Friday, July 19, 2002

Learning to hate blogger...

All right, I give up. Eaten posts, unable to publish, broken archives, crashes. These describe my experience with Blogger. Please understand, I'm a software engineer, and I know how hard it can be to write good software quickly and affordably. However, this is unacceptable. I'm going to go silent for a while, and write my own publishing software, and when I'm done, I'll start posting again on another site. I'll keep this open until that time, but nothing new will be coming. Hasta la vista.

Friday, July 12, 2002

More on Iran
John Weidner is organizing a post-fest on Iran, and as I've written about Iran a few times, I thought I would join in. The following is a statement from NZ Bear:

AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY

To show our support for the Iranian people, we each have agreed to display this letter, in English and in Farsi, on our pages from sunrise to sunset today, Tehran time.

We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.

What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.

Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:

- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties

- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny

We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.

And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.

And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come.


Wednesday, July 10, 2002

More signs of collapse in the Middle East

A prominent Iranian cleric has resigned. In an open letter announcing his resignation, he blasts the theocratic thugocracy for its many sins, including

suffering from a severe mismanagement, deception, corruption, bribery, rising unemployment and inflation, growing drug consumption

He also goes after the regime for it's permissive behavior towards reactionaries.

In a clear reference to the hard-line vigilantes who very often disrupt the political gatherings of the reformists, including the interruption sometimes of his own sermons, Taheri talked of "lackeys and fascists" whom he branded as a "mixture of ignorance and madness," having their "umbilical cord" connected to the "centers of power." They, he said, are completely uncontrolled and beyond the law.

This cleric, the Ayatollah Taheri, is no light-weight either. He crops up in many news stories from Iran, and has been a mover and shaker for 30 years. Check out any of the following if you are interested...


http...

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Or, look him up on Google.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

As Israeli action I cannot defend

The Israeli cabinet wants to prevent Israeli Arabs from living in various parts of Israel. This is a terrible idea. The Israelis cannot treat their Arab citizens like this, and still be considered a modern democratic nation. No one should be relegated to second class status on the basis of their parentage. I just hope the Israeli Supreme Court disallows this. The Court is usually leftist and dovish, so I think they probably will.

Monday, July 08, 2002

There may be more to that term than I thought...

In the post below I made a silly play on words, calling Islamic suicide attackers "Muslimplosions". Little did I know that the term would become even more apt after just a few days. I thought the term captured nicely both what happens to the Islamikazis, and what happens to their Islamist cause each time one of these fanatics propels himself into the hereafter.

Over the holiday weekend, I first saw this article that broadly describes a report from the UN on the political, cultural, and economic decline that is endemic to Arab nations. More evidence of the continuing Muslimplosion.

Now, in today's NRO, there is an article from Michael Ledeen on the ongoing disintegration of the theocratic thugs in Iran. Great news, no matter what comes after. More Muslimplosions to come.

Now is the time for the US to push, just enough, and in just the right places. Encourage the Iranian democracy movements; isolate the theocrats in Saudi Arabia by pulling out the rest of our troops, and move them to Oman and Kuwait; flatten the thugs in Baghdad, and then tell Syria that they're next.

Things seem quiet in our war against the Islamists, but there is an opportunity here for us to gain momentum with almost no risk. A statement of support from Powell, Rumsfeld, or Bush could encourage the reform movements in Iran, although I doubt it would be enough to tip over that horrible regime, it would be a step in the right direction. The idiots in the State department need to understand that although the Iranian regime hates us, most of the Iranian people look upon us much more favorably. We can bolster that pro-US factions by verbally siding with them against the thuggish mullahs.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

This is a news story?

OK, Blogger ate my first attempt to post on this, so I'll write a shorter post. This San Jose Mercury News story is lame. It is so full of typical environmentalist-leftist buffoonery that it beggars reason. I'll only take issue with one point here.

The SJMN story uncritically quotes eco-activists, and never even aknowledges that there is a huge assuption here. Is reducing "greenhouse gases" a desireable goal? No one, not anywhere, can prove that global climate change is influenced by C02 or other "greenhouse gases". Anyone who claims otherwise is flat-out lying. Temperatures have increased by ~.5 degrees in the last 100 years, but most of that was before 1940, and thus before most of the CO2 increase. Spending uncounted billions trying to diminish CO2, when it may or may not have any effect on temperatures, is patently foolish.

You really should read this

Dinesh D'Souza has a good 4th of July column here that I truly enjoyed reading.

I often disagree with D'Souza, but this piece is worth reading.

WTF????

Why are my archives gone? Why is there a script error in the published page but not in my template?

Why did I ever get involved with these cursed machines?

