Monday, June 07, 2004

Mailvox: The pinata bursts

JW bids us adieu: Let's recap, shall we? 1) You refuse to seriously address any of the points I raised, particularly that of "original intent", a point which you refuse to either justify or concede,but prefer to accuse me of "randomly blowing hot air". 2) You confuse my letter with someone else's, and then make sarcastic comments about MY reading comprehension skills. 3) You give me the nickname "Ace".

Therefore I see little point in further correspondence discussing your ill-informed, ill-conceived opinions about women's suffrage. You, sir, are nothing but a pompous big mouth--- and you ain't foolin' nobody with that MENSA shit, neither!

For the third and last time, my dear Ace, I never made any argument based on "original intent" nor so much as even mentioned those words. Nor did I confuse your letter with someone else's, I was simply trying to explain to you how you'd originally misconstrued my response to someone else's comment as an original intent argument.

C'est la vie. Run along now.

Mailvox: the human pinata

JW writes again: I never mentioned a word about "heredity monarchy in Saudi Arabia", Mr. Day. What in heaven's name are you talking about?

My mention of the Founding Fathers and their lack of support for women's suffrage was in response to a comment by Dr BDH, who said, predictably: "At last Vox Day has explained why everything is so great in Saudi Arabia." JW seems to be confused as to who wrote what when, and why.

The case against women's suffrage is by no means limited to original intent. Since you've now abandoned your previous "original intent" argument, may I take it then that you have tacitly conceded that argument as being totally without merit?

No, because I never made any original intent argument. As you admit in your first paragraph, you clearly have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm not surprised. Nice try for a quick win on a technicality, though.

You are the one randomly blowing hot air--- first putting forward "original intent" as a justification for opposing female suffrage, and then quickly abandoning that argument as soon as its inherent absurdity is pointed out.

Sigh...he's a slow one, this guy. Even for a libewal.

Anyway, to answer your question, Mr. Day, the women of my family are intensely involved in politics at the federal, state and local levels of government. They have run for office, held office, and supported other women who did so. They have worked on numerous issues and supported various political parties. I would personally be VERY upset if they could not vote or run for office, and I also think that their lack of political participation would be a loss to thenation as a whole.

Well, at least he's honest. Women's suffrage has benefited society because JW would be VERY personally upset if it didn't exist today. A solid 8.5 on the libewal argumentation scale, ladies and gentlemen! The moderate use of all-caps shows a nice flair for the dramatic.

Secondly, the women of my family, like those of the entire nation, pay/have paid literally trillions of dollars in taxes toward the common good. I fail to see why you'd propose taxation without representation for them--- and this is true regardless of the particular type of taxation, whether it be income tax (which you probably oppose as a Libertarian) or sales tax or tariffs on imported goods or whatever type of tax the human mind can devise.

He's a real math whiz, this JW. Who wants to let him know that the annual national economy is all of $10.5 trillion. Since their taxes are in the literal trillions, they must be in the highest bracket and must have had a collective minimum income of at least $4 trillion over the past 40 years since women entered the work force en masse. So, the women of JW's family are collectively pulling in at least $400 billion per year - say, are any of them single?

(Now, this assumes that taxes go towards the common good, not paying interest on the national debt as the Grace Commission found is actually the case.)

The fact that you are obviously irritated by the fact that women do not reliably support your favourite political or religious beliefs is, too be blunt, tough shit for you. Other people's rights are not based upon your personal satisfaction.

I'm not irritated, I'm just observing that women's suffrage has, as far as I can see, made American women more miserable than ever and helped tear apart our society. But perhaps I'm wrong, and we can have more divorce, more abortion, more obese single women on welfare and then society will finally reach that glorious pinnacle of self-satisfied ecstasy towards which universal suffrage is destined to bring it.

I think I'm feeling a little KG today. Anyone else feeling it? Get that weak....

The democracy challenge

Franger writes: Vox, I challenge you on what I feel is a flaw in this whole thing about denying women the right to vote. Why stop at women? By your argument - women are more likely to support security over liberty in their voting decisions. This is based on polling data. So why not african americans? They consistently vote for democrats or other leftist groups or parties overwhelmingly. Why not white atheist males? Couldn't it be said that they tend to form a worldview different than that from white christian males? And what makes you worthy of the vote Vox?

I never said anything about stopping at women. Most people should not be permitted to vote in a constitutional republic. Women are simply the largest group that reliably opposes, collectively speaking, individual human liberty and freedom. Let me turn it around for a moment and ask this question: why have any restrictions on democracy at all? Why were such restrictions instituted in the first place?

The reason is that most people are incapable of looking beyond either tomorrow or their own personal interests. We do not permit children to vote because they would make foolish decisions that are not in their best interest. Women, like many other groups taken in the collective, repeatedly demonstrate that they are not interested in accepting responsibility for themselves. This is why they reliably support ideologies designed to concentrate all decision-making power in a very small oligarchy.

One way or another, an elite will be wielding power in every society. The choice is simple. A broad and decentralized elite of independent meritocracy - in historical terms, the rich white men who founded this country - or a very small and vicious elite that has clawed its way to central authority.

