Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Donations For Tsunami Victims

Evangelical Outpost offers links to some sites where readers can contribute to relief for tsunami victims. "Stingy" Americans may disregard this post.

Saddam's Lawyer

If you knew that an American was going to help defend a murderous tyrant in a court of law who would you guess the American lawyer to be? You would probably try to think of someone who has spent much of his life defending murderous thugs of one sort or another and you would probably think of someone who has spent his life working to undo whatever good the United States has accomplished in the world, a sort of lawyerly Noam Chomsky.

William Kunstler would be a good guess, but he's dead. Did we hear you say Ramsey Clark? Congratulations! That's the correct answer. We admit that it was a little obvious, though, once we said that the mystery lawyer had spent his life defending tyrants and opposing American efforts to neutralize them.

Quake Animation

Go here for animation and information on the Sumatra quake. Thanks to Belmont Club for the tip.

Meanwhile Keith Olberman at MSNBC is determined to find some way to make the administration look bad in this terrible event. The man is obsessed with blaming someone, preferably Republicans, for every bad thing that happens in the world. We expect him to announce soon that there is evidence that the earthquake was a result of Bush policies, and that there is no reason not to think that Halliburton played a role.

Abortion Confusion

Adam Nagourney has a column in the New York Times (free subscription) in which he quotes a number of leading Democrats offering thoughts on where the Party needs to go on the issue of abortion. Some of the quotes are revealing. Others are amusing, and some are just incoherent.

"All these issues that put us into the extreme and not the mainstream really hurt us with the heartland of the country," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party leader who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies."

So, a liberal Democrat is acknowledging that being pro-choice on abortion and in favor of gay marriage are extremist positions. And here we had been given to believe during the campaign that the traditionalists were the extremists.

"If somebody is willing to stick with us who is pro-life, that means they are the right kind of pro-life person," said Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont. "What I don't want to do is to have a national message that makes it impossible for you to be a conservative, or to be a progressive who can't win."

The right kind of pro-life person for Dr. Dean is one who goes along with the Democrats' position that there should be no restrictions on a woman's right to have an abortion. In other words, the right kind of pro-lifer is really a pro-choicer.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said Republicans had "been successful at painting the view of the pro-choice movement as abortion on demand - and nothing can be farther from the truth."

This is a simply breathtaking statement. If the signature conviction of the pro-choice movement is no longer that abortion should be available to anyone who wants one at any time in a woman's pregnancy, then when did they change? Pro-choicers are unshakably committed to Roe v. Wade which protects exactly this legal right. Why are they?

"I think it's a big mistake for Democrats to think they can win politically by moving away from a pro-choice stand," said Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America. "It's time for Democrats to stop playing the defensive role on this issue and of doing a better job of showing how extreme the other side really is."

Ms Keenan needs to check with Ms Brazille about who the extremists are on this issue.

Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood, said Democrats "need to stop allowing the extreme, anti-choice right wing of the Republican Party to paint them into a corner where all they talk about is abortion. We have the high ground here if we focus our policy and our discussion on the prevention of unintended pregnancies."

In other words, let's change the subject so that no one sees how incoherent we are on the issue of abortion.

"We let the Republicans define us as the abortion any time, anywhere party," said Gordon Fischer, the departing Democratic chairman of Iowa, a state where Mr. Kerry suffered one of his more frustrating losses to President Bush. "The Republicans get by as targeting us as the doctrinaire party, when they are the doctrinaire party."

So there! You are! No, you are!

Mr. Wolfson said that if Mr. Bush tried to replace a justice who supports Roe v. Wade with one who opposes it, than an all-out battle would begin. But he and other Democrats said that would not necessarily be the case if the president sought to replace one justice who opposes Roe v. Wade with another.

Mr. Wolfson needs to confer with Sen. Feinstein. Repeat ten times: Democrats are not the party of abortion on demand and to say that they are couldn't be further from the truth.

This emerging debate is the latest fallout from Mr. Kerry's loss as Democrats argue the reasons for his defeat. In doing so, the party is struggling to balance the views of its most loyal members with the need to block Republicans from broadening their appeal through cultural issues.

Or, more simply, if the rank and file Democrats really knew where both parties stood on the main cultural issues of our time they would abandon the Democratic party in droves.

Bush/Blair : Roosevelt/Churchill

The Churchill historian and biographer Sir Martin Gilbert writes a column in The Observer guaranteed to ruin the Liberals' day:

People often ask how history will remember our generation of leaders in comparison with Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Many comment that today's leaders look small compared with the giants of the past. This is, I believe, a misconception. In their day, both Churchill and Roosevelt were frequently criticised, often savagely, by their countrymen, including legislators who had little knowledge of the behind-the-scenes reality of the war.

The passage of time both elevates and reduces reputations. Today there is a cult of Churchill, particularly in the United States, but also far greater scholarly criticism, which regards him, increasingly, as a flawed war leader. The same is true of Roosevelt: his recent biographers are constantly revealing - to their satisfaction, at least - feet of clay.