Happy Birthday

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to the civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us; For protecting them by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every state of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace, friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance, to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

North Carolina:, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Many Thanks

You're welcome.

Do not give up, do not give in, and do not give an inch to the Islamists. We are on the right side of both history and morality.
.

Corporate Corruption in Political Congress

Let's play a simple game. What do Enron, Arthur Anderson, ImClone, WorldCom, and Vivendi all have in common, besides the obvious reduction to penury?

Each was decimated by corrupt business practices. +1 for getting that

Each is a rapacious capitalist corporation. -1 for that. Keep trying.

Each is a rapacious American corporation. -2 for that. You're hopeless.

Each operates in some of the most highly regulated business environments on the planet. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Why is it that far-reaching and rampant corruption seems to occur in those companies and industries that are most closely watched by various governments? After all, Enron is in the energy business, which is hyper-regulated. Arthur Anderson's accounting business is highly regulated, with the arcane rules and licensing practices mandated by the government. ImClone is a drug company, whose very existence was subject to the whim of the FDA. WorldCom is a telecom company, which are severely regulated, let me tell you. I'm a veteran of that business, and you can't fart without a government bureaucrat's say-so.

Then, we come to Vivendi. The latest greatest collapse. But what industry are they in that is highly regulated? For Vivendi it is not the industry, it is their origin. They are not a US company, they are a French company. They operate under one of the most stringent regulatory systems in the developed world.

So why is it that all of this government oversight failed to prevent this kind of thing? And why is it that companies in less regulated industries, such as Xerox, make accounting "errors", fix them, and go on about their business without collapsing?

The answer is easy. Corporate avarice corrupts government. Government avarice corrupts business. We need to stop trying to use the government to regulate, and instead use the market to moderate. How long would Arthur Anderson or Enron have gotten away with their shenanigans without a bevy of government regulators to prop them up? We need corporate transparency, simplified taxation, and strict enforcement of contract law. With those, the market would have been able to correct Enron or Arthur Anderson, without the financial disasters that we have now.

Regulation breeds corruption.

Missing the point

This article from UPI takes a look at the effectivity of suicide bombing by the Palestinians. There is the usual covey of supposed experts making statements like this:


"The suicide bombing campaign has clearly thrown Israel into disarray. It has demoralized its population and has severely damaged Israel's economy," said Gal Luft, a former lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces.

Luft described the suicide bomb as "the poor-man's smart bomb," and said using it had enabled the Palestinians to move some way toward alleviating the huge military disparity between them and the Israeli army -- widely believed to be one of the most effective military machines on the planet.

"It's the only way the Palestinian Authority can attempt to counter Israel's vastly superior fighting ability and military might," Luft said.


And from another supposed expert:

Former CIA official and Middle East expert Stan Bedlington agreed, calling the wave of suicide bombings extremely effective. "Israel's economy has been severely damaged, and its tourism industry has simply collapsed," he said.

The effects on popular morale are everywhere, said Bedlington. "If you read a lot of Israel's daily press, you hear of empty shopping malls, stores and shops boarded up, deserted streets at night."


These are supposed to be smart people, so maybe they were quoted out of context. Or, they simply might have no idea what they are talking about. Terrorism is a political weapon, not a military one. The goals of terrorism are political ones, and therefore strategic ones. Tactically speaking, Islamakazis might be efficient at murdering Israelis, and if that is their only goal, it is effective.

On the other hand, the Palestinians have strategic political goals that are being destroyed by the Blastafarians. How much outrage have we heard from the appeasers of Europe lately, with Israeli forces recapturing portions of the PA areas? How much bad press has it generated here in the states? The answer to both questions is, almost none, and none at all from anyone who might be listened to.

The Mulsimplosions are destroying the pretense of moral authority that the Palestinians try to flaunt, so now no one cares what the Israelis do to them. So how effective are "human smart bombs" when it comes to achieving political goals? Or, more accurately, how detrimental are they?

Of course, the mainstream media being what it is, they have to sum up with some statements that coincide with their own delusions:

The April Israeli invasion has only "bred more hatred among the Palestinians and that will produce more suicide bombers."

According to U.S. officials, on June 16, Israel began work on construction of a "separation fence" using barriers, sensors, roads and aerial patrols to try and prevent suicide bombing infiltration. Israel has also broken up the West Bank into eight security zones comprising 120 army checkpoints and 220 military enclaves.

Not only will these measures not work, said Luft, "they act to increase the prestige of the suicide bombers, which already enjoy "heroic stature." His answer? "Hard bargaining. Use carrots to obtain a declaration renunciation of suicide attacks from the Palestinians in exchange for removal of a number of Israeli settlements," he said.


Now I see it! Trade real land, real homes, and real lives for more empty words. That has worked so well up to now.