So, I challenge "democrats" such as Franger to put their money where their mouths are. Either support a true democracy and abjure this bizarre antidemocratic system designed expressly to thwart the genuine will of the people expressed through the ballot box, or admit that restrictions on voting are necessary and we are simply quibbling about precisely where to draw the line.

I do favor a decentralized constitutional republic where only those who demonstrate a) an understanding of constitutional principles, b) an ability to logically, c) an ability to think beyond their own interests, d) an ability to accept consequences, e) a genuine commitment to individual human liberty and freedom as expressly delineated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are permitted a voice in government.

But if that is not possible, and at this time I admit that it is not, I would fully support a genuine democracy, wherein the Supreme Court and Congress are disbanded, replaced by national referendums voted on weekly by the entire people. The technology is there. The perfect expression of the will of the people is possible. I'm all for it, seriously, as the history of state referendums proves that the people are more to be trusted than the ruling oligarchy.

So, tell me, outraged supporters of women's suffrage, do you really support the right of women to vote? Or is it necessary to limit it and keep it under the control of those who know what's best for them?

Mailvox: fun with reading comprehension

JW writes in: You are wrong in so many ways! But let me just limit this posting to your use of the so-called "original intent" of the Founding Fathers as an argument against women's suffrage. The genius of the Fathers was not to bequeath us a granite monument with The Correct Answer for all time! Their genius was to leave us a living, breathing document that would live, grow and change according to the demands of democracy and conscience.

I will begin by admitting straight away that the Framers had no "original intent" to allow women to vote. In turn, YOU must admit that the Framers had no "original intent"to have the seat of government in Washington, DC. There was no "original intent" to have the President live in a building called the White House. There was no "original intent" to have an FBI. There was no "original intent" to have a CIA. There was no "original intent" to have NASA. There was no "original intent" to have the US AirForce. There was no "original intent" to have the US Marines. There was no "original intent"to have the Federal Reserve Bank. There was no "original intent" to have a Smithsonian. There was no "original intent" to free the slaves. There was no "original intent" for the Lousiana Purchase. There was no "original intent" for Texas statehood. There was no "original intent"for Alaskan statehood. There was no "original intent" for Hawaiian statehood. There was no "original intent" to have Thanksgiving. There was no "original intent" to have a national anthem. There was no "original intent" to have a Pledge of Allegiance.

I could go on and on, but these few examples alone reduce your tiresome argument to absurdity. You, and a few of your wacko friends may personally be opposed to female suffrage, but to attribute these warped sentiments to the Founders is completely bogus.

The wonders of the liberal mind never cease to entertain! The most amusing thing is that he doesn't seem to realize that I never once mentioned anything about "original intent" as an argument against women's suffrage. I only mentioned the Founding Fathers to illustrate why it is absurd to equate a lack of support for female voting with support for a hereditary monarchy as in Saudi Arabia.

My favorite part is when he concludes by stating that the Founders did not have the sentiments that he began by admitting they did, in fact, have. This is a lovely exhibit of how to argue like a liberal:

1. Fail to understand the point.
2. Latch onto a phrase the other person mentioned and make naked assertions derived from that.
3. Claim that this completely destroys the other person's argument, even if it has literally nothing to do with said argument.
4. Assert that you have plenty of other equally devastating responses, but you won't bother with them right now.
5. Conclude by contradicting yourself.
6. Walk away thinking you won.

Che bellissimo! Truly, a work of art.

Mailvox: the co-dependent presidency

AW writes from Mexico: Pretty outrageous of Bush, that speech of his. What with the "crusade" omission and the "not the expression of a religion" absurdity. And another zinger- Bush spoke of the war against the "ideology of terrorism". But terrorism isn't an ideology - it's a method ! It's like FDR saying WWII was a war against the "ideology of blitzkrieg". Amazing, simply amazing. But have you noticed he's still hated by Muslims as an enemy of Islam? The guy panders and it still does him no good. Another example, he's pandered to Mexico more than any president in history. But here in Mexico, the media calls him an illegitimate president and likens him to Hitler. Will the guy ever learn?

I don't know if I'd characterize the speech as outrageous so much as dispiriting. It's been clear for over sixteen months that retreat from financial empire was out, and for nine months that decisive war is also out. I'm hoping that we're not soon going to see another Pearl Harbor that will provide the impetus for kickstarting the latter option, but time will tell. Then again, one can never be too cynical where geopolitics are concerned.

As for the president, more and more he appears to have a relationship with his various foes that resembles a co-dependent battered woman. "Love me, love me," he cries. "See what I do for you?" And all that gets him is another punch in the face. This is not a model of leadership, political courage or strength of character in my view.

A tribute to Ronald Reagan

Of all the remembrances of Ronald Reagan now being written, I think Joe Carter's is perhaps the most significant.

The most appropos act of tribute to the late president, however, belongs to George W. Bush: "The federal government will be closed Friday in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, the White House announced Sunday."

I can't think of a more fitting way to honor the passing of this great man. Too bad the closure won't be made permanent.

