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Archive for May, 2005

May 31st 2005

Taking Liberty

If you’ve heard of the Wildlands Initiative it’s either terrified you, or you’ve figured its just extreme property rights propaganda … or you’re a happy Marxist thrilled by what it proposes.

The Initiative would, if it’s real, achieve Marx’s goal of eliminating property rights, using as its tool that most Marxist of ideologies, radical environmentalism. For a really slick flash presentation on the Wilderness Initiative by the group Taking Liberty, click here. You have to click back after each “chapter” to view it all.

Taking Liberty believes environmentalists, state and federal government and NGOs, including the UN on a global scale, are working together to shoehorn humans into highly confined areas so the primordial wildnerness can return to the land. I heard about it four years ago via a fabulous Christian trilogy that unfortunately was abandoned by the authors after the second book, so I won’t recommend it to you.

Some say the process got well underway during the Clinton administration with the a mapping of all federal and state lands, the Gap Analysis Program, which analyzed critical lands that weren’t already out of private ownership, the initiative to remove roads from wilderness areas, and several related state programs.

One little matter throws the whole theory into doubt: If it were all true, why didn’t the whole thing blow up when Bush took office? There are only a few possible answers: It just burrowed deeper and will re-emerge (the conspiracy theorists’ answer), Bush is in on it too (the whacko answer), or it never really existed anyway (the eternal optimists’ answer).

Or, what I believe, it’s still too loose to be a real conspiracy. There’s an undeniable dynamic at work to maximize public ownership through wetlands, endangered species, national monuments and the like. It’s very U.N.-think and Al Gore-think, and it’s real. But the Wilderness Initiative itself is most likely just a theoretical construct out of the fevered dream of a Deep Green philosopher. And it happens, by coincidence, that a whole lot of powerful governments, agencies, NGOs and non-profits, working for separate goals in seperate processes, are creating something that looks surprisingly like the Wilderness Initiative.

In a way, that makes it even scarier.

(h/t Jim)

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May 31st 2005

Late-Term Abortions OK With LATimes

The LATimes led off it’s newspaper this morning with an article glorifying late-term abortions and the “heroic” women who have them. It’s as if the editors were asking me, “Want to start your day with a little nausea, revulsion and anger?”

I’d write about it, but Dale the Okie has covered all my bases and then some. Read his post here. Dale probably wouldn’t be here if abortion had been legal in 1952, so he’s got a powerful perspective.

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May 31st 2005

Spin Meter: CNBC Boss Breaks Rules

Note: This is the first of what will probably be periodic Spin Meter posts on CSM.

Four months ago, CNBC initiated a strict policy forbidding managers, news staff, spouses and dependents from owning individual securities. The policy’s goal is to prevent conflicts of interest.

Now word comes out (h/t Media Bistro’s link to NY Times story) that CNBC chair Pamela Thomas-Graham has accepted a position as a director of Idenix Pharmaceuticals and has been granted 15,000 stock options and additional compensation from the company. The newsroom is not taking the news well.

Here’s the CNBC spin:

“As CNBC chairman, Pamela Thomas-Graham is responsible for strategic planning and for identifying major growth opportunities for the brand,” said Kathy Kelly-Brown, a spokeswoman at NBC Universal, the General Electric subsidiary that is CNBC’s parent. “In this role, she is in no way responsible for or in any way involved in deciding the network’s day-to-day content or coverage.” She added that NBC Universal’s management had “made an exception and approved the appointment” before Ms. Thomas-Graham joined Idenix’s board.

1 – Feel free to walk around the cabin
2 – Mild turblence
3 – Barely holding onto control
4 – Dangerous tailspin
5 – Crashed and burned

CNBC’s policy is extremely strict, so much so that its imposition probably came at considerable financial consequence to many of its staffers. Such a policy says, in effect, “We don’t trust our employees to behave responsibly, and we’re going to prevent that in order to stand above the crowd.” No one should follow the policy more stringently than the company chair, and she refused to do so for exactly the sort of personal gain she was afraid her employees would pursue.

So CNBC, instead of having a squeeky clean policy and staff, has only a corrupt boss. And we all know that corrupt bosses run corrupt organizations. GE, get rid of her if she can’t play be her own rules — or you’ve got a dangerous tailspin in your hands.

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May 31st 2005

New Book On Mao Details Evil

“He was as evil as Hitler or Stalin, and did as much damage to mankind as they did. And yet the world knows astonishingly little about him.”

