.C.-area lawyers, government workers and other residents sat around a conference table in an office building. They were strangers, all younger than 45, all had moved to the region within the last five years. None subscribed to the Washington Post.

"An affable session leader from Boston began by asking about their daily routines and news habits. About an hour and 15 minutes later, he opened a cabinet, removed a stack of Posts and dropped them on a conference table. 'What if I told you that you could have a six-month subscription free?' he asked them.

"'In one session after another, I don't think I saw one person who would take it,' says a Post staffer who watched the focus groups with colleagues from behind a one-way glass.
The participants picked up various sections--Style, Metro--and stared at them like they were 'Egyptian hieroglyphics.'

"They knew about the Post, of course. How could they not? It's the region's dominant daily and one of the nation's best. They even liked the Post. But they read it online at work. Former subscribers complained unread papers piled up at their homes, making them feel guilty because they hadn't read them."
Now, I have the same habit. I used to subscribe to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, but gave that up for two reasons:
  1. They started posting their stories on the internet
  2. it's the most liberal newspaper in the country and I can't trust much of what I read in it
In addition to those two reasons, I often just didn't have the time to flip through the pages to get to the information I was interested in and the paper would stay in its plastic sheath until I threw it in the recycling...

Recently, I got a subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Now this certainly removed item #2 from my resistance to reading "information on a dead tree." However, the daily arrival of the Journal just became an opportunity for me to practice some "fetch the newspaper" tricks with my dog. Invariably, if I started to read the paper, it would be sometime in the afternoon (just after lunchtime), if I ever got around to reading it at all. And, by that time, I had already gotten the news of the day from online sources, including the WSJ's content (which is part of my subscription).

I ended up cancelling my delivery of the paper, but still go to the WSJ website to get the information. For the WSJ, they fortunately have content which isn't provided elsewhere. For papers such as WaPo, St Louis P-D, etc who rely so heavily on the wire services for their news, what original content do they offer that can retain those eyeballs? Would I accept a year subscription to the St Louis P-D, delivered to my front door, for free? Not likely... Perhaps for the comics. ;-)

And I don't think that those in the print media world understand how to fix this... At least, not from the suggestions above... As access to the internet becomes more and more pervasive, and wearable computers with displays projected a few inches in front of your eye, will people still power off and pick up the dead-tree version of the same content? And lose the richness of the interconnected interweb?

Kurtz complains that gratis content online should continue, but that if people don't pay for the print edition, the entire print media infrastructure will collapse. (I'm not sure that this is correct, or that even if it did happen that there wouldn't be some other "infrastructure" that would take its place and be even more reliable, but only time will tell.)

I know that Brian/Penelope probably disagree with me, as they probably like to grab the paper and drag it with them to work... but I just don't "get" the newspaper as a future medium for information.

Recently, on a Charlie Rose panel about bloggers, Andrew Sullivan asserted that he thought Blogs would result in a decline of weekly/monthly magazines, such as The New Republic, National Review, etc. I have to say that I disagree. With the instantaneous, byte-sized (sorry) commentary that is offered by the blogs, I appreciate the perspective that a weekly or monthly publication can provide. Certainly, they must stay on top of events, but I think that Andrew's opinion (which is probably consistent with conventional wisdom) is probably incorrect.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Rall

I'm assuming that this gem from Ted Rall is about the Canadian Adscam scandal:



For some reason, I think he's talking about something else. Like I've said here and here, Ted really shouldn't be as prominent as he is. For true talent, see Cox & Forkum, whose only goal is to point out absurdity regardless of Left or Right (although the Left has been such an easy target of late). Here's their description of their political views:

ON POLITICS
Because an editorial cartoon usually offers only a narrow slice of a cartoonist's political views, some readers naturally make assumptions about our politics, such as that we're conservatives or libertarians, particularly because we often criticize leftists. However, we are neither of those.

Most of the cartoons come from my perspective as an Objectivist, which is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. In the introduction to our first book, Robert W. Tracinski described the political perspective of his magazine, The Intellectual Activist, and in doing so summed up our perspective as well:
"TIA's outlook is not 'conservative'; we do not look backward and attempt to preserve traditional values for their own sake. TIA advocates basic principles -- reason, individualism, secularism, individual rights and capitalism -- that are still radical, unorthodox and 'politically incorrect' today. Those principles obviously put us at odds with the subjectivism and socialism of the left; but they also put us at odds with the religious and pragmatist tendencies of the right."


