Monday, December 12, 2005

No Clemency For "Tookie" Williams

We take no pleasure whatsoever in the fact that Stanley "Tookie" Williams is apparently going to be executed tomorrow morning. We do take some measure of satisfaction, however, in the fact that justice is finally going to be done, at least in part, for the families who have suffered so much because of this man.

Williams had nothing but contempt for the lives of his victims and those who loved them. He held their lives so cheap that he laughed about how one of them died. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice were he allowed to live out his years at taxpayer expense while the families of his victims live everyday with the pain he so callously and savagely inflicted.

Mr. Williams will die tomorrow. What will be done to him is just. The manner in which it will be done, having given him every opportunity to convince an entire series of courts that he doesn't deserve to die, will be compassionate. The state of California is giving Tookie Williams far, far more than what he gave those four innocent, terrified victims in 1979.

He should be executed as painlessly as possible and then completely forgotten. He should expect no better and indeed deserves far worse.

Embarrassment to Our Children

Chris Wallace thinks its time for daddy to recuse himself from offering political opinions according to this NewsMax article:

Fox News Sunday anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday. "He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

Wallace Jr. quickly dispelled any notion that he was joking. When Carr suggested that his comments were likely to be covered by NewsMax, he responded: "You know what? Fine. Go ahead. Call them. That's fine. I'll stand by that."

Returning to the topic of his father's competence, Wallace Jr. explained: "He's checked out. I don't understand it," beyond the fact that Wallace Sr. has "problems with the war."

"I don't know why he said what he said," he added.

On Thursday, the elder Wallace told the Boston Globe that if he had the chance to interview President Bush, he'd ask: "What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?"

Still, despite his criticism, Wallace Jr. seems to have inherited some of his father's shoot-from-the-lip-style. Asked about DNC chair Howard Dean's recent prediction that the U.S. would lose the war in Iraq, Wallace told Carr:

"We are in a war. We do have 150,000-plus American soldiers over there. I mean, it's Tokyo Rose, for God sakes, going on radio saying we can't win the war."

We guess parents are always an embarrassment to their off-spring.

Down the Rat Hole

Think about Live 8 and all the warm feelings it produced because we knew we we're doing something good for the poor people of Africa. And then read this:

"It is widely reported that an African child dies of hunger and malnutrition every three seconds while in the same period African leaders steal $14,000 from their people and put it in foreign bank accounts. In the words of Milovan Djilas, they squander the nation's wealth as though it was someone else's and dip into it as if it were their own. Isn't it strange that exactly two weeks after the G8 deal that wrote off 80 percent of my country's debt, all our parliamentarians, who earn $300 per month, are to receive $25,000 each in free car loans and $60 a day in rent allowance? I call it free car loans because five years ago they each received $20,000 but have yet to pay it back.

It is insulting that the bill for this lavish behavior is passed on to the disrespected poor as they struggle to pay a 40 percent tax on fuel that is used to support, among other things, government entities that consume almost one-third of the country's fuel. One would have thought that African leaders would be better advised to use resources to build the infrastructure that will increase the volume of trade within the continent and thereby improve economic activity." - Franklin Cudjoe, Ghanaian libertarian advocate

When will we ever learn that the worst way to address poverty is to throw money at it? This will be a good lesson to keep in mind as pressure mounts to "do something" about the awful condition of the poor in New Orleans and other major urban areas. People should be helped, of course, but help should be contingent upon a willingness to make changes in lifestyle choices. If people are to receive public assistance they should be expected to foreswear the behaviors that perpetuate their poverty. To expect the taxpayer to fork over a significant portion of his/her earnings to people who feel no obligation to do anything in return helps no one and is successful only in generating resentments.

