The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, April 30, 2005
EU in crisis mode
UPDATE: I thought the quote at the end of James Lewis' piece was so perfect for my own personal philosophy that I have adapted it now as my new masthead quote; I trust that Frederick Douglas would not have objected.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Washington Post: rapidly becoming a joke
What a national disgrace.
See ya Osama...
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Keeping track of the "Constitutional Option" and Senate Rules
Today the site has quite a good synopsis on the pros and cons of the GOP's compromise offer. Prediction: the Democrats won't take it. And not doing so will cost them dearly. Personally I think the offer is too generous, but on the other hand I think the Dems have spent so much capital in bluster and hyperbole that they cannot accept this offer and save face with their base. So look for this one to go all the way, and my guess is it will be the Owen nomination where the showdown occurs, because I see the Dems as not being principled enough to go to the mat opposing an African American conservative, even though the idea of another Clarence Thomas on the USSC down the road is their worst nightmare. I say they go after the "white chick". And Bush will go to the mat for her.
I've met and visited at length with Judge Owen (she's a friend of a friend...) at the 2001 Black Tie and Boots Inaugural festivies; she impressed me greatly as a poised, principled, classy lady. She's rated "highly qualified" by the liberal and heavily trial lawyer laden ABA, and there is no reason whatsoever to keep her off the Appeals court other than the fact that President Bush wants her on it. And, where the Constitution of the United States is concerned, that is not reason enough to deny her an up or down vote. I'm by no means a Washington insider, but my guess is that Priscilla is going to go down in history as being the judge in question when the Republicans finally had the guts to take back the United States of America from those who would have literally torn up our Constitution to smithereensby judicial fiat. And being the person who makes that happen is not a bad place to be at all. So call your Senator and tell them to not back down. There is too much at stake--possibly the whole ball of wax...
UPDATE: Larry Kudlow had a great take on the status of this debate today as well
Kweisi and Jesse: peas in a pod
Telling it like it is re: Bolton
The marathon confirmation hearings of John Bolton to be the American ambassador to the United Nations have become pathetic. Bolton is supposedly discourteous to subordinates. He was a hands-on-his-hips boss! Heaven forbid, he sometimes bellowed.
The "disclosure" of these supposedly hurtful flare-ups has little to do with Bolton's fitness to navigate in the United Nations, whose General Assembly includes miscreants from Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Otherwise, Bolton's occasional gruffness would be seen as a real asset in an international jungle where a murderous Syria sat on the Commission on Human Rights while member states perennially castigated democratic Israel as racist.
So the Bush administration wants to unleash a barking watchdog to patrol the United Nations, reeling from its multi-billion-dollar oil-for-food scandal, sexual misconduct among its operatives in Africa, and inaction as thousands perished in the Congo and Darfur. It tires of subsidizing an unaccountable organization that institutionalizes graft, excuses criminality and ignores genocide — but somehow regularly blames its chief democratic patron, the United States.
Bolton's critics apparently feel that such global organizations, for all their faults, nevertheless provide a useful brake on George Bush's exuberance abroad. And now they appear confident that their own barroom tactics will eventually wear down the patrician complacency of Bolton's strangely nonchalant supporters.
Those who roast Bolton prefer an ambassador who would not rock the boat of multilateralism, or, better yet, lack the zeal and skills even to try — and certainly would not employ Bolton's characterization of Kim Jong Il as a "tyrannical dictator." The last time we heard such provocative talk Ronald Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as an "evil empire" under the curious assumption that it was both evil and an empire.
Blocking the Bolton nomination would send a powerful message to a wounded president to scrap his policy of muscular idealism and instead return to the polite pre-9/11 past, when the status quo abroad went unquestioned.
Yet if partisanship now defines Bolton's confirmation, it should be a superfluous debate: The confident Republicans have majorities both on the Foreign Relations Committee and in the Senate at large. In response, the opposition's inquisition hopes to keep casting enough mud to make the otherwise squeaky clean Bolton too stained to win an assured majority vote, from senators who wish to seem, rather than to be, principled.
There are several contradictions inherent in this smearing. Bolton is a proven public servant and was previously confirmed for other government positions in two administrations.
Do we really wish to return to the baleful days of the ruination of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork? When there are not the votes to reject a candidate holding different political views, or no evidence that the nominee's qualifications are substandard, the slimy alternative is to embarrass his sponsors to the point of withdrawing their support. Opponents fish for a temper tantrum here or a testy outburst there — or as Sen. Joseph Biden better explained it, "extraneous things that may or may not have legs."
Then there is the unmentioned issue of hypocrisy of John Bolton's most vociferous inquisitors. Sen. Barbara Boxer slams the nominee in the manner she hammered Condoleezza Rice. Yet she paid her own son a six-figure fee out of her publicly-raised campaign funds. In another scandal, Boxer circumvented channels to ram through special favorable legislation for the Miwok Tribe that wished a gaming franchise; later, the tribe hired her same peripatetic offspring as a consultant.
Sen. Chris Dodd now thinks out loud whether John Bolton's conduct is indictable. After the recent Enron meltdown that cost consumers billions of dollars, many wondered the same thing about him for sponsoring unusual legislation for his own mega-dollar campaign donors. Dodd's intervention relaxed auditing accountability and allowed suspect firms like Arthur Andersen to circumvent legal culpability with disastrous results.
Biden's past slips and slurs make Bolton look like a Boy Scout. Not long ago he threatened representatives from the airlines with, "I will screw you badly," and dubbed the United States at war in Afghanistan a "high-tech bully." Biden has fought accusations of intellectual misrepresentation going all the way back to law school — repeated charges about character that have aborted his previous presidential ambitions.
The point is not to find dirt on these smear mongers but to remember that the most savagely critical senators — who hold far more important public posts than U.N. ambassador — would themselves fall far short of the impossible standards of nicety that they are suddenly imposing on a good man whose politics they abhor.