Mailvox: Caution or cowardice

RD writes: Everyone in the world, who is not in denial, Christian and Muslim alike are holding their breath hoping that the coming World War, that everyone fears, can be delayed or prevented by partial war and appeasement. When it comes, It will be unlike any war in the history of civilization and hundreds of millions will die and it may continue for at least fifty years. Some believe that Armageddon is upon us. Most hope and pray that it is not, including President Bush.

It is a clash of civilizations that is over a thousand years old. And the three major religions all predict an ultimate conflict. The forces at work are beyond the control of anyone. It is not of our choosing and our only choices will be to become Muslim, to fight or to die. Still, there were few who believed that the conflict with the Soviet Union would not ultimately result in a nuclear holocaust. It was the singular courage of Reagan that won that conflict without a war.

I agree that we are potentially dealing with a great clash of civilizations here, but I don't believe that the American people are well served by a dissembling leadership. The American people are being lied to about the nature of the enemy, the sacrifices that they may be forced, (not asked), to make as well as the dangers to their liberties that they face, from within and without. Meanwhile, the administration takes steps that actually place the people in more danger, even as they fail to prepare them for the potential conflict.

It is not too late for the West to avoid open war. Pulling back our quasi-imperial outposts and expelling the alien fifth column would likely lead to the collapse of the dollar's global financial hegemony and have a terrible effect on our economy, but far less than full-scale conflict between the Dar-al-Harb and the Dar-al-Islam, and America would remain intact and prepared for decisive action. Those European countries wise enough to follow our example would do well - the Netherlands is already taking steps in this direction - while others, like France, will not do anything until it was too late for anything but the usual European solution, vicious government persecution of the disfavored minority.

This is a subject on which the national debate should begin, but since we live in a land where the people have given up their sovereignty to a cabal of professional bureaucrats and politicians concerned primarily about reelection, that seems unlikely. So, we'll soon find out if George Bush's half-measures will suffice.

But for those who still consider the president to be a great martial leader, ponder this. Both Churchill and Reagan spoke long and loud about the primary danger posed to their respective nations, to such an extent that they were both considered Johnny One-notes, long before either of them were elected to office. And once in office, neither was shy about working towards eliminating the danger.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The little engines that couldn't

Naturally, some left-liberals have gotten their panties in a bunch about my suggestion that women's suffrage has been disastrous for the nation. And as you'd expect, none of them actually bothered to offer any argument that this is not in fact the case, but consider angry name-calling, senseless sputtering and otherwise affecting the vapors to pass for devastating response.

The expected comparisons to Saudia Arabia and the Taliban popped up; apparently the distinction between limited voting in a constitutional republic and no voting at all in a hereditary monarchy is too fuzzy for these handicapable brains to absorb. In other words, Thomas Jefferson = the House of Saud. Yeah, good luck with that one.

It's a simple question, actually. Is the nation better off or worse off as a result of women's suffrage? If so, how? It's a tough case to make, unless you want to argue that divorce, illegitimacy, homosexuality and falling real wages are the historical signs of a healthy society. Of course, these are the same sort of people who, in the past, have tried to argue that masses of women entering the work force had NO POSSIBLE EFFECT on wage rates, so I wouldn't put it past them to give it the old sophmoronic try.

The amusing thing is that these people, presumably small-d democrats, are so clueless that they don't realize that this nation is not and has never been a democracy. We could actually have a real democracy now, as the technology is possible, and yet it never crosses the tiny little minds of these "democrats" to call for one as they support yet another plutocrat in the Bush-Clinton-Bush Yale line.

Voting is not a God-given right as delineated in either the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights. Liberty, in fact, denies universal democracy, (or mobocracy as it was known), a fact that anyone who has read the Federalist Papers would know the Founding Fathers understood very well. The dichotomy of a libertarian favoring limited suffrage is only an apparent contradiction to the ideologically and historically ignorant.

E perche "popoli" invece "populi"? Perche parlo italiano, non latina.

Reading ebooks in Linux

For some time, I've been disappointed that there isn't a good Palmbook reader for Linux. This is strange, since some Palm-equivalents actually run on a Linux OS, but I've finally found a solution to my liking.

WINE, the Windows emulator, is a good program but not the easiest to comprehend or manipulate. In my case, it was almost unusable because every time I ran it, it would take 3-4 minutes to run the fonts through some process or another. After a little digging, I learned that I had to tell WINE how to find a place to load the Windows fonts automatically, which, since I run a dual-boot machine, is in the Windows Fonts directory.

I told it how to find them by going into the WINE configuration file, which is done by using the terminal to go into /home/user/.wine and running GEDIT CONFIG. I only had to change one line, (the italicized line below), and remove the semicolon that commented it out.

; the TrueType font dirs you want to make accessible to wine
"dir1" = "/mnt/windows/winnt/Fonts"
;"dir2" = "/usr/share/fonts/truetype"
;"dir3" = "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TT"
;"dir4" = "/usr/share/fonts/TT"

Palm Reader then worked without the excruciating delay, but I was getting an error saying that Windows 98 or better was required, so I made one more change, (again italicized below).

; Windows version to imitate (win95,win98,winme,nt351,nt40,win2k,winxp,win2k3,win20,win30,win31)
"Windows" = "win2k"
; DOS version to imitate
;"DOS" = "6.22"

Finally, for ease of use, I created a launcher by first creating a little text file called winpalm, which does nothing more than change the directory to the one containing Palm Reader and call WINE PALM\ READER.EXE. The launcher command is simply SH WINPALM. Pick an icon, and you're reading .pdb files in Linux. I don't do much reading this way, preferring my Dana most of the time, but it's a nice option if you're going to sit down and have a sandwich while you're reading.

For the occupation equivalency crowd

From WND: Some 80 percent of the 816 GIs killed in Iraq have died since major combat operations were declared over in May 2003.

This is the percentage equivalent of America suffering an additional 1.17 million fatalities after hostilities ceased in WWII. (There were 292,131 American battle deaths from 1941-1945). From this, we can conclude at least one of two things:

1. The current war was never truly about Iraq or Hussein per se and is thus not over.
2. The Japan/Germany post-war model is not relevant to the present situation.

My belief is that both are true. I have no doubt that tomorrow's column is going to infuriate a lot of people, including some regulars here, but I would encourage you to seriously consider what I am saying in light of the established facts, not your instinctive emotional reaction.

There are those who consider George W. Bush to be carrying Ronald Reagan's torch. I find the suggestion laughable. The man who did not fear to demand that the leader of the world's second most powerful military force "tear down this wall!" would never have uttered the infamous "religion of peace" line.

Mailvox: Why would you think that?

Rhone writes: think it would be very interesting to see WND's response to a column like that. Prediction: they won't like it; moreover, they won't like it Big Time.

Manatee adds: No way will WND allow him to write that piece.

Sure they will. They've only ever refused to publish one column of mine, on the close etymological relationship between a homosexual slur and a political ideology, and they were probably right to do so. I'd be shocked if they demurred or even commented in any way on a column about the voting electorate.

That being said, there's only one way to find out. If someone can email me the results of the post-1920 presidential election results broken down by sex, I'll write it. I bet I can not only make a case for it, but one with which many women will agree as well as presenting an alternative that even outraged feminists will find hard to refute.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Rest in Peace, Ronald Reagan

May he go with God, into light and glory everlasting.

Mailvox: good question

Anonymous writes: I'm female, and retired military (which for those of you who never served means at least 20 years in uniform). I cannot abide discussing political issues with most women (there are few exceptions) because they are not willing, and in some cases are not able, to think. So why did you guys give women the right to vote?

I assume our forefathers gave women the right to vote for much the same reason that many men abdicate their position as head of the household. They figure, well, at least they'll finally shut up about everything, and really, how bad can it possibly be?

A few years later, while writing an alimony check that exceeds the rent for his studio apartment that is one-tenth the size of the house in which his ex-wife is living with the kids he hasn't seen for a month, the man dimly begins to realize that somewhere along the way, he went wrong. Most men wrongly place all the blame on the woman at this point, little realizing how they were complicit in their own demise.

Mailvox: imagining anti-semites

Alex writes: Vox="That's just bizarre. How does this make sense when Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are usually described as neocons, considering that none of them are Jewish?"

This is made clear in the very next sentence written by VDH... really, Im surprised at this kneejerk blog. VDH makes strong arguments and has done the research to back them up. You jump too quickly to damn when things don't make sense to you, perhaps b/c they rub brusquely against your assumptions.

VDH="Cabal" and "Nazi-like" are also used by others and with increasing frequency to promote the old idea of crafty, sneaky people pulling the wool over honest naifs (no doubt aw-shucks, unsophisticated folks such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rice)."

Alex, surely you're not so poorly read that you don't realize VDH simply made that up wholesale, echoing fellow NROniks Mowbray, Frum and Goldberg. No one thinks anyone is pulling the wool over Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice. Name one person who does - VDH certainly doesn't. Indeed, it flies directly in the face of the usual caricature of Cheney pulling Bush's strings from behind the scenes. The vast majority who oppose Rumfeldian neoconservativism have never heard of Wolfowitz, Perle or Feith, much less Leo Strauss.

In fact, VDH goes so far as to specifically disavow the two primary definitions of neoconservative used by the neocons themselves - a particularly stupid thing to do - and echoes Mowbray's silly hit piece that tried to pin anti-semitism on General Zinni, who, as I pointed out in a previous column, never identified a single neocon in the interview with the Washington Post that so riled the neocons and their friends. A strong argument? VDH's uncharacteristically lightweight assertion doesn't even rise to the level of an argument at all!

What we're seeing here is the neocons clumsily attempting to silence their critics in the same manner that the ADL attempted to shut down The Passion of the Christ. I expect the tactic to work about as well, too.

The pursuit of equity

According to an Associated Press story today Wal-Mart “facing lawsuits for alleged gender bias and unfair treatment of workers, will cut top executives’ bonuses if the company does not meet its diversity goals.” The article says that the pay cuts will be made “if the company does not promote women and minorities in proportion to the number that apply for management positions.” It then quotes company chief executive Lee Scott: “If 50 percent of the people applying for the job of store manager are women, we will work to make sure that 50 percent of the people receiving those jobs are women.”

