Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Do, or do not. There is no 'try'. - Yoda

Monday, June 30, 2003

Hard Times at the ICC
by Lee

One topic I’ve blogged on numerous times is the ridiculous International Criminal Court, which is less a court of justice and more a way for small European nations to politically restrain US power with bullshit charges.  Well, Bush is playing hardball with nations to get them to sign exemptions for US troops.

The Bush administration, intent on exempting U.S. citizens from prosecution by the International Criminal Court, is drawing fresh accusations of diplomatic heavy-handedness by threatening to cut off military aid to dozens of allies that refuse to sign immunity deals with the United States.

A deadline for cooperation expired at midnight, freezing money not yet spent this year by about 35 countries and putting the countries on notice that they could be denied millions for military equipment and training programs in the next budget year if they do not comply with U.S. wishes.

This isn’t the first time Bush has shown his resolve to get these exemptions.

The Bush administration withdrew its signature last year from the treaty that created the court—ratified by more than 90 countries—and embarked on a vast diplomatic campaign to persuade nearly 180 countries to sign the immunity pledges. U.S. officials argued that Americans need protection from politically motivated prosecutions at the court, which opened for business July 1, 2002.

To press its point, the Bush administration threatened to shut down U.N. peacekeeping missions worldwide until the United Nations provided immunity to Americans. The Security Council granted the demand, then extended it for another year June 12. Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized the resolution. France, Germany and Syria abstained, contending that the exemption weakens the court.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday that the immunity agreements “will be a significant and pressing matter in our relations with every state.” As for the countries that have not signed agreements and receive U.S. military aid, Boucher said, officials will evaluate programs and decide whether they are “sufficiently important to our interests” for Bush to grant a waiver.

Basically the world (and the UN) expect the United States to be the world’s policeman, and for it to fund quite a substantial bit of the western world’s military operations.  Fair enough—we’re the sole remaining superpower, and with that comes certain responsibilities.  But these same people who expect us to take on these responsibilities then want to have full and total oversight over the way we carry them out.  Bush is absolutely right to let the rest of the world know that our innovation, manpower, and treasure do not come without strings attached.  Clinton had absolutely no problem signing the US up for this piece of shit treaty, but that’s yet another example of the difference between Bush and Clinton, isn’t it?

Posted by Lee on 06/30/03 at 06:24 PM in Europe and the UK  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Finding Pundo
by Lee

Instapundit has gone on vacation, and left a picture of himself scuba diving.  A number of bloggers have begun Photoshopping the image.  Here’s my contribution.

image

Click on the image for a larger version.  We ought to get a pool going to see how long it takes me to get a cease-and-desist email from Disney’s legal department.

Posted by Lee on 06/30/03 at 02:57 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Dennis and Bush
by Lee

Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Janeane Garofalo, and the rest of the Hollywood asshat crowd like to think that they’re taking huge career chances by being political.  You want to know what takes balls in Hollywood?  Stumping for a hated Republican president.  Dennis Miller must have a huge set of brass ones.

A new voice has emerged in the re-election campaign of President Bush, that of Dennis Miller, who is gaining a reputation as a conservative comic by attacking Democrats with biting humor.

Miller flew on Air Force One from San Francisco to Los Angeles with the president on Friday, and later gave a stand-up routine at a Bush fund-raiser in Los Angeles.

I’ve been a huge fan of Dennis Miller’s for years.  When I lived in LA I had a buddy who worked for HBO who used to get me front row tickets to tapings of Dennis Miller Live, so I got to briefly meet him a couple of times.  I don’t think that Miller has been much of a conservative in the past, but like many in this country he’s seen the way the left has reacted since 9/11 and has thrown his lot in with Bush.  I’d be willing to bet that his politics are in like with mine and a lot of readers of this blog, a mixture of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism.  And you can’t help but love jokes like this:

[Miller] took aim at West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, a Democratic elder statesmen who has questioned the Iraq war and its chaotic aftermath.

Even some in the crowd of Republican loyalists booed when Miller said of Byrd: “I think he must be burning the cross at both ends.”

Responding to the boos, Miller said: “Well, he was in the (Ku Klux) Klan. Boo me, but he was in the Klan.”

I hope he speaks at the GOP convention.

Posted by Lee on 06/30/03 at 02:01 PM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Unintended Consequences
by Lee

I’m taking so much delight in this rainforest/soybean connection that I want to explain it in as plain an English as possible, to make sure that even the stupidest leftie can understand how the Law of Unintended Consequences works.