Absent from their televised showboating is any humility that we are all human and hence occasionally rude — or that the god Nemesis always hunts out the hubristic hypocrite. So let the committee spare us their sanctimonious soapbox sermons, and simply vote on whether or not John Bolton mysteriously has lost the credentials and experience to serve the United States that are a matter of long record.The man has a point; it's time to cut the crap and put this thing to a vote. To think that this was once the party of Thomas Jefferson is enough to make one ill.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Zell Miller, Class Act...Chris Matthews Partisan Hack
The only thing that would make me happier than the Republicans sticking the Democrats illegal fillabuster down MoveOn .org's, People for the American Way's, and George Soros' collective throats is if Mr. Miller changed his party affiliation and became President Miller in 2008. And I am absolutely serious about that.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Say WHAT, Teddy?
Playing economic chess with Beijing
Put it this way; I would rather be us than them...
They got al-Zarqawi's laptop!
Rove: no backing down
UPDATE: It appears that Frist is still holding serve and still has the votes. Now is the time to apply pressure, particularly to John Warner, Lincoln (Benedict Arnold) Chafee, and Olympia Snowe. They in particularly have been targeted by MoveOn.org campaigns to pressure them to cave to the Democrats.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
That delightful jewel, Savannah
Definitely one of the best vacations I've taken in a long time. And to those who laugh abouthe the notion that it has some of the finest gourmet food in the United States, I can only say :)
But it is nevertheless great to be back in the Republic of Texas, my birthplace and home. You can take the Texan out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of a Texan. So even the vacation has a happy ending.
And when it comes to the upcoming judicial showdown (to plagarize Bobby Kennedy): now it's on to the Senate, and let's win there...
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Regrettably there will be no blogging whilst I sample some of the finest cuisine, see some of the prettiest scenery in the United States, and to enjoy a culture of civility and friendship that is what separates the Deep South from the rest of us.
But I will be back Monday to focus like a laser beam on winning the upcoming battle for the soul of our nation: I'm talking about the decision as to whether it is the people's country, or whether the rest of us are under the tyranny of the the lawyers and the judges, and the Constitution means precisely nothing. Because it really is that simple. The ability to get an up or down vote on Bush's judges is the most crucial point of his Presidency when it comes to the long term health of the US. And that is still important where I come from.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Judicial update: and I'm not a happy camper...
Photon torpedoes within reach?
The beauty of a flat-tax
The United States, which last simplified its tax code in 1986, and which spent the next two decades feverishly unsimplifying it, may soon be coming to a point of renewed fiscal catharsis. Other rich countries, with a tolerance for tax-code sclerosis even greater than America's, may not be so far behind. Revenue must be raised, of course. But is there no realistic alternative to tax codes which, as they discharge that sad but necessary function, squander resources on an epic scale and grind the spirit of the helpless taxpayer as well?
The answer is yes: there is indeed an alternative, and experience is proving that it is an eminently realistic one. The experiment started in a small way in 1994, when Estonia became the first country in Europe to introduce a “flat tax” on personal and corporate income. Income is taxed at a single uniform rate of 26%: no schedule of rates, no deductions. The economy has flourished. Others followed: first, Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia's Baltic neighbours; later Russia (with a rate of 13% on personal income), then Slovakia (19% on personal and corporate income). One of Poland's centre-right opposition parties is campaigning for a similar code (with a rate of 15%). So far eight countries have followed Estonia's example (see article). An old idea that for decades elicited the response, “Fine in theory, just not practical in the real world,” seems to be working as well in practice as it does on the blackboard.
Practical types who said that flat taxes cannot work offer a further instant objection, once they are shown such taxes working—namely, that they are unfair. Enlightened countries, it is argued, have “progressive” tax systems, requiring the rich to forfeit a bigger share of their incomes in tax than the poor are called upon to pay. A flat tax seems to rule this out in principle.
Not so. A flat tax on personal incomes combines a threshold (that is, an exempt amount) with a single rate of tax on all income above it. The progressivity of such a system can be varied within wide limits using just these two variables. Under systems such as America's, or those operating in most of western Europe, the incentives for the rich to avoid tax (legally or otherwise) are enormous; and the opportunities to do so, which arise from the very complexity of the codes, are commensurately large. So it is unsurprising to discover, as experience suggests, that the rich usually pay about as much tax under a flat-tax regime as they do under an orthodox code.
So much for the two main objections. What then are the advantages of being very simple-minded when it comes to tax? Simplicity of course is a boon in its own right. The costs merely of administering a conventionally clotted tax system are outrageous. Estimates for the United States, whose tax regime, despite the best efforts of Congress, is by no means the world's most burdensome, put the costs of compliance, administration and enforcement between 10% and 20% of revenue collected. (That sum, by the way, is equivalent to between one-quarter and one-half of the government's budget deficit.)
Though it is impossible to be precise, that direct burden is almost certainly as nothing compared with the broader economic costs caused by the government's interfering so pervasively in the allocation of resources. A pathological optimist, or somebody nostalgic for Soviet central planning, might argue that the whole point of the myriad breaks, deductions, allowances, concessions, reliefs and assorted other tax expenditures that clog rich countries' tax systems—requiring total revenues to be gathered from a narrower base of taxpayers at correspondingly higher and more distorting rates—is to improve economic efficiency. The whole idea, you see, is to allocate resources more intelligently. Yes, well. Take a look at the current United States tax code, or just at one session of Congress's worth of tax-gifts to favourite constituencies, and try to keep a straight face while saying that.
Exposing Chomsky for what he is (and isn't)
So when "Reason" magazine, hardly a right-wing publication, writes an article that pretty much exposes Chomsky for the demagogic blowhard that he is, it is cause for celebration:
Collier and Horowitz understand well the manufactured reality of political fame, and to dismantle it requires not contrary vitriol or clever rejoinders but direct, fact-based assertions that undermine the authenticity of the image. To that end, the contributors follow a simple procedure: Quote actual statements by Chomsky and test them for evidence and logic. The best contributions to the volume add the effective and timely tactic of citing Chomsky’s progressive virtues and revealing how smoothly he abandons them.
According to his followers, for example, one of Chomsky’s signal talents is his ability to penetrate the veneer of mass politics and uproot hidden facts and motives. In his words, he aims to see through “professed goals” and uncover “background factors” in political events.
Stephen Morris tests that capacity in his discussion of Chomsky’s thoughts on America’s misadventures in Southeast Asia. Thirty-five years ago, Chomsky approached the war as if it were a propaganda endeavor that discerning critics like himself were able to puncture. But what happened to that discernment, Morris wonders, when Chomsky toured North Vietnam in April 1970?
Chomsky’s analysis of U.S. actions plunged deep into dark U.S. machinations, but when traveling among the Communists he rested content with appearances. The countryside outside Hanoi, he reported in The New York Review of Books, displayed “a high degree of democratic participation at the village and regional levels.” But how could he tell? Chomsky did not speak Vietnamese, and so he depended on government translators, tour guides, and handlers for information. In Vietnamese hands, the clear-eyed skepticism turned into willing credulousness.
Another virtue Chomsky prizes is a solid grasp of historical facts. In his thinking, popular U.S. history is an insidious rationalization of racism and greed. To understand the past rightly, he insists, one must contrast a real truth (the U.S. is a violent empire) with a widespread myth (the U.S. promulgates freedom and prosperity). As the editors of Chomsky’s book What Uncle Sam Really Wants put it, “Chomsky is a scholar; the facts in this book are just that, and every conclusion is backed by massive evidence.”
Thomas Nichols takes on this historiographic talent in his entry on Chomsky’s use of facts and footnotes. Nichols points out that Chomsky’s footnotes are red herrings, his numbers exaggerated, and his facts tendentious. For instance, a footnote in Chomsky’s World Orders Old and New that purports to demonstrate a point in fact leads only to an earlier Chomsky title, and in that text the relevant passage footnotes still an earlier Chomsky title.
But his most damning discovery is broader: that Chomsky lacks a historian’s openness to fresh evidence. All historians know that understanding history is an unfolding enterprise, ever subject to revision. And yet not one revelation of the last 20 years has led to a moment’s reassessment by Chomsky. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of KGB archives, testimony by dissidents and ex-Communists—nothing alters his outlook. When Vaclav Havel addressed Congress in 1990 and praised the U.S. for inspiring those under the totalitarian boot, Chomsky scorned this freedom fighter for uttering an “embarrassingly silly and morally repugnant Sunday School sermon in Congress.” The truth remained: “In comparison to the conditions imposed by U.S. tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.”
With its record of crimes and hypocrisies, Chomsky argues, the U.S. could sustain its moral identity only if it had a press primed to play lieutenant to the capitalists and generals. This raises another commended Chomskyan asset: media savvy. In 1988’s Manufacturing Consent (co-authored with Edward Herman), Chomsky launched a widely repeated argument against the consolidation of media and their goal of propagandizing for a power elite. The book (along with a documentary based on it) remains a favorite on college campuses; even among Chomsky’s critics, few are willing to defend centralized media. Indeed, media savvy is a valuable trait, and one would think that an anti-conglomeration media theorist would keep abreast of changes in media structures and deliveries.
And yet Eli Lehrer finds that, in the last 10 years, Chomsky has all but ignored the most striking new medium of our time: the Internet. He says little about the weblogs and other virtual newsroom start-ups that have done the very work he advocates, forcing into the public eye stories that traditional media outlets ignored. When he does heed the Internet, he makes the same charges he leveled against the networks, in the process misrepresenting basic aspects of online communication. The Internet is just the kind of populist medium that Chomsky supposedly reveres, but all he can do is squeeze it into a conspiracy theory.
Other essays in the volume recount similar failings of Chomsky on Chomskyan grounds. He downplays the Holocaust and anti-Israeli terrorism. A philosopher of language, he tosses around the words genocide and terror indiscriminately. (As the U.S. prepared to invade Afghanistan, he predicted, “Looks like what’s happening is some sort of silent genocide.”) An uncritical defender of the Third World revolutionaries, Chomsky limits the motives of terrorists to reflexive moves against U.S. aggression, a refusal of responsibility that mirrors the paternalism of the colonialist. The only independent thought and action he allows them is the formation of socialist movements.
In turning Chomsky’s virtues against him, The Anti-Chomsky Reader offers a challenge to those who fixate on only the crimes in U.S. history. At its best, the volume transcends the pro-Chomsky/anti-Chomsky debate to focus on larger outcomes in a post-9/11 world. Let us have pointed dissent, it suggests, but without an obsession with U.S. guilt. Keep the virtues—mistrusting government, exploding myths, analyzing media—but apply them impartially. Chomsky is caught in a Vietnam-Watergate time zone, when the Pentagon and White House assumed the most fiendish place in democratic protest. It’s time to recognize that fiends may collect wherever power is concentrated.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
More on the riots
Is Delay so different?
Why we shouldn't wait any longer
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Iran running out of options
The US is executing a well-planned regional and global strategy in our war against Islamo-fascism, as indicated in recent reports. The geo-political thrusts and counter-thrusts in this conflict are being deftly managed by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and the other members of GW’s national security team. The SecState’s visit to Asia and the announcement that the US will sell F-16s to Pakistan and other military gear to India reveal a maneuver to counter Iran’s latest gambit to maintain its status as the region’s terror-master.
Looking at a map of the entire region, stretching from Israel on the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent, prior to 9-11, we would see a massive land area anchored on the flanks by two relatively prosperous democracies: Israel and India. The nations between these two countries were essentially a vast land barrier comprised of radical Islamo-fascist states. From this perspective, Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom take on even more significance beyond the obvious benefit of getting rid of two bloodthirsty dictatorships. By invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and the Coalition struck at the dual keystones of this massive barrier, and have started the process of tearing down the wall between the two democracies on the flanks of this volatile region.
Definitely read the whole article. It is heartening to see the US playing a key role in the stabilization of what has been the most voliatile and dangerous region of the world.
Staged Chinese riots against Japanese: an ominous sign
You have to wonder why the Chinese leadership has gone about fanning the flames of hate against the Japanese, precisely at a time when Japan and the United States have just finalized a security arrangement around (e.g.) Taiwan. Brian Dunn has an intelligent take on these events, as does Greyhawk over at Mudville Gazette. (if you haven't been reading Greyhawk, you should be--every day. This is a man who has been in the thick of things. Check him out)
If I were in the Pacific Fleet right now, I would be keeping a close eye on our "friends" in China; there is an awfully lot of smoke over there right now for there not to be a fire.
Horowitz: not exactly backing down...
Anyway, when I saw that Blogger Catherine Seipp had been published in National Review with a writeup on Horowitz, I had to check it out:
Pie-throwing seems to have become almost standard practice now when conservative pundits visit college campuses: Just a week before Horowitz was chocolate-creamed, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol got hit with an ice-cream pie while speaking to students at Earlham College, as it happens also in Indiana.
But Horowitz has a particular talent for sending the opposition into paroxysms of rage, even when he’s being attacked and not on the attack himself. Daily Kos, for instance, called Horowitz a “sissyboy racist” in commenting on the pie-in-the-face incident. Kristol’s incident, by contrast, got the relatively bland Kos description: “Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.”
I once wondered, during an interview at Horowitz’s home in Los Angeles, whether our psychotherapized culture means that people find his typically blunt way of making his points shocking.
“No, no, no,” he responded. “If you’re a conservative and say something blunt, people are shocked. If you’re on the left, people take no notice. Jesse Jackson says racist things every other speech he makes. The idea that black people are locked out in our society — give me a break. One of my notorious Salon columns was called 'Guns Don’t Kill Blacks, Other Blacks Do.' Well, it’s true: Ninety percent of black murder victims are killed by blacks, and I wrote the article because the NAACP had announced that it was launching a suit against gun manufacturers because so many young blacks were dying of gun wounds.”
“I think if I say it enough times,” he continued, “hone the edges of my words until they’re razor sharp, it will cut through this nonsense and maybe restore us to some kind of common sense.”
Muslim "honor killing" reported in Amsterdam
Frist has the votes to break fillibuster
Friday, April 15, 2005
A ruling junta unto themselves
It’s almost impossible to think of a major area of life in America where a judge somewhere hasn’t ruled in flagrant defiance of the democratic will of the people as expressed in a referendum or through the state legislature.
Sometimes this is necessary, of course — but only sometimes. In the last few decades, however, judges have often seemed less inclined to defer to the will of the people than to indulge their own sense of what’s good for them. And several Supreme Court justices, unable to find their own views reflected in American laws, have even claimed the prerogative of fishing in the laws and court decisions of foreign nations for useful precedents.
This drift in the courts has suited liberals just fine. Stymied at the polls, they have run with the ball wherever the field is open, in this case the courts. And that’s why Democrats can talk as absurdly as Dobson, often from the well of the Senate. Just last month, Sen. Robert Byrd — that actual former Klansman and towering titan of Southern gothic asininity — compared the “nuclear option” — i.e., the attempt to impose majority rule in the Senate — to Hitler’s rise to power. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid calls the GOP’s desire to reform Senate rules to end filibusters on judicial appointments an example of Republican craving for “absolute power”! Zoiks!
Naturally, each side is convinced the other started this endless spiral of absurd rhetoric, bad faith tactics and hypocrisy. It’s certainly true that Republicans tried all sorts of stuff to block Clinton’s judges and that Democrats were once much more favorably disposed toward filibuster reform.
But, again, the point is that such maneuvering is the natural consequence of giving judges more power than they deserve or need. Debate over judicial appointments used to be more decorous, largely because the stakes were lower. If we empowered the head of the U.S. Postal Service to rule vast swaths of our lives, we’d have huge confirmation battles over the postmaster general.
For good or ill — and I certainly think for ill — the days of decorum are over for the foreseeable future. Judges are unilateral legislators, unchecked by democratic accountability.And it has to be stopped. A good start is appointing judges who take the Constitution seriously.
Going on offense
China moving to protect sea lanes
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
When it comes to "Climate Science", time to get back to basics
These days, in order for academics to get sought-after financial grants and tenure in clearly left-leaning institutions of “higher learning”, their conclusions need to agree with a pre-ordained "conclusion", which has everything to do with politics, and very little to do with real science. For their "facts", todays climate “scientists” rely on computer models with an enormous range of variables, many of which are almost impossible to quantify, in order to produce the result they desire: namely “evidence” that the world is about to end if the United States does not bankrupt its economy with draconian measures designed to “protect” an environment that is clearly not predictable (if I cannot tell you with any certainty what the weather is going to be tomorrow, why would I bet the entire economic recovery of the US on politicized predictions of what the weather will be like 100 years from now?). Today’s “Climate Science” is less similar to traditional science than it is to fortune telling. Tech Central Station has an interesting article up today about this disturbing phenomenon.
More on that "art exhibit" threatening the President
The exhibit’s curator, Michael Hernandez de Luna, said the inquiry “frightens” him.
“It starts questioning all rights, not only my rights or the artists’ rights in this room, but questioning the rights of any artist who creates — any writer, any visual artist, any performance artist. It seems like we’re being watched,” he said.
Once upon a time, guys like this would be hauled off to prison, no questions asked. It is a federal felony offense to threaten the life of a President. I'd be frightened too if I were responsible for this outrage.
Showdown dead ahead
Thus the leaders of the left's unprecedented and extra-constitutional blockade of Bush's circuit court nominees are on record as planning to use similar tactics for any Supreme Court vacancies that arise in Bush's second term, the first of which is widely believed to be coming soon
But the left doesn't want any of them to ascend to the Court, even as a replacement for one of the five generally conservative judges, much less for one of the four generally liberal judges.
This honest declaration of intention from the captains of the left's blockade is as clear a signal to the Republican leadership that now is the time to break the filibuster via a ruling from the chair that the use of the filibuster on judicial nominees is out of order, and a majority vote to uphold the rule. Both Aron and Neas concede that all of the Bush nominees have majority support. Aron goes so far as to bluntly assert the right for 41 senators to block nominees, a position that will harden into practice if it is not repudiated now.The Editors of National Review also weighed in on the coming judicial showdown, concluding:
Politicians of both parties regularly demonstrate that folly, error, and overreach are endemic to their trade. But judges are prone to the same failings. In recent decades, their power has increased and their exercise of that increased power has become routine. Some of their decisions have been right, and others have not. We think, for example, that the Supreme Court’s restrictions on state governments’ ability to set their own policies on euthanasia — restrictions that formed a backdrop to the Schiavo case — were not grounded in the Constitution. There can, however, be legitimate differences of opinion over precisely which judicial decisions should be regarded as “activist.”
But the existence of these disagreements does not alter our conclusion that it is profoundly unhealthy for the republic to have a judiciary that effectively defines the limits of its own power and a political class that regards the rule of judges as the rule of law. On that underlying contention, Congressman DeLay and Senator Cornyn are correct. And we are for all intelligent, deliberate, and constitutional exertions to rectify the situation. Political leaders cannot subscribe to a definition of judicial “independence” that allows for no meaningful political checks on judicial power. The result of that view is, almost as a matter of necessity, judicial independence from the Constitution.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
A timely offer?
Raising the level of discourse to an all time high
The new PC...making things equally miserable for everyone
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
What the American left is all about...
Small Strategic Victories
Meanwhile China is getting really interesting these days... I would be nervous if I were living in Taipei right now. When the Washington Post starts writing about invasion, it is a concern. However the Chinese need oil, badly. And our military controls the oilfields. It would be a costly war for the Chinese... Belmont Club wrote in depth about this aspect of China-Taiwan situation today (there were later technical difficulties, hopefully those have been solved..).
Dinocrat has done some good work on China lately as well.
It's all good...
UPDATE: Nice to see Herb contributing to National Review. Kudos to both.
Sending in the "Wolf"
The point of this trip down cinematic memory lane is to draw an analogy, however oblique it may be: the United Nations is in big trouble, much like Travolta and Jackson were; they have a serious problem. And the brain matter splattered throughout the car is not a bad metaphor for the state of affairs in the institution: Kofi Annan is knee deep in alligators over the oil-for-food scandal, and indeed several members of the Security Council had their hands deep inside Saddam's cookie jar at the very moment they voted to deny the US the authorization it sought for UN support in Iraq. Alternatively, the brain matter could be likened to the millions of murdered innocents in Rawanda and Sudan, while the UN sat on their hands and did absolutely nothing to stop it. Or perhaps it could represent hundreds of young girls who have been systematically raped and abused by UN "peacekeepers" who were supposed to be protecting them.
The United Nations is an institution that is crumbling at its foundations. And if the situation is to be salvaged (a long shot at best), it is time metaphorically to send in "the Wolf". And that man just might be John Bolton. True, this may well be an unsalvagable situation (I happen to think it is), but if anyone can salvage it, it is a driven, focused, take-no-prisoners individual who will not be shy about meeting the myriad problems of the institution head on. This is not a situation that calls for Jimmy Carter; it is a situation that calls for a Rommel or a Patton. And I think that is what we are getting with Bolton.
The Washington Times had a nice op/ed about Bolton's confirmation, pointing out that it is unlikely that Bush selected Bolton to dismantle the UN, as his liberal detractors are inferring; indeed the Times makes a strong case that he was chosen because Bush felt he was just the man to help clean this cesspool of corruption up. In fact, if the libs are truly as idealistic as they pretend to be about this utterly corrupt organization, they just might want to watch who they oppose when it comes to the unenviable task of leading the reform in an institution that has a light year to go to fulfill the promise with which it was founded, and to justify the staggering money that has been poured into this black hole, with very little to show for the expense. And Bolton seems to me to be just the kind of no-nonsense problem solver this monumental task requires. Sometimes when a tough job has to be done, you need a man like "the Wolf". The partisan Democrats in the Senate (is there any other kind?) might be wise to keep that in mind.
Enough votes to pull the trigger?
Monday, April 11, 2005
Time to fight fire with fire
Challenged to throw out Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader after a questionable remark far milder than the rhetoric of Senator Byrd, and all the Republican Senators could do is give him the bum’s rush. The Democrats beat the Republicans bloody and all the party of Lincoln can do is whimper. Hardly a blow thrown in defense, let alone an offensive swing.
Even after the 2002 and 2004 Republican election victories, the Republican Senators seem reluctant to push their advantage. Why? Because it seems every time this Administration tries something, the Dems and the MSM come out swinging and force a retreat. It’s happened so many times that the voting public wonders whether or not the Democrats are correct in their characterization of Republican motives. For why would they back down on these issues if there really were principle behind the Republican positions? How come they give up so easily? It must all be horsepucky.
All the Dems have to do is huff and puff and the Republican house falls down. “Use the nuclear option and we’ll bring the Senate to a halt” blusters Senate Minority Leader Reid while holding his copy of the Declaration and the Constitution – or something to that effect. Daschle gets voted out for his blustering but the Republicans fire their own guy for an off-hand remark. Go figure.
No matter how badly they lose come election time, I’ll give the Dems credit for sticking to their lines. They are not shy about it. Republican Senators and, I dare say, the President seem unable to get their act together on domestic policy and legislation. When they try to seize the initiative, the Democrats, MSM and lefty NGO’s seem to pop up like Jim Carrey in the “Mask” with both hands converted into a myriad of horrific weapons, and they fire their arsenal without hesitation. The Republicans seem not to have planned for the Democratic response before launching their original trial balloons. And that’s the problem. The voters see these things as trial balloons and not policy initiatives.
If the Republicans let the Dems scold them into dumping Tom DeLay for what are being touted as ethics offenses, but that are not in letter nor spirit any more offensive than what Dems themselves do, they may as well do nothing other than pass a Democrat’s budget and shelve any initiatives until after the next mid-term elections – if that next plebiscite they can manage to survive. If Republicans can’t bring themselves to go to the mat for fully qualified judicial candidates, cut the pork out of the budget, do something meaningful regarding illegal immigration, and quit playing the diversity game with national security, why should anyone expect the President’s numbers to go up?
David Brooks states that “Leaders who want to change things had better not give off the impression that they love change for its own sake.” I don’t think that’s the problem. The Congress and the Administration have just not done a good job of communicating to the American electorate what really should be changed, or done, or left alone – or whatever. For every time they open their mouths, it seems as though the Democrats are there more than ready, willing and able to help the Republicans put their own foot in their own oral orifice. Sometimes it almost seems like the Gong Show with the hapless Republicans being repeatedly pulled off the stage with the hooked shepherd’s staff.
The voters don’t like the Democrats for what they are doing. They don’t like the Republicans for what they are not doing. That is, not governing. We’ve given you the votes in Congress, guys. Use it or lose it. Don’t run at the first whiff of voter response teased out of a poll cleverly structured to garner the desired result. Get everyone on the same page of the hymnal. Then show some backbone. Get up and go. Give better than you get. You can be gentlemen, but don’t fight with a limp wrist.
So, let me get this straight...
UPDATE: ...and speaking of mainstream mythology, they sold us a whopper last year around this time.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Conservatism vs. Republicanism
Included in the set of values that must be defended are principles that are the very reason that our founders chose to fight the original American Revolution: For freedom to determine our own destiny. Freedom to not allow the government to infringe upon your privacy against your will. Certainly, it is a razor's edge between legitimate National Security necessities and an Orwellian "big brother" nightmare. But it is not controversial for the Party to stand for protecting the right of people to self-determination: and to allow a despotic judiciary to ignore laws passed by the people's elected representatives; to have gotten to a place where when the people's Congress enacts laws, only to have tyrannical elites wearing black robes to toss the will of the people into the wastebin of history, often on a whim or at the behest of well-funded interest groups--to the point where increasingly the Constitution is treated as if it is not worth the paper it is written on---To have witnessed these events in the United States of America is to have reached a point in our history that is nothing short of dictatorship by a runaway activist judiciary. To a patriotic American, this is an abomination.
Would Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton have stood for this? Is this is not why they and the other patriots who ended British hegemony and terror: in order to establish separate and equal branches of government? The Constitution was created by wise and noble men, and its symmetry is brilliant: it is crafted so that one branch was not allowed to trump the other two branches. This is discussed widely, throughout the Federalist papers and agreed-upon by almost all of the framers. In fact, even the anti-Federalists who argued against the Constitution in the 1780's gave as a reason that it gave judges too much power. So this is not just an issue du jour for Americans--it is the very soul of who we the Americans are: we are in charge of our own destiny--and we have Representatives and a President who are supposed to govern according to the will of the people, not the other way around. We cannot allow the court to be stacked by renegade judges who would take this right away from us. And Republicans can not sit by idly and allow a few activist Democrats to prevent the President from stemming this tide of judges who don't take the Constitution seriously. We cannot allow them to negatively assert themselves against the powers of Congress, the President, and the people they represent. We must not allow that to happen. If we don't act now to force our leadership to take a stand against this kind of judiciary, and in favor of the people's will--we stand to lose everything.
President Bush's nominees must have an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate. These nominees might be the only thing left between us and a runaway judiciary that effectively puts an end to the American dream. Up to three Supreme Court judges could announce their retirement in the next two years, and there will be large numbers of vacancies at the District and Appeals judge-level. Republicans need to be true to their Conservative principles, or else election results won't even matter anymore--because the will of the people will have been usurped from us. What is "American" about that?
UPDATE: Karl Spence believes that what we need is another Constitutional Amendment. Read his entire essay, it is excellent.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
When it comes to saving our judiciary, "Nuclear" is essential
Friday, April 08, 2005
GM Cancels all LA Times advertising
US Rallying behind its troops in Gitmo
First Dan Rather, now THIS?
Memogate III - Still scandalous
Notwithstanding the revelation of the memo's source, some of the most important questions about this story remain unanswered. Foremost among them is, what led the Post to report, on March 19, that the memo was written by "Republican officials" and "distributed to Republican senators by party leaders”? Was the Post misinformed about the memo's origin and significance, either by Senator Harkin or by someone else? Or did the newspaper's reporters see the memo and simply leap to the conclusion that it was a statement of policy authored by the Republican leadership and distributed to the Republican Senate caucus? The former seems more likely, but Mike Allen, the Post's principal reporter, has not responded to our request to clarify the source of the error in the paper's original report.
Likewise with the story that the Post printed on March 20, which was better, but still inaccurate. Its statement that the memo was "distributed to Republican senators" is apparently incorrect, based on the Washington Times survey published on April 6, as well as the Post's own story on April 7, which suggests that no Republican Senators other than Martinez received the memo (although this, too, is a fact that remains uncertain). Again, the question presents itself: what was the Post's basis for reporting that the memo was distributed generally to the Republicans in the Senate?
The disclosure of Senator Harkin’s role in the story raises further questions. Where has Harkin been for the last two and one-half weeks? He must have known that a controversy was raging around the memo. On one hand, it was being attributed to the Republican leadership, and, on the other hand, its authenticity was being questioned. He knew where the memo came from, but didn’t say a word for more than two weeks. Why? To our knowledge, no one has asked Harkin to explain his weeks of silence.
Just because an aide to Mel Martinez wrote this memo, the mainstream as usual has taken that to mean they were justified in their treatment of this story in the first place; and nothing could be further from the truth.
More inside scoop on MoveOn.org
What's good for the goose...
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Coming clean on the Schiavo memo
"Well, The Memo turned out not to be a fake, contrary to what I, and others, thought. It was, nevertheless, very important to get at the source -- even though it turned out to be a Republican senator, a Republican senator who looked us straight in the eye and lied in hopes, I presume, of avoiding the consequences of an embarrassing gaffe.