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bolton by the Beeb

H/T Protein Wisdom

The BBC has this to say about John Bolton's confirmation hearings:


Bush UN choice grilled by Senate
John Bolton appearing before the Senate confirmation hearing 11/04/05
"An effective UN needs US leadership": John Bolton
President George W Bush's controversial candidate for the post of US ambassador to the UN has pledged to "work with all" if his candidacy is accepted.

John Bolton told a Senate confirmation hearing that he wanted to help build a stronger and more effective UN.
[...]
Claims

Mr Bolton told his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Bush administration "views the UN as an important component in our diplomacy".

But he was adamant that "for the UN to be effective, it requires US leadership". He added: "I deeply believe that."

He said that at times the world body had "gone off track".

And he outlined four priorities:

* Strengthening UN institutions

* Stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

* Supporting the global war on terror

* Addressing humanitarian crises

[...]
Correspondents say Mr Bolton is one of the toughest campaigners in the Bush administration for a foreign policy based on US power and catering to narrowly defined US interests.

He is a staunch defender of the US military action in Iraq and as Washington's top arms control negotiator has taken a hard line over North Korea's nuclear programme.
Clearly, this is intended as a slam against Mr. Bolton by the Beeb... unfortunately for them, this just makes me support him more. It sounds to me like Mr. Bolton is a rational person.

I s'pose that the Chinese rep on the Security Council is "one of the [weakest] campaigners in the [Jintao] administration for a foreign policy based on [Chinese] power and catering to narrowly defined [Chinese] interests." The Beeb throws this into their "news" story as if that's the case... that all of the UN countries are acting not for their own "narrow self-interest," but for the whole of the world. Anyone who thinks that is foolish. Seriously... A county may take an action that may benefit the UN as a whole, but the motive for the action was self-interest and nothing more.

And taking a hard line against North Korea's nuclear ambitions.... HOW CONTROVERSIAL!!! WHAT A NUTJOB!!!

I love seeing the Dems wring their hands over Bolton and defend the UN as some sacred institution. Given their performance under Kofi, I'm not sure that "plays in Peoria."

***UPDATE***
Don't worry... the Beeb is a great judge of character

***UPDATE 2***
PowerLine has this photo of protesters at Bolton's hearing.

NO TO BOLTON!!!

YES TO UN OPPRESSION OF IRAQIS, SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN, PERPETUATING THE STATUS QUO OF DESPOTIC REGIMES!!!


Just when the Dems were starting to get their swagger back, CODE PINK reminds everyone of why we don't trust them with policy decisions...

heh

***UPDATE 3***
Rich Lowry echoes my sentiments and provides evidence of Bolton's multilateralism (for US interests):
The New York Times has led the way in caricaturing Bolton as someone who has disdain "for multilateralism and for consensus-seeking diplomacy." On the contrary, Bolton's career can be seen as one long catalog of robust multilateralism. As assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs in the administration of the first President Bush, he was the architect of the repeal of the Zionism-is-racism resolution, bolstering the U.N.'s credibility. He worked on passage of all the Gulf War-related U.N. resolutions, giving the U.N. a key role in the fight against Saddam Hussein.

In his current job as undersecretary of state for arms control, he worked on the Moscow Treaty, which codified steep reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. He was instrumental in the passage of U.N. Resolution 1540, urging countries to crack down on WMD proliferation. He was central in the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, a multilateral effort to block the transfer of WMDs. He was the lead U.S. negotiator in the creation of the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Proliferation of WMD, an attempt to secure Russian WMD materials. Just how multilateral can one guy get?

But there are two flaws in Bolton's approach for his critics. The first is that his multilateralism isn't indiscriminate. If an international agreement, like the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, is hopelessly outdated, he supports scrapping it. If a treaty — like the one creating the International Criminal Court, which would potentially expose U.S. troops to international prosecution — doesn't serve U.S. interests, he opposes it. It isn't enough to affix the words "multilateral" to any initiative for it to win Bolton's assent, whereas many Democrats are Pavlovian in their panting after anything that is a treaty, agreement, protocol or otherwise cooked up in the Hague or Geneva.

The second is that Bolton's multilateralism is always in the service of advancing Bush's foreign policy. Since Democrats oppose that foreign policy, they pretend Bolton rejects international cooperation altogether. His version of multilateralism vitiates what for many Democrats should be its chief purpose — frustrating Bush goals abroad. Alas, John Bolton is determined to be Bush's ambassador to the U.N., rather than the other way around, making him the kind of diplomat the Democrats just can't abide.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler