Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I don't like us siding with dicatators, but it is an unfortunate necesity. Besides, democracies are sometimes more tyrannical than dictatorships. I suspect that if most of the muslim world was democratic that we would get more dangerous regimes, not less. American style Democracy is great, but it does not come to societies quickly, easily or naturally.

Remember that back in the American revolution England, Democratic America's enemy, was a democracy. If we had not allied ourselves with France, a monarchy/dictatorship, the U.S. would not have freed itself from England. Freeing ourselves from a tyrannical democracy was very practical in the short and long run. As long as the world outside our borders remains a hobbsian mess (which will probably be forever) we will sometimes need to ally ourselves with dictatorships.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I have no problem with biased reporting, but I prefer honest bias to lying about not being biased when you really are. Our press used to be run by openly partisan groups with the Party name in BIG LETTERS on the front, the Daily Whig or what have you. That is honest (an important quality in reporting) and you knew what bias to look for. The Europeans seem to have a decent press that is open about its biases.

I also hate fluff man on the street reporting, which is usually just trying to find people who will give
you a quote you want instead of actually finding news. You can find a number of people to support any
belief, 34% of all people know that (polls as news are another rant).
I completely stopped trusting the Reuters "news" agency when they kept putting terrorist in quotes.
Refusing to define any act as terrorism because people disagree about it is just lazy cowardly "reporting". People disgree about lots of things. It is supposed to be a news agencies jobs to go out and find out which one is telling the truth.
I'm kind of surprised that there isn't some media savvy dicatator out there who would put out more
realistic numbers. Even 75% or so would at least open up the possibility to the average free person that at least you might be having real elections and just be popular.

Remember arafat's "election" to a four year term about six years ago where he got over 90% against the one opponent he allowed to run against him (some social worker no one had heard of I think). As corrupt as it was some "peace activists" still site it as a legit source of Arafats power and gives them an excuse to ignore his terrorist past. Note how none of the "peace activists" have called him on his hitler like "single election, then dictator for life." antics, while I bet most would be able to tell you how Bush disenfranchised Florida.
Also in the UN the size of your country makes no difference. A tiny nation like Litchenstein or kuwait gets the same vote as a Russia, China or India. I estimate that just 20% percent of the worlds population could get a resolution passed if a whole lot of really little countries got together and voted on it.
I think the Israelis should see the number of UN reslolutions it has violated as a badge of honor. The United Nations should be called the United Rulers, since most of its members are tyrannies. Israel's democratically elected government gets one vote. The dozens of Muslim dictatorships and their allies get dozens of votes. So Israel pisses of a bunch of tyrants? Good for you Israel! The U.N. (especially the general assembly) is a good idea that has failed in that pesky old real world.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Democracy is no better than any other form of geovernment. In a lot of ways it is worse because it is easily to pursuade the masses based on emotion or on deception. Popularity and rightness are two very different things. Democracy is only better if, like in the U.S., it is constrained with constitutional protections of rights and a whole lot of checks and balances, along with a society that respects the rule of law. Most of the world outside North America, Israel, and some parts of Asia and Europe are completely unready to be governed by its people.

Countries like Pakistan will not be ready for years because they do not have the centuries of rule of law or democractic tradition that the English speaking world has. At least Imperial Japan and Germany had internalized respect
I hereby announce that each year I will give out the "superfly justice award". Whoever does the most to destroy tyranny in the world each year gets it. This year's winner: George W. Bush for leading the fight against the murderous tyranny of the Taliban last year, for leading the worldwide fight agianst terrorism, and for this year continuing the unfinished business of overthrowing the most brutal dictator alive today, Saddam Hussein.

Runners up for this year were Donald Rumsfield, Condeleza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair.

Previous winners include: Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, JFK, Thomas Jefferson, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, George Washington, and Harry Truman.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

A little analogy on how the Germans have been treating us recently (try to figure out who is who!):

Our group of friends for years had a code of helping each other out when threatened. For years I had your back in fights and spent lots of money on you. I confronted a bully who threatened to kill you. Before the bully left there was a drug dealer who roughs up neighbor we are friends with. I go over andhelp the little guy out and drug dealer agrees not to pick on anyone and pretends to give up his weapons

Things are cool in the neighborhood.

Then one day some pimp comes along who had threatened me before, but I do not take him seriously because he knows I can kick his ass. One day the pimp sneaks up behind me and stabs me bad. My riends are sad for me. I go out and kick his ass. He is too beat up to do much to me for a while. In the mean time, the dealer from before starts threatening me. I figure I would not have gotten stabbed before, had I beaten up the pimp when he first threatened me. I decide that I do not want to take my chances with the dealer. Word on the street is that he trying to buy a grenade, but has not gotten it yet. I think now is perfect time to go after the dealer.

I tell my friends, "Hey lets get that drug dealer now before he gets that grenade." They reply, "You are like Hitler. You are worse than the drug dealer. You are doing this to be popular. You want the dealer's drugs. There is no way I am going to help you, you big bully!" I reply, "But I never started any fights before, they did! Don't you remember that you used to fight among yourselves until I stopped you? Haven't I earned your trust by risking my life for you?" They reply, "You are an uncooth cowboy. If you go and have a constructive dialog with the dealer I am sure it will work it out. Away with you and your barbaric violence!"

I stand back and reflect on the betrayal and cowardice of my friends. I wonder if it was worth it when I helped them fight off the earlier bullies. Will they be there if he gets the grenade? I wonder what I must have done for them to be so mad. Then I realize it is not me that is wrong. A few of my friends start to take my side (especially that scrappy little Jewish one that my other friends are always picking on and calling a bully because he sticks up for himself and who the dealer and many others have shot at before).
If they want to come along that is fine, but I will take the dealer on by myself if need be. I wonder what
I will do if a new dealer goes after them next time.
I do not get the argument "why are we attacking Iraq now?" Bush said in the debates that he would takeon Iraq given the chance and would not put up with stuff Clinton put up with. And to answer why now is different than before, just to fill you in, on September 11 of last year terrorists flew planes into the New York and the pentagon killing around 3000 people. For some odd reason that really made Americans want to make sure that this did not happen again. We used to assume that no one (including Iraq) would be stupid enough to attack us like that. We were wrong. We do not want to be wrong again.

Yes we supported Iraq against Iran. At the time Iran was more of a threat to us. No we did not fully destroy Iraq the first time. That is because Americans do not like killing people. We signed a conditional cease fire because we thought that would be the end of the killing. We were wrong. Iraq has continued to be in violation of the cease fire for years. I do not get why timing matters here in the first place. If anything, it shows he is not going to change. Saddam should be attacked or he should not be. You do not stop going after a killer just because he has not killed anyone in a few days and he got away last time.

I have a question for whoever does not agree with me so far. Knowing on sep. 10, 2001 that Osama had repeatedly threatened the U.S. with destruction (like Saddam has over the past decade). Knowing that Osama was responsible for the attacks (Cole, embassy bombings etc.) on hundreds of Americans across the globe (like Iraq's attempted assassination of GHW Bush, his support of terrorism, his repeated ttacking of American planes over the no fly zone). But not knowing what was coming tomorrow, would we have been justified in waging war on al-quaida to the extent that we did after Sep. 11? I think the answer is yes. They were waging war on us through these actions. Iraq is waging war on us. They shoot at our lanes on a regular basis. Let me repeat that: THEY SHOOT AT OUR PLANES. We shoot back at them. This has been going on for years. Nations at peace do not do this. Why should we not believe that a nation that has been trying to shoot down our planes for years and tried to blow up a former president and that is led by an aggressive, tyrannical nutjob, who says he wants to destroy the U.S., will not try to blow up a large chunk of America if given the chance? I personally do not want to wait and give him the opportunity. He has had ten years of opportunity to get rid of his WMD.

Time is on his side not ours.
What is it with people hating the Jews? I really just don't get it. The Jews try not to bother anyone and just want to live their lives without getting gassed, but this must be to much to ask. I guess I could kind of understand why the Israelis are not liked in the Middle East since they have proved they are better than the other peoples in the region, but still this stuff is nuts!

It is hard for me to understand because all the people around me are not a bunch of losers and I do not live in a loser society. Therefore, I tend to assume that non-loserdom is the normal way of life in the world and that if we just keep on doing what we are doing then we will be fine. I do not need to blame the Jews that I am a loser like the Saudis or Europeans do. I suppose that if I was a Saudi I would find it much easier to just blame the Jews for my problems rather than do something hard like actually fixing them.
Why has Lincoln considered a great defender of freedom even though most of the time he acted as a despot? I think that Lincoln has been elevated for several reasons. First he did save the Union from the rebellion and sedition and that is a great thing. Second, whatever his motives, he did pretty much end slavery, the most evil institution in our great country's history. Third, he was a martyr and people love martyrs, often for good reasons. (these are similar reasons to why FDR, the other very popular former president I would consider a despot, is popular despite things like the supreme court packing. He helped save us from facism, tried really hard to do what thought was right, is generally thought to have made the depression less worse, and was a martyr, in large part beacuse of the stress he was under) The despotic things he did are not held against him today for good reason. First, Lincoln did not want to be a despot-it was thrust upon him if he wanted to save the union. Second, the despotic things he did probably were necessary to save the constitution and our liberties in the long run. Suspending habeous corpus for instance, helped win the war by allowing the Union to imprison some very dangerous people. Third, the despotic things ended once the crisis was over. We have habeous corpus today. (Although because of the afore mentioned FDR the constitution is much less powerful an instrument in preventing government excess than it was before.) Finally, our country is freer today because of Lincoln's despotic actions than it was before he took them. His despotism ended slavery.
The world is a very hobbsian place, but most of the western world does not realize it. The West has gotten rid of most its nasty stuff and has created a system where governements are in gereral honest brokers with each other and with their citizens. They have learned that it can be quite pleasant to live at peace with each other and they (mainly Europeans) assume everyone else in the world has arrived at the same conclusions about how nice peace and freedom are. Unfortunately most of the world has not learned this lesson, and thinks things like vengence, honor, hate, and war are better ways to live.

The Israelies have finally learned that you can not assume other people can be satified or compromised with if they hate you. If they can not be compromised with then, if they threaten you, you must defeat hem. The PLO, Hamas, etc. has no desire for peace with Israel. Their desire is to destroy Israel. Taking care of Palestinians is a very far back secondary priority. Israel therefore can not compromise or achieve peace with out destorying those who seek to destroy them, even though more than anything else the vast majority of Israeli Jews just want to live in peace, the same way the Canadians or the Japanese or the Swedes do.
I blame U.S. society in general for the lack of attention on terrorism, although our intelligence agencies and some government officials made some bone headed mistakes. In general our government tries to solve the issues the population (i.e. voters) care about. The fact is that pre September 2001 most people thought terrorism/foreign policy in general was not as important an issue as prescription drugs for rich old people, school testing, and whether or not the president understood their feelings. Most people in our country do not have a well thought out political philosophy beyond "I want the government to give me stuff that I like and not have to pay for it."

Ask them questions like "why do we have a government" and "what should the limits be to its power" and most of the time you will get a blank stair. Ask "should the federal pay for granny’s drugs" and you will often get a resounding "yes, but I do not want to pay for it". Ask what should be the primary mission of the president and the federal government, pre September 11, you would not get what I consider to be the
correct answer: to prevent us from getting blown up or enslaved by foreign powers (i.e. protecting our liberty from outside forces). That is the essential reason we have a government in the first place. The only other main reasons are to maintain order (weights and measures, common currency, traffic laws) and to prevent other citizens from infringing on our liberty (theft, murder, kidnapping etc.). Even a lot of these functions are best left to local governments. Other functions like education, social services, entitlements, etc. may be nice and may directly effect millions of people, but they always need to be secondary priorities to preventing us from getting blown up.

However, most people in our society have either removed themselves from the political process (not voting or even paying attention) or just vote for whoever promises them the most stuff. The "people" in the last several elections told the candidates running for president and other elected offices that terrorism was not important and that we cared more about optional issues. Because of that there was a motivation not to divert money and time and manpower and political capital from the secondary issues to the essential ones. We have only ourselves as an electorate to blame for the sorry state of our defense and intelligence agencies.
I replied to one of those Nigerian spam emails the other day. I told him wow sorry I was for his situation, but that I could not help out right now. He has not written me back. I wonder if he is OK.
Abunch of san antonio politicans were arrested by the FBI today for curruption. None of them got bribes that were over four figures in size. How pathetically greedy must you be to risk your entire carreer and risk going to prison when you have a decent job for just a few thousand dollars?
I do not think that Bush is as intelligent as most other previous presidents. However, Bush is wise. He is humble enough to know when he needs help and seeks it out. He is a good judge of character. He is good at setting priorities and has the discipline to follow through on them. He understands human nature. He has the courage to confront evil when other people try to avoid it. These are the same qualities that made other presidents like Reagan and FDR successful, neither one of whom were considered that intelligent. These qualities come out in a crisis and a big part of Bush's popularity comes from people seeing these qualities in him. If you lack these qualities you end up with a Clinton, Carter, or Nixon three of the smartest presidents ever.
Will the war be good or bad for the economy. Historically war is nuetral for the economy in the short and long run. You just do not know what will happen until it has started (short term) or is over (long term). WWII ended the Great Depression. It also helped the economy in the long run by removing the threats of Japan and Germany, both of whom are now two of our biggest trading partners. The boom of the eighties was during the same time Reagan was spending tens of billions building up our military. The boom of the nineties continued during Clinton's shrinking of the military. Also the president can do a lot to change bad policy that is holding back both long and short term growth: Reagan's tax cuts or Clinton's Nafta. However, in a free market economy the price for long term growth is short term corrections and no president can stop short term corrections without endangering long term growth. When making the choices between guns and butter you have to pick which is more important. During the nineties most people picked butter. Right now most people think it is guns. Sometimes spending more on guns now leads to more butter later on and I think that is the case now.
I wonder what a grizzled old man who went through the depreesion and world war II would thing about us not being able to take on Iraq and fix the economy at once....Grizzled old man voice taking over: "For Pete's sake, when I was your age we once took on Japan, Germany, and Italy and fought our way out of a great depression all at once, dag nabbit, and we didn't complain about it neither! We can't fight both Al
Quaida and Iraq and a dinky little recession with 5.6% unemployment and interest rates and inflation in the
low single digits all at once? Now that we have Alan Greenspan and GPS and laser guided bombs? Do you think we had laser guided bombs when we took on Tojo!?! Did we whine about how much it might cost to kill Hitler? No! We just sucked it up and said we were in this for the long haul come hell or highwater!"

I really hope our nation has not become so pathetic that this is no longer true.

Monday, October 07, 2002

i hope to start posting again this week!