It turned out to be worse and reminded us, or should have, that the words of politicians, of whatever stripe, ought to be greeted with skepticism and persistent investigative journalism. Only then can we get at some measure of the truth. I greatly admire Power Line and other bloggers who would not turn this issue loose or set it aside until they could help us all arrive at The Memo's source...."
It should not be lost on the mainstream media that had the blogs not been all over this (for whatever unfounded reasons), the truth might never have come out. For the last 12 months, big media has been getting their collective clocks cleaned by the "pajamadeen". And in our free society, where the public (supposedly anyway...) makes the laws, an influential group of citizens which can regularly assist the public in getting to the real truth, above and beyond the propaganda of the MSM, cannot be a bad thing.
UPDATE: I also appreciated Michelle Malkin's comments.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Desperate times in France
For example, it is becoming more and more certain that France must assume the lions share of blame for the millions of innocents who perished in the now-famous 1994 Rawanda genocide. Not that I see much possibility of the French admitting their monstrous complicity; if ever there was a government that had absolutely no shame whatever, it is the corrupt Chirac government. Not only has the French government not stepped up to admit their starring role in this human catastrophe, but we now find out that (after berating the United States up and down for not surrendering its precious and hard-won soverignity, and instead giving the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague juristiction over American servicemen and women...), meanwhile the French leadership were incredibly exempting themselves!
And it doesn't end there: the French have wasted no time in undercutting the US position regarding the easing of the European arms embargo against China. One supposes that since Chirac now can no longer sell illegal weapons systems to his buddy Saddam, the next best thing for the French arms brokers who back him is to break a decades long embargo against the one true power that is biggest threat to world stability on the entire planet. This is simultaneously a vindictive, destabilizing, and potentially catastrophic move in the long term. But for Chirac it seems that the only criteria that matters is whether it would either humiliate or at least make things much more difficult for America, even if by doing so he moves West closer to global war. And to think of the young men who were slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy so that small men like Chirac would not have to be a part of Greater Germany; it is enough to give pause to even the most tolerant American Francophile. Indeed there are some who now argue that France has always been our enemy, almost from the very beginning.
There are problems on the domestic front as well, because the immigration dam has broken: tens of thousands of Muslims are flowing into the Republic every month, and they have begun to make their presence felt in a decidedly threatening and increasingly violent way for the locals. Some are even suggesting that France is becoming the next Lebanon. If Paris is in danger of becoming another Beirut, perhaps enough sane French patriots (if any are left) will begin to see the danger they are in, and will step up at the ballot box to stop this madness before it is too late.
Tossing Chirac out of office would certainly be an excellent start, particularly when there are new voices rising in French politics like Sabine Herold, potentially charismatic candidates who speak of optimism, freedom, free markets, individualism, and who also happen to favor a more positive and collaborative relationship with the US. But time is growing short, and there are more dark clouds on the horizon: France is projected to be a predominantly Muslim country by 2020. If the West has not successfully concluded the War on Terror by then, things could grow much worse in US-French relations, with the effect of driving them directly into the arms of our enemies. We are already seeing signs of that.
Right now, the situation is on the razor's edge. Although the French economy is completely in the tank, with no easy solutions in sight, conditions which you would think would favor new blood in the French leadership, it is also true that so long as spiteful prima donna obstructionists like Chirac continue to hold grand delusions of somehow reincarnating the days of Napoleon or Louis XIV, then Liberté, égalité, fraternité will one day soon become mere relics of a once great and egalitarian Republic.
The looming threat of Soros and company
York has titled the book "The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy", playing off of Hillary Clinton's over-the-top statement about criticism of her sainted husband. But today, with Hillary looking towards '08 and suddenly trying to portray herself as a "moderate" (sort of akin to Hitler posing as a Rabbi...), it will be important for we in the blogosphere to keep tabs on these shadow organizations, and to continue to tell the truth about them. York's book looks to be a great start towards that end. I've always enjoyed reading Byron's columns in National Review, and after reading this excerpt from the new book, I intend to purchase the book myself this week. Like it or not, we are at war in this country, and this war is for the American soul. And the result of this war will directly impact the results of the war on terror and the war to protect the US Constitution from Judicial "dictators". This is a war of ideas, the most critical since the American Revolution itself, and it is vitally important that all citizens know and see the true nature of the shady characters and apparatchiks that make the American left a danger to us all.
Memogate III - A deliberate Democratic "plant" with network complicity
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Whereas today...today the country is reeling and angry about the recent judicial travesty resulting in the death of Terri Schiavo. There is still bitterness and dismay at the inattention that the Supreme Court gives to the Constitution, as demonstrated by its recent "arbitrary" death penalty ruling, using foreign law and public opinion as "precedents" to determine the (ahem..) "Constitutionality" of putting a 17-year old cold blooded murderer (who bragged of his "exploits") to death... The President is still hugely popular, the tide in Iraq is turning, new democracies are sprouting up all over the world. The time could not be better to make this move. And good Judges like Ms. Owen deserve an up or down vote. Assuming that the Republicans are going to have to play this card eventually (and there is nothing more critical to our country's future, in my own view), why not do it now when we know the inevitable negative canyption fit that the mainstream media will have can be managed and be mitigated by all of the other positives? What if a national crisis is going on whenever we do get another opportunity to do this? I think the Senate leadership is making a critical mistake, assuming it has the votes to change the rules. And if it does not have the votes, then it is time for the Specters, McCains, Chafees, and Snowes to be exposed for the unprincipled non-team players they all are. Take McCain for example. If McCain really does ever want to be the Republican nominee for President, a nay vote against a rules change could very well doom his chances with the conservative base of the party. I do not believe McCain would be that stupid. Likewise, if Frist does not force this issue, then conservatives might observe that Mr. Frist does not share the same backbone that our President demonstrates each and every day. And therefore that Mr. Frist also would not make a good President...so why would he not bring this to a vote?
Several days ago, I participated in a symposium at Homespun Bloggers on this question, and came down squarely on the side of changing the rules to allow President Bush an up or down vote on his nominees. And I wasn't the only one. And if Kristol and Krauthammer are indeed correct that the Republican leadership is going to back down from its ultimatum to the Democrats, it will be a shameful day indeed, particularly in light of the judicial travesties that have occurred in recent weeks.
