Category Archives: Political Commentary

Another Way The Bush Administration Screwed Up

Here’s a post, just for those morons who continue to believe that I’m a Bush shill, or parrot Republican talking points:

…as a proud Briton, I am not prepared to be a client of the United States. The coalition of the willing was, in effect, a coalition of two. Of course Britain is the junior partner, but she is a partner, and not a low-level employee. What is special about the relationship for us? America gets a European partner, world class intel, nuclear subs, men, whole regions pacified and many millions of your taxpayer dollars saved.

What does Britain get? MFN trading status?

America is going to have to give something to this relationship, and I do not mean a standing ovation for the PM in Congress. We stand with you far more than any European ally, but receive no special treatment in dollars or in trade. Usually, we do not even receive respect.

Yes, Bush is incompetent, in many ways. But as Lincoln said of Grant, “he fights.” At least occasionally.

Governments in general are incompetent. But a Kerry administration would have been even worse. We always have to choose between the less evil of two lessers.

This Is Beyond Parody

Are the Dems really going to be so foolish as to put out a report titled “The Neo Con”? I just saw a crawl on cable indicating that they will.

Way to play to your nutty fringe base, and turn off the sensible electorate. I hope they do it.

[Update in the early afternoon]

Robert Goldberg, on the increasing (and increasingly hard to hide) anti-semitism of the left. And I think that, at this point, most of us know what “neocon” is code for.

The Real Reality-Based Community

“Hatewatch” over at Winds of Change has a nice roundup of links, including one called Idiotarian Seethings. Control-F twice on that phrase to get to the meat, though the whole thing is fun, as usual. I particularly liked this bit:

Early in July, NRO’s Jonah Goldberg did his part to entertain the right-wing blogosphere by tracking down this piece of comedy gold, wherein an ambitious DU denizen attempts to demonstrate that 9/11 was a conspiracy by failing to collapse steel rabbit fencing. The true entertainment only starts, as is often the case in these swamps, when other budding scientists attempt to explain why they too are moved by his demonstration. By all means, enjoy yourselves.

But there’s a serious point here for political discourse, one that often gets lost in the growing populism on both the left and the right: experts are good. Not everyone can do or know the things that they do. It’s not just that being an expert causes you to have the knowledge that you need to evaluate things within your field – it’s that immersion in a way of thinking that seems to be related to particular objects gets you in the habit of thinking a certain way. It’s why chess masters can ‘see’ a board and topologists can ‘see’ a knot. Not to be overly pedantic, but it seems like certain objects are easier to understand by thinking in certain ways. An expert has developed cognitive habits as well as broad knowledge. That why an amateur and an expert can know exactly the same amount of things and can be exactly as smart, and the expert might have insights that the amateur might never stumble into.

Of course, that’s beside the point in two ways. First, this guy isn’t an amateur in anything – he’s just an tool (click through if you want some entertainment). Second, however, this anti-expert populism (most often expressed in blog triumphalism) isn’t distributed evenly across the left and right of the political spectrum. To be more specific, when the right challenges ostensible experts, it seems that the people doing the challenging are actually better at the matter at hand than the people being challenged: Allahpundit and Dr. Shackleford are very, very good at Photoshop and that Reuters idiot is very, very not.

Meanwhile, on the left, we’ve got American Apparel checkout workers and Starbucks baristas going toe to toe with MIT architects on the weight that reinforced cross-sections can bear – a matchup hilarious but for the passion with which the checkout workers and baristas insist that they have an opinion that they’re entitled to. The urge to debunk the reasoning of experts is dangerous across the board, a seed that can blossom into full-blown anti-intellectualism. It just seems that when the right does it, they end up being right. And that’s a difference worth noting.

Of course, expect the usual idiotarian seethers in the comments section to seethe at this.

If They Take Away Our Guns

…how will we shoot the UN bureaucrats, who don’t believe in an individual right of self defense?

Will Franklin has some thoughts:

The report goes out of its way to clear up any silly confusion about self-defense for States, including totalitarian regimes, as somehow also applying to lowly individual human beings:

“Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations applies to the States acting in self-defence against armed attacks against their State sovereignty. It does not apply to situations of self-defence for individual persons.”

How ironic, that the preeminent human rights organization in the world, the UN, gives the full panoply of protections and immunities under international law to someone like Kim Jong-Il, whereas if you engage in self-defense you are ‘violating the rights of another.’ This goes to the heart of an entire belief system rampant in the world today that thinks that all violence is bad regardless of circumstances and context, and that the problems of violence are caused by weapons and not those that wield them.

Seeing The Light

The WaPo isn’t very impressed with the noble Joe Wilson:

…it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

Indeed.

No doubt the fever swampers on the left will see this as more evidence of the right-wing agenda of the paper…

[Update in the afternoon]

To use an old phrase, I find the timing suspicious, as does a commenter over at Roger Simon’s place (and Roger’s post on the mental state of the left is worth reading, too):

I wish that the WaPo editorial would not have been published on a Friday before a long, holiday weekend. I hope it was not an intentional attempt to bury the message.

Intentional or otherwise, it could certainly have that effect.

Here’s Your Analysis, Senator

Ted Stevens says that he was only (anonymously) holding up the bill until a cost/benefit analysis could be performed on it.

[Excuse me a minute]

[Sorry, give me another minute or so]

[Almost ready now…no, wait, another minute or two]

OK, sorry. Phew. Oh, gosh…man, my sides hurt.

I may have even moistened my pants.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right. So he wants a cost/benefit analysis? Here’s a cost/benefit analysis.

  • One set of redundant web servers and enough electricity to run them for a year: $10,000
  • One redundant T3 broadband connection per year: $30,000
  • Staff of ten to maintain web site and keep it updated for one year: $1.5 million
  • Exposing and killing a two-hundred-million-dollar “bridge to nowhere”? Priceless.

[Evening update]

Mark Tapscott has additional thoughts.

Here’s Your Analysis, Senator

Ted Stevens says that he was only (anonymously) holding up the bill until a cost/benefit analysis could be performed on it.

[Excuse me a minute]

[Sorry, give me another minute or so]

[Almost ready now…no, wait, another minute or two]

OK, sorry. Phew. Oh, gosh…man, my sides hurt.

I may have even moistened my pants.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right. So he wants a cost/benefit analysis? Here’s a cost/benefit analysis.

  • One set of redundant web servers and enough electricity to run them for a year: $10,000
  • One redundant T3 broadband connection per year: $30,000
  • Staff of ten to maintain web site and keep it updated for one year: $1.5 million
  • Exposing and killing a two-hundred-million-dollar “bridge to nowhere”? Priceless.

[Evening update]

Mark Tapscott has additional thoughts.