Although it can easily be argued that George W Bush and Tony Blair face a far lesser challenge than Roosevelt and Churchill did - that the war on terror is not a third world war - they may well, with the passage of time and the opening of the archives, join the ranks of Roosevelt and Churchill. Their societies are too divided today to deliver a calm judgment, and many of their achievements may be in the future: when Iraq has a stable democracy, with al-Qaeda neutralised, and when Israel and the Palestinian Authority are independent democracies, living side by side in constructive economic cooperation.

If they can move this latter aim, to which Bush and Blair pledged themselves on 12 November, it will be a leadership achievement of historic proportions.

Read the rest of Gilbert's rationale for ranking Bush/Blair with Roosevelt/Churchill here.

Stingy? <i>Stingy?</i>

One of the most ridiculous aspects of the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami calamity is the criticism which has been levelled at President Bush by United Nations officials and the Washington Post for a) Not coming forward immediately with a public statement and b) Not committing more immediate relief aid to the region.

The carping is typical of people like Washington Post columnists and U.N. types who think that rushing to the cameras to say how much we feel other peoples' pain makes a horrible situation somehow better. It's also typical of people who are complete ingrates.

The aid we render is what matters, not who was first out of the gate to offer condolences to the suffering. The contributions of the American government will, we predict, exceed those of the entire EU combined. They are also only a fraction of the total contribution that will be made by Americans through private charities and corporations. We suspect that the U.N. knows this but they felt they couldn't pass up the chance to slap the U.S. when they thought they had a good opportunity.

We recommend, by the way, that Sri Lanka, which declined an offer of assistance from the Israeli government, get none of our aid. If they are so disdainful of the Israelis that they will not accept help from that is accompanied by military personnel then let them get their aid from the beneficent and humanitarian Islamic world, or from those magnanimous philanthropists, the French, or from the exceedingly generous and compassionate Communist Chinese.

The Washington Post reports that the United Nations' Jan Egeland complained on Monday that each of the richest nations gives less than 1 percent of its gross national product for foreign assistance, and many give 0.1 percent. "It is beyond me why we are so stingy, really," he told reporters.

The Post went on to say that among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.

In other words, the U.S. is reluctant to give much development assistance through perhaps the most corrupt organization in the world, the U.N., and we're supposed to think this is "stingy"? We think that assistance should go to the people who need it and not to line the pockets of petty tyrants, thugs, and Kojo Annan, and we're criticized for this? How much development assistance has the rest of the world poured into Afghanistan and Iraq compared to what the U.S. has contributed? How much assistance has the rest of the world contributed to fighting AIDS or hunger in Africa?

Where do world wide charities like World Vision, Save the Children, the International Red Cross, and the smaller Christian charities get their major support? Norway?

Maybe we would give as much aid as the noble Norwegians if we hadn't had to pay for defending their sorry selves against the Soviet Union for forty of the last fifty five years and for protecting them against Islamo-fascism for the next forty.

In her novel Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand asks us to imagine a world in which those who produce the world's wealth get fed up with the carping, criticism, corruption, and parasitism of those who benefit from it and decide to just quit. Maybe that's what the U.S. ought to do. Perhaps we should follow the recommendations of Pat Buchanan and others and just withdraw from the world, seal our borders to keep out those who wish to avail themselves of the advantages of living here and those who wish to destroy us here, and tell the rest of the world to fend for themselves.

Within a year the globe would be engulfed in war and economic chaos. It's only the United States, after all, that keeps it from happening now, but low-amperage cogitators such as Mr. Egeland think that no matter what America does, it's never enough.

It's past time to have some tugboats pull the U.N. building out to the mid-Atlantic and sink it.

We Demand a Re-Recount

Ohio has completed the recount demanded by the Green and the Libertarian parties who were determined to prove that Republicans had stolen, or attempted to steal, the November Presidential election. Left-wing web sites like and television talking heads like MSNBC's Keith Olberman repeatedly hinted at nefarious doings among Ohio Republicans that whose machinations would be exposed by the recount. Well, they were right. The recount showed that Bush's 118,775 vote victory margin was actually 328 votes too high. Bush only defeated Kerry in Ohio by 118, 457 votes.

No doubt the Greens and Libertarians are celebrating their spectacular political achievement this morning, but unfortunately uncovering this massive fraud cost the taxpayers of Ohio $1.5 million of which the Greens and the Libertarians ponied up only $113 thousand.

Some are still not satisfied, of course. According to an AP article by John Seewer:

A group of voters citing fraud have challenged the election results with the Ohio Supreme Court. The voters, supported by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, have cited irregularities including long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.

Attorney General Jim Petro has called the challenge frivolous and argued that the state Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction over a federal election.

Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney representing the voters in the challenge, wasn't taking much stock in the recount effort. He questioned why there was no independent investigation into the accuracy of counting machines to determine whether the machines had been tampered with.

"You're allowing the original error to be repeated a second time, so it's not a meaningful recount," he said.

Viewpoint says, Let's count 'em again and get it right. Who cares how much it'll cost the good people of Ohio. We're not paying for it.