UPDATE: It is good to see that my man John Cornyn is all over this issue as well. This is important stuff, folks. This is a real fork in the road. We have got to reform our judiciary before it is too late for all of us.
Limbaugh rails against NY Times' Judicial "posturing"
Monday, April 04, 2005
Holding the Line
Europe's abdication of moral responsibility
What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti- appeasement: Reagan and Bush.
His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.
On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.
For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.
Read it all; it is a simply delicious essay. I only hope some Europeans are reading it, on the way home from their 30 hour work week...
Zogby: Overwhelming majority says Terri should not have been starved
"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked. A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Syria to leave Lebanon?
Our worst nightmare
You remember A Q Kahn, the Pakistani who was fronting nuclear weapons technology to Libya and Iran? Well it appears that he also met with Osama bin Laden... Several times...
Top ten ways the MSM lies to you daily
Read it and weep for our country.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Is China's bubble about to burst?
You never can tell just when a speculative bubble will burst, just that it will. From 44,000 in 1990, the Nikkei fell to less than 8000 a few years ago, and it is less than 12,000 today, still off 70% from its highs of fifteen years ago. Here’s what Biggs said in 2003 about China at an economic symposium (we have no idea whether he still agrees with the statements):
As for the massive investment boom (or should I say “bubble") in China, a bust is bound to come. A country that does not have a free markets capital allocation mechanism is uniquely unqualified to mitigate the excesses of an investment boom. After all, if the West with its sophisticated public markets and information dissemination systems was totally incapable of coping with the technology bubble, what hope is there for China? The greater the bubble, the bigger the bust. In China’s case, the resulting unemployment of perhaps even several hundred million young men and women could destabilize the world. Of course the hope is that there is a central bank chairman hidden away in some musty office in Beijing who has the stature and knowledge of Greenspan and the guts that Greenspan lacked. I don’t see that there is much the G7 central bankers can do. Economists have created the legend that China is the new engine of world growth. I fear it is a myth about to become a nightmare.
Most economic leading indicators look forward about six months into the future. In the case of Japan, Barton Biggs was 3-4 years ahead of the market. We wouldn’t be surprised, therefore, to see a crack-up in China within the next year or two.
If Biggs is right, I would not want to be living in Taipei...or even Tokyo for that matter (especially now that Japan is has all but declared it would defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion). If China were to invade and Japan got involved too, it is doubtful whether the United States would stay out of it. Stay tuned...
Putting his money where his mouth is
Statesman or captain of the Titanic?
Friday, April 01, 2005
The legacy of Adam Smith
Smith never wrote a word about "capitalism", yet he is hailed as the "high priest of capitalism". He is the "father of modern economics" though he would find much in today’s economics unrecognisable as his progeny . He is alleged to be an advocate of "Laissez Faire" though he never used these words and claims that he used English equivalents are tenuous. He did not believe it advisable to leave merchants and manufacturers alone, because they were likely to form monopolies, restrict supply and raise prices.
Smith took the long view of society’s development. He was never in favour of quick fixes. He considered stability in society more important than correcting even serious deficiencies too quickly. He took a historical view and his books are full of references to classical Greece and Rome and what they taught about government, moral conduct and economic growth, and the need for natural liberty and justice.
The "new" economy he discussed in Wealth of Nations was not new to him. He saw a growing commercial society as a revival of the commerce of western Europe that had been overrun by barbarian hordes. His inquiry into the wealth of nations was like a one-man Royal commission, a tour de force, drawing on evidence over the millennia since the fall of Rome and from contemporary evidence he analysed in painstaking detail.
Commerce was a revival, not a new revolution. From commerce, established on a prosperous and improved agricultural base, opulence would spread deep into society, itself poverty-stricken to a degree we cannot imagine today. Scotland was a backward, ignorant and fractious country; England was slightly better. But both would rise out of their stagnation if commerce was unburdened from the mercantile politics lasting since the Middle Ages.
Smith disapproved of colonies as expensive ways to buy what could be bought in markets. Unnecessary wars to revenge slights on the King’s ministers rather than matters of substance were on a scale of prodigality he railed against. He preferred investment and jobs in productive activity that increased wealth. Not that he was a pacifist. Defence was the "first duty of the government" to protect society from barbaric neighbours.
He saw society as becoming naturally harmonious through the intense dependence of each person on the labour of every other person and taught that the propensity to "truck, barter and exchange" led to people serving their own interests best by serving the interests of others from whom they needed daily necessities.
That is his true legacy, the melding of his moral sentiments with liberty, justice and his economics. It is time his legacy was claimed back.Not a bad legacy at all...
Pull the chain, out comes the message
If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold--perhaps even somewhat reckless--instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about AIDS?
No, the president has not discovered a cure for cancer. But there is a pathology, a historical pathology, that he has attacked with unprecedented vigor and with unprecedented success. I refer, of course, to the political culture of the Middle East, which the president may actually have changed. And he has accomplished this genuinely momentous transformation in ways that virtually the entire foreign affairs clerisy--the cold-blooded Brent Scowcroft realist Republicans and almost all the Democrats--never thought possible. Or, perhaps, in ways some of them thought positively undesirable. Bush, it now seems safe to say, is one of the great surprises in modern U.S. history. Nothing about his past suggested that he harbored these ideals nor the qualities of character required for their realization. Right up to the moment Bush became president, I was convinced that his mind, at least on matters Levantine, belonged to his father and to James Baker III, whose worldview seemed to be defined by the pecuniary prejudice of oil and Texas: Keep the ruling Arabs happy. But I was wrong, and, in light of what has already been achieved in the Middle East, I am glad to say so. Most American liberals, alas, enjoy no similar gladness. They are not exactly pleased by the positive results of Bush's campaign in the Middle East. They deny and resent and begrudge and snipe. They are trapped in the politics of churlishness.