Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sorry Governor Dean your Kelo story is eminently without legs

Simply put Howard Dean's spin on the Kelo decision won't fly. It has no legs. None. The Kelo decision that expanded the powers of eminent domain "to expand the tax base" of a municipality by town fathers is a corporate liberal's dream. Kelo makes it easier to take the property of the powerless and deed it to another private party. The coalition of government planners and private developers is a threat to private property. This has long been the critique made by libertarian conservatives. Dean should know better. Patterico calls out the Governor.

Dean’s reference to the “right-wing� court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court’s liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.

"We think that eminent domain does not belong in the private sector. It is for public use only,� Dean said.

He really is destroying his party. Should we be Napoleonic and let him?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bravo for Debra Saunders writing from the bluest part of the bluest state

A powerful use of analogies.

Imagine, as I've written before, if anti-abortion terrorists began killing innocent civilians and said they would stop only if the government outlaws abortion. (After all, if terrorism wins for Islamic extremists, why shouldn't U.S. extremists adopt it?) The Left would not fault pro-abortion policies. The Left would not blame the government for legalizing abortion. The Left -- correctly -- would denounce the terrorists, the violence and any attempt to extort policy by threatening innocent lives.

Yet because the terrorists criticize the Bush and Blair policies, many leftists make excuses for the July 7 murders. These true believers have taken the old saw -- the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- to such an extreme that they have become apologists for homicidal zealots who, given power, would have little reservations about jailing them (or worse) for their gender, sexual practices or "infidel" status.


Friday, July 22, 2005

"Libraries: Courts of last resorts"

Great wisdom from the tennis great great Arthur Ashe ( 1943-1993) in the Beebe Library News, the e-mail newsletter of the Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield, MA.

Throughout my formal education I spent many, many hours in public and school libraries. Libraries became courts of last resort, as it were. The current definitive answer to almost any question can be found within the four walls of most libraries.

Following in the footsteps of John Stuart Mill:Perry de Havilland explains the meaning of tolerance for Moslems and everyone else

I'll sum this up by saying "Just can't we all just get along?" Perry de Havilland takes a swipe at multiculturalism's failure to create tolerant societies.

Endlessly blathering on about how "Islam is a religion of peace" or alternatively to call for expelling 'Muslims', simply because they are Muslims, is the sort of wilful blindness and one size fits all collectivism of a sort I would rather leave to socialists of both left and right. Anyone who values western liberal civilisation needs to think a little harder than that, avoiding both atavistic collectivism and a head-in-the-sand refusal to see we have a serious problem that will not go away on its own.

If what we are trying to defend is a pluralistic tolerant society, then we have to make sure that the message is not just "throw the wogs out!" but rather "You are welcome here if you are willing to assimilate to a sufficient degree."

But how does one define what that 'degree' is exactly? I am not talking a Norman Tebbit style "cricket test" but rather a willingness to tolerate 'otherness'. We do not need Muslims to approve of alcohol or women in short skirts or figurative art or bells or pork or pornography or homosexuality or (particularly) apostasy. We have no right to demand that at all and obviously not all Anglicans approve of some of those things, so why require that Muslims must? No, what we do have the right to demand (and that is not too strong a word) is that they tolerate those things, which is to say they will not countenance the use of force to oppose those things even though they disapprove of them. In fact it is not just Muslims from whom we must demand such tolerance.

If we can get them to agree to tolerate those things, then it does not matter if Muslim women wear burquas because as long as they are not subject to force, a woman may elect to say "Sod this for a game of soldiers!" and cast off that symbol of misogynistic repression... and if she does not do so, well that is her choice then... but she must have a choice. They do not have to look like us (I do not hear calls for Chinatown to be razed to the ground), they do not have to share our religion(s), or lack thereof, but they do have to tolerate our varied ways and if by their actions or words they show they do not, we have every right to regard them as our enemies and take action to defend ourselves.

For decades the supporters of multiculturalism have used tax money and government regulations to actively discourage assimilation of immigrants into the broader society, preferring to see communities develop which favour 'identity politics' better suited and more amenable to their own collectivist world views. And now we are paying the price for that. We will not be able to defend ourselves physically or preserve our liberal society unless we stop tolerating intolerance, and that includes not just fundamentalist Islam but also the anti-western bigotry of the multiculturalists.