If I was a lawyer, I'd bring a bias suit against the NBA. Clearly, the number of white men are shockingly underrepresented there, as no team should have more than 13 percent black players. Let's nick David Stern's salary if he can't get some more white boys suited up next season.

Freud didn't know the half of it

This has got to be a parody. I think my favorite bit is the notion that "women have been kept in the dark about this for a reason." How thoroughly and psychotically self-obssessed do you have to be to believe that the powers-that-be have a particular interest in your various excretionary options, which one would assume to be reasonably self-evident to any creature with more synaptic connections than a rotted stump?

Thanks a lot, Desert Cat.

Speaking of women in politics

Nancy Pelosi spoke on Meet The Press: "I made that statement that I did, and I think with great courage, if I might say about myself, because I am worried about the troops on the ground in Iraq or wherever our troops serve."

The most powerful woman in American politics thinks she's got great courage criticizing the other party's foreign policy because she is vaguely worried about the troops, wherever they might happen to be. (It's too bad Russert didn't ask her where else she thought they were; that could have been funny.) She probably couldn't face the obstacle course at boot camp without crying, forget the nasty, irregular guerilla warfare the troops are currently facing in Iraq. Great courage, mm hmmmm....

It's strange, but women in front of a microphone cannot seem to resist the urge to talk about themselves. I, I, I, I, I. Margaret Thatcher, one of the few public women I admire, was a notable exception to this, as she discussed ideas, not how she felt about ideas.

Nancy Pelosi. Hillary Clinton. The prosecution could easily rest on that evidence alone.

Why women shouldn't vote

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70% of men favored smaller government, but only 48% of women believed the same way. So men are far more likely to view big government as part of the problem, not the solution.

PJ O'Rourke once said: "Advocating the expansion of central government is a crime against humanity!" It's pretty clear to me that one of the most destructive forces in our society has been women's suffrage. Women consistently and reliably turn towards government as a solution for perceived problems, which creates more intractable problems, which then is used to justify more government intervention. This process is unlikely to stop until the entire edifice collapses of its own weight.

It's too bad that the concept of the states as laboratories of democracy has been abandoned, because I'd love to see the difference between two neighboring states, one of which permitted women to vote and the other that did not. It would be particularly interesting to see in which state women would prefer to live. I suspect the answer might surprise a lot of people.

The fact that the Kerry campaign would run these canards reveals an unsettling truth - that in order to win the female vote, Kerry believes that he needs to continually nurture women's sense of grievance and victimization.

He has no other choice. Feminist women believe that they exist for no other reason than to be aggrieved. "I am a victim, therefore I am" could serve as the motto for the entire movement. I'm not advocating some sort of sharia here - as far as I'm concerned, women can work wherever and wear whatever they want. But allowing them a voice in government and politics is disastrous, if not suicidal, and has led directly to the loss of more American lives in three decades than in every war since the Revolution.

Someone had to say it. I just did.

Friday, June 04, 2004

VERY disappointed in VDH

VDH gets his history wrong: Neoconservatives? Let us be frank. This appellation is no longer a descriptive term of so-called "new conservatives," those members of the eastern intelligentsia who were rather liberal on some domestic hot-button issues (tolerant of open borders, quiet about abortion, indifferent to gay marriage, etc.), but promoted a proactive neo-Wilsonian idealism in foreign policy (whether in the Balkans in taking out Milosevic or in trying to replace Saddam Hussein with democracy rather than a Shah-like proconsul).

Instead, face the ugly fact: "Neocon" is now a slur for "Jew." General Zinni (who once boasted that 600 to 2,000 Iraqis were eliminated from the air in his Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign) is now ubiquitous on television hawking his new book, criticizing the war (on Memorial Day, no less), and being praised in the Arab news as he talks about "Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith" and all those who purportedly got us into Iraq.

That's just bizarre. How does this make sense when Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are usually described as neocons, considering that none of them are Jewish? As for Zinni, he never made any reference to the ethnic or religious backgrounds of those he was criticizing. First Mowbray, now Goldberg and Hanson... National Review is running a serious risk of making itself a laughingstock on this issue.

Neocon is a slur for a fake conservative, Victor.

The sign of the null set

L writes on Nate's blog: women who have the same credentials and the same responsibilities as the men in their fields are often paid less than their male colleagues. women are often denied promotions and tenure. women are often denied the opportunity to attend school. women are often subjected to the decisions of the male figures in their lives without ever being given a chance to think or to speak or to express their own opinion.

Ah yes, the whiny meanderings of a self-professed feminist are always amusing. Since they're all afraid to post here, or even email me anymore, I'm forced to make do with the leavings of others.

I should mention that the above is just a selection of her stream-of-barely-consciousness, but it is nicely representative. As to her complaints: 1) Women are paid less when they work less. 2) So are men. 3) 56 percent of U.S. college students are female, so clearly we need to deny even more women the opportunity to advanced education if we're going to have gender equity. 4) It's impossible to deny anyone the chance to think, although Nate's visitor seems to have passed on her opportunity to do so before writing.

Bah - this is child's play.

June 6th, 1944

The price of war does not stop being paid when the guns fall silent. This was driven home to me when I bought my first house from an older couple who had lived there for many years. My grandfather, a Marine who'd fought on Guadacanal and Tarawa, recognized the home seller as an Army veteran and asked where he'd served.