Perhaps this sounds harsh, but if so, it's the sort of harshness with which people need to be more frequently confronted. Too often the poor in this country are impoverished because throughout their lives they rejected the advice of others who urged them not to have sex and babies until they were in a committed marriage and once they were married to stay that way. They rejected the advice of others to shun drugs, alcohol, and other dysgenic behaviors, and to do all they could to get a good education. They rejected the advice of others to build their lives around their children and not around their own wants and desires. They rejected all of this and more, and now they demand the tax-payer pay the bill for their lack of wisdom so that they don't have to bear the full brunt of the consequences of their foolish choices themselves.

It's past time to tell people that if they want what you have they should adopt the same values and virtues of education, fidelity, hard work, etc. that enabled you to acquire what you have. If they're unwilling to do that then they shouldn't feel entitled to much help from society at large.

Countdown to March

The Israelis are planning an attack on Iran's nuclear production facilities by the end of March according to this report in the London Sunday Times:

Israel's armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed. The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations.

The crisis is set to come to a head in early March, when Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, will present his next report on Iran. El-Baradei, who received the Nobel peace prize yesterday, warned that the world was "losing patience" with Iran. A senior White House source said the threat of a nuclear Iran was moving to the top of the international agenda and the issue now was: "What next?" That question would have to be answered in the next few months, he said.

Defence sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the "point of no return" after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich uranium in sufficient quantities to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years. "Israel - and not only Israel - cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Sharon warned recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we're making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation."

A "massive" Israeli intelligence operation has been underway since Iran was designated the "top priority for 2005", according to security sources. Cross-border operations and signal intelligence from a base established by the Israelis in northern Iraq are said to have identified a number of Iranian uranium enrichment sites unknown to the the IAEA.

Since Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, "it has been understood that the lesson is, don't have one site, have 50 sites", a White House source said. If a military operation is approved, Israel will use air and ground forces against several nuclear targets in the hope of stalling Tehran's nuclear programme for years, according to Israeli military sources.

It is believed Israel would call on its top special forces brigade, Unit 262 - the equivalent of the SAS - and the F-15I strategic 69 Squadron, which can strike Iran and return to Israel without refuelling. "If we opt for the military strike," said a source, "it must be not less than 100% successful. It will resemble the destruction of the Egyptian air force in three hours in June 1967."

Aharon Zeevi Farkash, the Israeli military intelligence chief, stepped up the pressure on Iran this month when he warned Israel's parliament, the Knesset, that "if by the end of March the international community is unable to refer the Iranian issue to the United Nations security council, then we can say the international effort has run its course".

The March deadline set for military readiness also stems from fears that Iran is improving its own intelligence-gathering capability. In October it launched its first satellite, the Sinah-1, which was carried by a Russian space launcher. "The Iranians' space programme is a matter of deep concern to us," said an Israeli defence source. "If and when we launch an attack on several Iranian targets, the last thing we need is Iranian early warning received by satellite."

Russia last week signed an estimated $1 billion contract - its largest since 2000 - to sell Iran advanced Tor-M1 systems capable of destroying guided missiles and laser-guided bombs from aircraft. "Once the Iranians get the Tor-M1, it will make our life much more difficult," said an Israeli air force source. "The installation of this system can be relatively quick and we can't waste time on this one."

The date set for possible Israeli strikes on Iran also coincides with Israel's general election on March 28, prompting speculation that Sharon may be sabre-rattling for votes. Benjamin Netanyahu, the frontrunner to lead Likud into the elections, said that if Sharon did not act against Iran, "then when I form the new Israeli government, we'll do what we did in the past against Saddam's reactor, which gave us 20 years of tranquillity".

The Iranians seem determined to push the world toward more war in the Middle East. They believe that it is their destiny, foreordained by Allah, to impose Islam on the entire world and that it is their divinely mandated duty to begin this process by exterminating Israel. The Israelis see this clearly, even if many in the West do not or are indifferent to the threat, and they refuse to place their future existence in the hands of those who care so little about it.

It is frightening to think what forces might be unleashed by an Israeli strike against Iran, but it is far more frightening to think what could happen were the chief sponsors of Islamic terrorism around the world to begin producing nuclear weapons.