That’s Jung Chang, author of the wildly popular novel about her Chinese roots, Wild Swans, who just published along with her historian husband Mao, the Unknown Story. The result of 10 years of research, the Mao book includes details like the fact that Mao did not march in the near-mythical Long March; instead he was carried in a bamboo rig of his own design. And this:

“Seventy million killed at the absolute minimum. We didn’t even count people like my grandmother’s death – which should really be on Mao’s account. That figure only includes people who were murdered by Mao – and in peace time, which is completely unprecedented in the history of the world.”

Who was Mao? What drove him? Certainly not a love of the people, according to Chang:

His complete lack of ideological belief underpins the book: far from being the great peasant leader of communist mythology, it argues, Mao was motivated simply by a pursuit of personal power; he despised equality and introduced a succession of disastrously anti-peasant policies. Not content with his tyranny over China, he wanted to conquer the world, and became obsessed with acquiring nuclear weapons at great cost to his country. This quest to become a world superpower, according to Chang,”was at the core of his thought”.

This man was the heroic myth that fueled the men who are running China today. One wonders what they would have said to Chang if they were free to do so. Would they have criticized Mao, or would they have fallen in line, giving an indication of how they intend to deal with the growing desire for freedom among the Chinese?

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May 31st 2005

"Le Vote ‘Non’" Fallout Starts

I was reading the Guardian (London) this morning doing some research for my wife’s blog, and found a good write-up of the falling out from the weekend’s election in France rejecting the European Union constitution.

  • Jean-Pierre Raffarin is out as prime minister and Dominique de Villepin is in, tasked with trying to save the Cherac government after the vote. de Villepin was the leading voice in France against the war in Iraq, so it will be fun to watch him squirm a bit in his new post.
  • Charac rival Nicolas Sarkozy didn’t get the PM slot, but is in at Interior Minister.
  • Opinon polls say the Dutch will reject the constitution tomorrow, by even higher margin’s than France’s strong 55% statement.
  • In England, Tony Blair has refused to cancel a referendum vote, even though it appears increasingly likely that the people of Great Britain and France are united on this one.

Also while Beth-Blogging, I found a book review that’s related. Called Dead Europe, by Aussie novelist Christos Tsiolkas (not on Amazon yet), the book paints a picture of Europe that many of us would nod our heads to:

Dead Europe stinks. The stench is the pornographic decay of contemporary Western decadence. Isaac, an Australian photographer born to Greek immigrants, journeys through Europe in the wake of the Berlin Wall collapse and the Balkan wars. Expecting the sophisticated high culture of his youthful imagination, travels and longings, he finds something radically different. His family’s home continent is a theme park. Overweight neo-bourgeois tourists swarm from Paris to Santorini, “in Prada, Gucci and Versace … drinking, eating and speaking loudly and ostentatiously on their mobile phones”, and young professionals debate the best source of ecstasy and LSD: Amsterdam, London or Barcelona? Beneath it all lies the rot of dead and damaged bodies: newer ones of prostitutes and asylum-seekers, untermenschen from beyond the eastern limits of Old Europe; older ones from death camps, pogroms, purges and revolutions. The land of Dead Europe is stained and haunted.

The EU vote may be a sign that Europe is coming back from the dead. I think that’s probably too optimistic a take on the situation, but I am a believer in pendulums, and Europe has swung terribly far towards the dysfunctional, decadent and dead. Some day, it will start moving back towards a healthier position and the pressures of this vote, dealing with Muslimification and the failure of Socialism are all instruments toward that end.

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May 30th 2005

San Fran Painting The Town Green

With the pestering and pushing of mayor “Gay Marryin’” Gavin Newsom, San Francisco is hosting World Environment Day, the day the world celebrates instead of our Earth Day. Oh, it just sounds so cool … and threatening … as described by the UN:

Our agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. World Environment Day is a people’s event with colourful activities such as street rallies, bicycle parades, green concerts, essays and poster competitions in schools, tree planting, as well as recycling and clean-up campaigns.

UN-friendly greenies from all of the world will converge on the Bay City this Wednesday to talk and talk and talk about new ways to penalize activities they don’t like, such as economic activity and human progress. They’ll see a house made of scrap metal and a sculpture made of discarded chopsticks. The city’s restaurants will join in the fun, adding organic specials to their menus, celebrating the fact that organic food cannot possibly feed the growing global population because it requires so much more land conversion than genetically altered, chemically protected food.

And then they’ll all go home, feeling better. Meanwhile, the earth’s abundant resources, the dynamic cleansing powers of nature, and the self-righting mechanisms of the free market will do more to “save the planet” than this celebration ever will.

Read a much rosier story about it in the LATimes.