In Europe, the man answered, and his eyes filled unexpectedly with tears. He turned away for a moment, and then, composed again, he apologized and explained that he'd lost his brother in Normandy. This conversation was taking place 53 years later, but it was clear that the pain still lingered.

It is almost impossible for us, sixty years later, to understand the grim realities of D-Day. Yes, we are unfortunate enough to live in what a Chinese sage described as the curse of interesting times, and yet, we do not yet live in a real state of war. Most of us know a few soldiers who are involved in the present conflict - I was relieved to receive an email yesterday from my Italian cousin in Baghdad, telling me that he was fine after the embassy attack - but it is not the vast majority of young men of our acquaintance who are in uniform and in danger as was the case back then.

A few years ago, I took part in a massive simulation of Gold Beach, using the Advanced Squad Leader system. Each player was responsible for a section of the beach; I was commanding three companies of British troops plus 12 Shermans and a few funnies. The experience drove home how a relatively small number of defending German troops were able to inflict terrible casualties on the landing Allies, and it was sobering to see the pile of cardboard casualties grow and realize that each piece represented the lives of ten men.

To the left, I lost an entire company, and only a lucky shot and a wildly aggressive charge by one Sherman commander allowed me to take out the two AT-guns and get the two surviving companies off the beach. It was only a game, and yet, it is true that the valiant action of a single brave man can make all the difference in the world to the rest of the men involved.

In the end, after many hours, the Allies triumphed on the table just as they had many years before on the real beaches. But there was no celebration by the winners, instead we found ourselves standing quietly around the massive array of maps, contemplating those who had fought and died so long ago. Some may think that it is strange and silly, if not downright disrespectful, to view the tragic loss of human life through the lens of a wargame. But, sixty years later, this is the only lens that many of us have.

Soon, all the young men who stormed Normandy will be gone. But as long as there are other young men who are curious about history, who want to know what happened when, where and why, neither they nor their sacrifice will ever be forgotten.

Down in the bizness

The Paratrooper of Love emailed me a recommendation yesterday: The Gunner Palace, which is a milblog chronicling some of the challenges, frustrations and absurdities of war. It features, among other things, freestyle rap from Baghdad and a Hendrix goes to Iraq version of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The blog makes for fascinating reading: Over the weeks, a rhythm developed: sleep late to avoid the heat. Try to eat an MRE-anything without pork in it. Drink water, lots of water. Smoke fake Marlboros from the Haji stand and wait for something to happen-anything: a patrol. An escort. An OP. Most of my time was spent talking to the younger soldiers. I enjoyed being with them. For such a violent place, there was a lot of laughter-much of it from a very dark strain of humor.... After seeing this war firsthand, I don't have any easy answers. In fact, I may have no answers. You try to find good in something like this; you try to find a reason. You try to explain death. I asked soldiers what they thought and their answers were simple. After nearly a year, it wasn't about Iraq, the Iraqis, democracy, Donald Rumsfeld or oil. It was about them. They just wanted to finish the job they were sent to do so they could go home.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Abiogenic oil

Larry writes:Furthermore, if more recently developed theories of oil formation are correct, and oil is not of biological origin, we may have used only a fraction of the total oil that is available.

I've never believed that oil was a byproduct of dead dinosaurs or whatever the common understanding is. For one thing, unless there was a secret dinosaur graveyard to which all dinosaurs in a 1,000 mile radius went to die, the non-random placement of oil fields made no sense. I know literally nothing about the subject, but the usual layman's notion never made any sense to me.

So sprach Firestarter

As you know, I had the benefit of a dinner with Cheney some years ago. He was refreshingly honest about his motivations. With your forebearance, I'll tell you what he told me:

1. The stability of the US economy is critically dependent upon the ready availability and supply of cheap oil.
2. Within ten years the US will be primarily dependent upon foreign suppliers, the majority of whom are muslim arab nations.
3. One of the major sources of oil is Iraq, which controls 11% of the world's known economically viable reserves.
4. Hostility to the US had resulted in Iraq contracting its oil extraction to European nations, principally France, Russia and Germany.
5. The US response to these contracts was to impose an embargo on these contracts through the mechanism of the UN.
6. A stalemate ensued between these European nations and the US. (At the time of our dinner we were less than a quarter of the way through the stalemate that would cost the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children who were starved or denied medical treatment by the UN sanctions and a corrupt Iraqi regime for over ten years).
7. At the time of the first Gulf war, Iraq's capacity to conduct an offensive strike against its neighbours was eliminated. The coalition flew several thousand subsequent bombing runs over Iraq taking out all possible military targets over the ensuing years without the loss of a single plane to ground fire.
8. And yet the Iraqi intention to sell their oil to the Europeans in Euros remained firm.
9. In order to secure US control of supply, it was envisaged that a sequenceo f military conquests was nece ssary. For some time (in 1993) Russia had been attempting to control Afghanistan. The primary purpose was to secure theregion in order to pipe newly discovered Russian oil across Afghanistan to the (Caspian?) sea. If the US could control Afghanistan, it could control the supply of this Russian oil. (Since the invasion of Afghanistan, it has been realised that the Russian oil is of much inferior quality and less economically accessible than was previously thought - hence the loss of interest in this region since).
10. The next cab off the rank was to be Iraq, followed by Syria and eventually Iran.
11. However, the stumbling block for these excursions remained US public opinion. Cheney was frustrated that the average American would never endorse such a substantial and long term military strategy until there was an oil crisis, by which time it would be too late. In the meantime, the Russians and Europeans would have seized the advantage and there was a real risk theUS would end up having to pay Euro for their oil which would be an economic disaster and end the US dominance of global finances.
12. He remained bitterly disappointed in Bush (Senior) who had squandered the opportunity to unseat Hussein in Gulf War I.

