Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Trouble for the Loftus-Batchelor axis

For years John Loftus of Fox News and ABC's John Batchelor have been peddling the story that Saddam sent his WMD to Syria for safekeeping. The final Dalfuer report released yesterday shreds that argument. Loftus has a lot of explaining to do. But what he says isn't enough. He'll have to build upon this thin reed

Administration officials have emphasized that, while the survey group uncovered no banned arms, it concluded that Hussein had not given up the goal of someday acquiring them.

The Dalfuer report is available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/duelfer/index.html.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tom Mountain lays the blame at Barney Frank's doorstep.

Writing in the Newton Tab, right in the tip of Barney Frank's district, Tom Mountain, citing Gerard Posner, says the Congressman's hyperliberal immigration policies are one reason the U.S. government's hands were tied pre 9/11.

Here's what Posner writes according to Tom Mountain.

"Congressman Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was a strong advocate of protecting civil liberties, led a successful effort to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act so that membership in a terrorist group was no longer sufficient to deny a visa.

"Under Frank's amendment, which seems unthinkable post 9/11, a visa could only be denied if the government could prove that the applicant had committed an act of terrorism. Rendered toothless by the Frank amendment, the Reagan administration had virtually no way to block entry visas even when there was information linking the individuals to terrorist groups."

We await a response for the ever glib Barney Frank.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Maybe Morrissey Blvd ought to put out a Spanish edition of their boring broadsheet

Fewer people are reading the newspapers. But it appears that fewer in Boston are reading New England's largest daily. The fact that the Globe bought a slice of the Metro recently is a sign of desperation, a quest for the elusive young reader. In the meantime, if they truly believe their rationale for fewer readers then maybe they should put out a Spanish.

Executives attributed the circulation decreases in Boston and in the New York area to weather problems during Q1, changing demographics -- an influx of immigrants -- and the shunning of traditional papers by a younger generation.
Yes blaming immigrants for readership shortfalls. Not quite a hate crime but a lame excuse for losing quality readers. It appears the blogosphere is having an impact.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Can we find a copy of the Wealth in Nations in Italian for the next pope?

Tradesports shows that bidders are willing to pay top price to bet that the next pope is an Italian.

William Rees-Mogg thinks the next Bishop of Rome ought to revisit Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A reply to Robert Locke from a libertarian

Libertarian John Coleman, writing in Liberty, tries to set paleocon Robert Locke straight. Locke recently called libertarianism, "Marxism of the Right." Coleman thinks Locke's reasoning deficient.
Locke's fundamental flaw in attacking what he defined as libertarianism lay in his understanding of both Marxism and libertarianism. One is an ideology, the other an anti-ideology. The distinction can be seen in analyzing the definition of ideology laid out in Peter Lawler's more thoughtful criticism of libertarianism and materialism, "Communism Today": "The name rightly given to specifically modern lies is ideologies. An ideology is a form of popular science, and so not a form of real science. It is a comprehensive and easy to understand account of all that exists. Ideologies are dogmas that fill the vacuum created by the discrediting of religious dogma . . .
[They] are never personal; we aren't controlled by persons but forces รข€” such as history or material forces or the economy or technology. . . [They] make us all seem more soulless and less truly free than we really are."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bartlett abandons the "starve the beast" approach to smaller government; VAT away

The eminently sensible Bruce Bartlett makes the case for a value-added-tax (VAT). Here's a question: To get a VAT what tax will be sunset? Will it be the income tax? Or will VAT just be another add on?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Noonan warns the Republicans on the ascendancy of Hillary

Hillary is clearly repositioning herself. Deep down she understands the zig and zag of American politics. Peggy Noonan sketches out the fortunes of Hillary in 2008

Republicans--I have been among many--are now in the stage of the Hillary Conversation in which they are beginning to grouse about those who keep warning that Mrs. Clinton will be a formidable candidate for president in 2008. She won't be so tough, they say. America will never elect a woman like her, with such a sketchy history--financial scandals, political pardons, the whole mess that took place between 1980 and 2000.

I tell them they are wrong. First, it is good to be concerned about Mrs. Clinton, for she is coming down the pike. It is pointless to be afraid, but good to be concerned. Why? Because we live in a more or less 50-50 nation; because Mrs. Clinton is smarter than her husband and has become a better campaigner on the ground; because her warmth and humor seem less oily; because she has struck out a new rhetorically (though not legislatively) moderate course; because you don't play every card right the way she's been playing every card right the past five years unless you have real talent; because unlike her husband she has found it possible to grow more emotionally mature; because the presidency is the bright sharp focus of everything she does each day; because she is not going to get seriously dinged in the 2008 primaries but will likely face challengers who make her look even more moderate and stable; and because in 2008 we will have millions of 18- to 24-year-old voters who have no memory of her as the harridan of the East Wing and the nutty professor of HillaryCare.

The Hillary those young adults remember will be the senator--chuckling with a throaty chuckle, bantering amiably with Lindsey Graham, maternal and moderate and strong. Add to that this: Half the MSM will be for her, and the other half will be afraid of the half that is for her. (You think journalists are afraid of the right? Journalists are afraid of each other.) And on top of all that, It's time for a woman. Almost every young woman in America, every tough old suburban momma, every unmarried urban high-heel-wearing, briefcase-toting corporate lawyer will be saying it. They'll be working for, rooting for, giving to the woman.
Read the whole thing.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ryan Sager at it again; cracking up fusionism

It will be a long time coming, but the great conservative-libertarian crackup is beginning to tear away at that time tested coalition envisioned by Frank Meyer years agao. Ryan Sager observes:

... there's where the big shift has occurred -- where the fusion's grown cold: While libertarians still believe in their half of this equation, many religious conservatives are shedding their skepticism when it comes to the state.

While some libertarian types may have been upset with President Reagan's deficits, he was at least singing from their hymn book: Government is the problem, not the solution. George W. Bush on the other hand has never even gone to the trouble of aping a small-government posture. Instead, Bush has adopted one of Reagan's other famous lines, sans irony: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.

This represents a fundamental shift in the direction of the Republican Party and a threat to its traditional alliances. The shift is self-evident. Instead of being the party that tries to rein in entitlement spending, the Republican Party is now the party of the $1.2 trillion Medicare prescription-drug benefit. Instead of being the party that is opposed to even having a federal Department of Education, the Republican Party is now the party of extensive intrusion into local schoolhouses by Washington, D.C. And instead of being the party of the rule of law and state's rights, the Republican Party is now the party of Congressional intervention into the thoroughly adjudicated medical decisions of an individual family.

Now, to be clear: What's most disturbing to libertarians about all of this is not that the shift in the traditional alignment will hurt the Republican Party at the polls -- at least in the short term. What's disturbing is just how powerful the idea of a "God-and-government" coalition could be.