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May 30th 2005

Terrorism: Weak Grip On Arabs

A poll by Al Arabiya network finds that just 4% of “the Arab street” sees terrorism as the route to better economic conditions for Arabs, while 81% see freer government as the route — evidence of the potential effectiveness of the Bush Doctrine. That there could still be 4% holding out for the effectiveness of terrorism as a change engine in startling in any context other than the Arab context; there it is a cause for hope.

Read more at Strategy Page; h/t to Instapundit.

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May 30th 2005

Faith In America’s Sons and Daughters

My mom’s cousin Christopher Fassnacht is the only relative in my family to die in combat. His bomber was shot down over Germany, leaving behind a lot of sorrows and human memorials. My uncle Bill changed his last name from Fassnacht to Christopher, and I have a brother and a cousin named Chris.

So, on this Memorial Day I can reach back to get a sense of what we’re honoring, but the personal touch is no closer than a great-cousin who died before I was born. My father is a World War II vet who was graduated early by Annapolis and sent to fight the last year of the war under the sea, on subs in the Pacific. I remember a piece of framed embroidered cloth with the SSN Truta’s record iconized — some fishing boats and freighters sunk; no warships sunk; and there across the bottom, a neat row of dozens of depth charges they survived.

That touches me. Thinking of my dad, young, black-haired and handsome, inside the sunken tube that was the Truta, as it shook from the near-by blasts.

I asked Dad recently if patriotic fervor caused him to leave his junior college in Mississippi and go to Annapolis. His eyes registered a bit of surprise, and perhaps a bit of shame. “No, it was the opposite,” he said. “I figured that the war would be over before they graduated me in four years, and I’d be able to miss it.” They graduated him in three, which meant he netted on extra two or three years in college, away from the war. It may have saved his life; and that may have led to me being here at all.

Still, Memorial Day touches me deeply, as it should all American’s who recognize the great privilege it is to live in the Beacon of Democracy. But maybe not as much as it touches Frank Schaeffer, who wrote today in the LA Times about what it was to be a man like me, untouched personally by war, and suddenly have a son join the Marines and fight in Iraq:

I left my Marine asleep in his room. I poked my head through his door every few minutes. At one point, I found myself kneeling by his bed watching him breathe. I found myself praying and crying for all the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives of those who were not coming home. For the first time in my life, I was weeping for strangers.

There are Americans on their knees next to fresh graves from Arlington to Bozeman, from Tampa to Fargo. There are young men and women learning to walk again and receiving skin grafts for horrible burns.

Before my son went to war I never would have shed tears for them. My son humbled me. My son connected me to my country. He taught me that our men and women in uniform are not the “other.”

They are our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. Sometimes shedding tears for strangers is a sacred duty. Sometimes it’s all we can do.

Full LATimes text here. Hattip to Hedgehog

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May 29th 2005

Brussles Blues and France Says "Non"

Some takeaways from the French rejection of the EU constitution, which Agence Presse France called “a slap in the face to President Jacques Chirac and a potentially fatal setback to the continent’s ambitious plans for deeper political union.:

It’s hard to read whether the big turnout — 70% — or the landslide proportions of the “no” vote — nearly 55% — is a vote for a more socialist France or a more conservative France. The “no” vote came from both ends of the spectrum, as Socialists/leftists/labor fretted over cheaper labor in Eastern Europe suddenly having to be welcomed and conservatives worried about decreasing individual freedoms and increasing Muslimization in Europe.

For pan-Europeans who thought their amalgamated mess of a “nation” could stand up to the US’ world dominance, the defeat is crushing. It shows Europe to be what it always has been, not what they would have it: different countries serving different self-centered interests.

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May 29th 2005

China-Japan Split Evident On-Line

The WashTimes has a good analysis of the increasing concern many analysts have over the widening gap between East Asia’s two power houses, China and Japan. The article included this startling statement:

One useful, if rough, barometer of anti-Japanese sentiment in China … is the number of anti-Japanese Web sites in that country.

The number of Chinese sites calling for rallies and boycotts, for instance, had more than doubled to nearly 800,000 by late April over the previous summer, he told a recent gathering at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Japan.

Whoa. If you combined all the right- and left-wing Web sites in the US, what would you get? Maybe 100,000 in a computer-rich country?

Analyst Andrew Horvat offers some good advice for getting out of his conundrum:

The only way out, many analysts say, is taking the difficult and long road embarked on by Germany and France back in the 1950s: To cease recriminations, drawing lines in the sand and bickering over petty sovereignty issues, and instead start looking ahead.

“You need the desire for a shared future,” Mr. Horvat said.

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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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