I have stated on numerous occasions that I find the notion of war to defend the imperial dollar more credible than the notion of "blood for oil". While this is likely only one of several factors, I don't think that it's an accident that the Arab countries, as well as some Islamic allies such as Indonesia, have chosen this moment to begin bruiting about the gold dinar.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Live-blogging Miss Universe

The Trunk and I were talking the other day about finding opportunities for live-blogging. Tonight I remembered that the finale of the Miss Universe pageant is televised--inspiration struck!

9:14 -- Just in time! They all came out in swimsuits. Hard to pick a favorite at this point.

9:16 -- Somehow the swimsuits don't seem to be as big as they used to be.

9:17 -- Miss USA just came out. She's one of the favorites, but somehow doesn't quite do it for me.

9:18 -- Miss Paraguay is clearly a contender.

9:20 -- No offense to our Australian friends, but Miss Australia looks as though she's hoping to pick up some tips along the runway.

Yeah, that sounds about right. I've met some lovely sheilas here and there, but they do often seem to have just a touch of the trailer park, if not the prison ship, about them. While Puerto Rico and Colombia offered some serious competition, I would have voted for Miss Estonia.

Mailvox: yes, it is

TH questions my logic: That's logic? First, the notion that American doesn’t have to pay blood for oil when it can just print money is daft. Printing money at will by America would only make the dollar worthless. Of course, in Mr. Day’s view, paper money is worthless anyway because America has been taken off the gold standard. This completely misses the point that neither green paper nor gold have any inherent value other than what humans place on them. Sure, gold can be made into pretty things and is difficult to find. That wouldn’t matter if people hadn’t already accepted it as a measure of wealth and currency of exchange. As long as paper money is commonly accepted as legal tender for the payment of goods and services, its value relies on the same laws of supply and demand that govern the ‘price’ of gold. Print money at will, and soon people are carting wheelbarrows of cash to buy their daily bread. It wouldn’t be any different if all exchanges were handled in gold coin and the Himalayas were suddenly discovered to have a solid gold core covered by a thin layer of granite.

First, as the financial expert Firestarter points out: "The vast majority of the cost of foreign oil is paid in US government bonds. Essentially an IOU for billions with a coupon (interest) rate of just 1% p.a. Since these bonds can literally be printed by the US government at no immediate cost beyond the coupon rate, oil can essentially be bought for next to nothing. The long term costs of such a policy are price inflation and/or the deflation of the $US, proportional to the value of money supply "created" by such a policy. We have already seen the devaluation of the US$ by some 35% and the escalation of asset values world-wide as a consequence."

Following on to this, I note that the Fed created $48 billion last week, which is enough to pay cash for 1.12 billion barrels of oil at $42.50/barrel, significantly more than the 70 million barrels we use every week. Since January 20, 2004, the M3 money stock has increased by 3.3 percent to $9.1 trillion. That's $300 billion dollars printed in four months.

In other words, the situation is precisely as I described it. Unsurprisingly, TH went on to try arguing that the 10 billion barrels in ANWR will only allow the US to go without importing oil for 2.5 years, of course, he ignores the tiny little fact that the whole point is to allow us to go without importing any ARAB oil, which drilling in ANWR would let us do for around 15 years, 30 if we were content to reduce our Arab imports by half.

So, thank you, TH, for underlining my point about the ignorance of American left-liberals.

Mailvox: Run away, run away!

DY writes: "Spiting Their Pretty Faces". I agree with you 100%. Keep up the excellent work. We need more men like you..... I've always argued that today's women are unrealistic in their criteria for men. The problem isn't a shortage of good men (as Oprah preaches), but today's women's failure to recognize good men and give them a shot. Like your article points out, most intelligent men avoid today's feminist-indoctrinated women like the Black death of the middle ages.

Have you noticed Hollywood's latest obsession. It's the older woman/younger man relationship. Case in point, Demi Moore/Aston Kirchner. Talk shows, women's magazines, and websites flaunt it with the usual in your face so popular with feminists.... Here's something I've noticed more and more as I'm out and about:

1. Older women dressing like kids. They look ridiculous.
2. Older women trying to pick up much younger men. I've talked to 20-something guys being hit on by women in their 40s-50s.
3. Mother/daughter tag teams. The 20 something daughter lures men to their table then pawns them of on her middle age mother.