Well said. Thanks to Instapundit for the tip.

The Anglosphere strikes back at the Iraqi root causers; Howard speaks

By way of National Review Online, Australian PM John Howard "bitch slaps" a clueless reporter:

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don't want to add to what the prime minister has said. It's a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Lying unemployment statistics?

Katherine Bradbury the senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, thinks that recent unemployment figures may be understating joblessness by 3 percentage points. Vodkapundit examines the argument and finds it attractive but inconclusive.

I haven't read Dr Bradbury's study, so I don't know if she's factored for the self-employed. More and more folks are working from home, and don't always show up as part of the Department of Labor's employment statistics. Surely, they account for some of the "slack." If Bradbury's lower figure is correct, then I'd guess that some large fraction of her slack figure is employed, just not in a way measured by the DoL. If Bradbury's bigger number is closer to the truth, then it's difficult not to conclude that our economy is not yet robust enough to employ everyone who wants to work.

"Our Titus Oates"

Michael Barone chips away at former ambassador Joe Wilson.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The U.N wants the U.S. to do its dirty or shall we say dirtier work

There is something unnerving about the fact that the United Nations can't handle a peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The Belmont Club raises an important question that pretty much tells the whole story about the UN's ineffectuality: Q: What's the worst thing you can do with a gun? A: Point it at someone when you have no intention to use it. The UN force on the ground in Haiti appears to have reached its limit in terms of getting the natives to fear and obey. That's a job for the U.S. but the internationalists are setting an precarious trap for the U.S.
Unable to deliver not because the peacekeeper's weapons are malfunctioning but because no one wants to take responsibility for using them. If America has any utility at all to transnational liberals it is as a garbage collector and checkwriter for all the dreams it peddles.

Youi know have an idea why the U.N. is useless in the Sudan and other hotspots. Read it here.

Stanley Crouch doesn't have much patience for the progressive who mock the founding fathers

Stanley Crouch casts his lot with Jefferson's ideas.

We should all be proud and happy to live in the United States because ours is a history of increasing human recognition. We are forever moving against our limits and being forced to face our shortcomings. We remain within the orbit of those American dreams, like sword points, that keep pushing us beyond what Mr. Jefferson and his boys thought, but which would not be possible without them.

Richard Epstein, a man who knows about takings, on Kelo

Epstein on the very disastrous Kelo decision.Worth reading.

The court could arrive at its shameful Kelo ruling only by refusing to look closely at past precedent and constitutional logic. Courts that refuse to see no evil and hear no evil are blind to the endemic risk of factional politics at all levels of government. And being blind, this bare Supreme Court majority has sustained a scandalous and cruel act for no public purpose at all.

Sorry Sir Geldof but you need to get a handle on the African poverty problem

In his piece for the Scotsman, "Nice concert. But can it really save millions from dying?" Gethin Chamberlain rains on the Live8 parade.

Cancelling the debts of 14 nations is a worthy gesture, but it will only be effective if linked to strict anti-corruption measures. Geldof says that Africa is not mired in corruption, but the evidence is against him. Doubling aid sounds good, but there is no evidence that it works. Hundreds of billions of pounds have been poured into Africa and it is poorer now than it has ever been. The money is mopped up by leaders who use it to place more distance between themselves and their own people. If they know they can rely on western cash to prop themselves up, why worry about making themselves accountable to the people?

But some people do not want to hear such arguments. When Ousmane Sembene - known as "the father of African cinema" - branded Make Poverty History and Live 8 as "fake", it went virtually unreported. "African heads of state who buy into that idea of aid are all liars," Sembene said. "The only way for us to come out of poverty is to work hard."

Self-interest is hard to overcome. What if the G8 leaders address the question of the trade barriers that prevent Africa competing in the world's markets? Will the French agree to put aside the interests of their farmers? Will Britain stop buying its bananas from its former Caribbean colonies and switch to African suppliers instead?

The entire article is mandatory reading for friends buying mindlessly into Live8 idealism.

Reporters are no equal to the founding fathers?

Powerline takes apart the pieties of the mainstream press when it comes to anonymous sources.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Corporate liberals are no friends of the poor

More on the Kelo decision. Remember the liberal bloc on the Supreme Court -- Breyer and Ginsberg -- is no friend of the working class. In the aftermath, libertarians are of more help.