I tend to agree with this, as I'm frequently astonished by the failure of many women to appreciate the countless good qualities of the Perfect Aryan Male, who is a gentleman, wealthy and intelligent to boot. He has told me several times of being aggressively hit on by women 10 to 15 years older, towards whom he has never sent the slightest signal of interest. I think this smacks of a sad desperation, more to be pitied than mocked, except that they are being held out as role models for the 20- and 30-something crowds, some of whom appear to be headed for precisely the same fate.

The first time around, it's tragedy. The second, it's just farce.

Another thing I've noticed is that a number of the women of my acquaintance who married in their late-20s and early 30s married men of superficially lower quality than the men they were dating, (and in many cases rejecting), in previous years. This isn't uniformly true, and my memories are too hazy to make a strong assertion in this regard, but that's the general impression I have.

Too bad he didn't get a picture

"Ted Sampley, a former Green Beret who served two full tours in Vietnam, spotted Kerry and his Secret Service detail at about 9 a.m. Monday morning at the Wall. Sampley walked up to Kerry, extended his hand and said, 'Senator, I am Ted Sampley, the head of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, and I am here to escort you away from the Wall because you do not belong here.' "At that point, a Secret Service officer told Sampley to back away from Kerry. Sampley moved about 6 feet away and opened his jacket to reveal a HANOI JOHN T-shirt," NewsMax reported. "Kerry then began talking to a group of schoolchildren. Sampley then showed the T-shirt to the children and said, 'Kerry does not belong at the Wall because he betrayed the brave soldiers who fought in Vietnam.' "Just then, Kerry — in front of the schoolchildren, other visitors and Secret Service agents — brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley....

Sure, the networks would have spiked it, but you can't tell me that wouldn't have led on Drudge. The more I see of Kerry, the more I am convinced that he's an unlikeable jerk. I wonder if they'll even let him speak at the Democratic convention.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

You'd think it would be simple

Eclipsed by the furor over foreign policy, Congress' debate over the federal budget has slipped quietly into an impasse that is no garden-variety partisan standoff. It is a battle among Republicans over what their party stands for, analysts say. At issue is whether this year's budget should put the brakes on the tax-cut drive that has been a hallmark of the Bush presidency, and instead put more muscle behind an old GOP orthodoxy: reducing the deficit.

The dispute has kept Congress from completing one of its most basic annual functions: writing a budget to guide the year's tax and spending decisions. And it has opened an unusually bitter and personal dispute among prominent Republicans. A small but powerful faction of Senate Republicans is insisting that the fiscal 2005 budget include rules that require any future tax cuts to be offset so their effect on the deficit would be neutralized; that would mean either cutting spending or raising taxes in other areas. The proposal would strike at the core of President Bush's domestic agenda if he is reelected by making it much more difficult to cut taxes.

But House Republican leaders have vehemently opposed the pay-as-you-go requirement as an affront to their party's credo that, when it comes to taxes, the lower the better. They have kept the requirement out of the budget resolution passed by the House — and have openly questioned the loyalty of Republicans who disagree. "It is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party: Is it a party about deficit reduction or a party about tax cuts?" said Stanley Collender, a budget expert at Financial Dynamics, a business communications firm in Washington.

Let's see... cut taxes or reduce the deficit. Gee, why not simply cut spending and do both?

Boycott Pizza Hut

A pizza deliveryman won't face charges for fatally shooting a would-be robber several times when he was approached in a high-crime area, but his employer, Pizza Hut, has fired him for violating a company policy against carrying firearms. Ronald B. Honeycutt, 38, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, says he's been delivering pizzas for 20 years and has always packed heat on the job. "It's a clear case of self-defense," Deputy Prosecutor Barb Crawford said. "He did what the law allows him to do to protect himself."Jerome Brown-Dancler approached Honeycutt at around 11 p.m. on May 17 just after he had made a pizza delivery in Indianapolis. According to the report, Brown-Dancler pointed a 9 mm handgun at the Pizza Hut employee as he was entering his van.

Brown-Dancler's gun carried a loaded 14-round clip but had no bullet in the chamber, Crawford told the Star. When confronted, Honeycutt pulled his own 9 mm from the back of his pants and fired until it was empty. He says he fired 15 times in about eight seconds. An autopsy revealed Brown-Dancler was hit at least 10 times.

If Pizza Hut will not recognize the single most important American right, I suggest that Americans refuse to patronize their pizza. I'm quite happy to make do with Domino's.

Vox Tox: the second whack

I'm not planning on doing a daily Vox Tox or anything - once a week is most likely - but I didn't think the Libertarian nomination should pass without comment. I also had some interesting email that called for addressing and I wanted to see if using a different recording method might help a bit.

For those who are interested, I'm using an Open Source recording program called Audacity. I record with that, run the Amplify effect on my voice, then paste the music into the beginning, middle and end. I then export it as an MP3. Unfortunately, the program gives me no control over whether the MP3 is exported at 128, 96 or 64. I did try exporting it as an .OGG, but that reduced the size of the 17 meg file by less than one meg.

Anyhow, let me know if you think the quality is better or worse than last time. I also had an idea... there's a number of different bloggers out there audioblogging, and someone with more time to devote to this than me could pull them together, do a little mixing and stream them using Pirate Radio.
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