  1. Brazil has been deforesting its rainforest for years, in many cases to provide land on which to raise cattle for export to western markets.
  2. Western liberals, eco-anarchists, and other environmentalist nutbags begin a campaign in the west to bring attention to the rainforest.  Large sums of money are raised (still, to this day) by Sting and other entertainers.
  3. After years of efforts it seems that they have made progress and the rate to deforestation is decreasing.
  4. As part of an overall “think globally/act locally” strategy, many people eschew the eating of meat in favor of tofu, a product made from soybeans.  Europe, which has a large Green movement, is a hotbed of conversion from consumerist to ecologically friendly lifestyles, like veganism or vegetarianism.  This movement spreads to all corners of the globe, including the US.
  5. Eating tofu and other soy products such as soy milk starts to enter the mainstream.  Demand for soy crop rises significantly.
  6. The United States sees the potential of the soybean market.  Being not only a free market capitalist powerhouse, it also possess the finest biotechnology industry in the world, and genetically modifies its soybeans to produce a superior product with a greater yield.
  7. The very European Green movement which was at the forefront of the consciousness-raising leading to the soybean explosion is also at the forefront of the ridiculous frankenfood junk science hysteria regarding GM food.  Popular sentiment in Europe reflects the word of these lunatics, and their nations pass all sorts of regulations against GM foods, including US soybeans.  US soybeans are therefore not able to fill the demands of Europe and other parts of the world.
  8. Brazil, being a capitalist nation, sees the problem.  The Euroweenie environmentalist lunatics want “natural” soybeans.  Brazil also sees the solution, which is to grow them the way the Euroweenies want.
  9. To carry out their plans they begin deforestation of the rain forest to create land on which to farm soybeans.  Meanwhile, in America, perfectly edible—nay, superior!—GM soybeans are eaten by people without a problem.

Note to European environmentalists:  When you create a market for a product like soybeans, someone is going to rise up to supply that market.  In this case it was the United States, who not only supplied the market but in the process created a superior GM soybean product.  You have chosen, however, to rely on voodoo, tea leaves, and modern techno-superstitions, all of which tell you that GM foods are icky and bad; thus Europe banned the use or sale of US soybean products in your countries.  Fair enough.  But, since Europe can’t meet its own demand for soybeans (yaay, socialism!) Brazil has stepped up to the plate to make sure that you can slurp down all the delicious tofu you like.  The unfortunate issue is, that to do so, Brazil is clear-cutting the rainforest.

And that, my left-wing friends, is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/03 at 11:21 PM in Europe and the UK  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Even More Poetic Justice
by Lee

On Friday I blogged on how the vegans and vegetarians of the world have created such a demand for soybeans that Brazilian farmers are actually cutting down the rainforest to meet the demand.  Well, gentle reader, if you think that little nugget couldn’t get any sweeter, you would be mistaken.  Blogger Silent Running makes a brilliant observation.  Apparently Europe, with it’s asinine aversion to any GM food, is the main reason that Brazil is rising to meet this demand.  So it is that very European brand of ridiculous environmentalist asshattery, which eschews anything touched by a US biotech firm—such as US soybeans—that is causing Brazil to cut down the rain forest.

How wonderfully, ironically appropriate.

Posted by Lee on 06/29/03 at 08:50 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Europe, Haven of Wogs
by Lee

This is a subject I have been blogging on for quite some time. (See here, here, and here for some recent comments.) Europe’s irrelevency has been predicted by numerous people in the worlds of academe, punditry, and blogging.  (See this Mark Steyn column.) Now a NY Times article lays it all out for the world to see.

One study by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, predicts that the median age in the United States in 2050 will be 35.4, only a very slight increase from what it is now. In Europe, by contrast, it is expected to rise to 52.3 from 37.7.

The likely meaning of this “stunning difference,” as the British weekly The Economist called the growing demographic disparity between Europe and the United States, is that American power—economic and military—will continue to grow relative to Europe’s, which will also decline in comparison with other parts of the world like China, India and Latin America.

With its population not only aging but shrinking as well, Europe seems to face two broad possibilities: either it will have to make up the population shortfall by substantial increases in immigration, which would almost surely create new political tensions in countries where anti-immigrant parties have gained strength in recent years, or it will have to accept being older and smaller and therefore, as some have been warning, less influential in world affairs.

“The European countries are aging in a world that is becoming younger,” Mr. Frey said in a telephone interview. “And in a global economy, they’re not going to share in the energy and vitality that comes with a younger population.

I can see the new EU parliament meeting, “My friends, we have grave choices to make. If we want to keep up our cradle-to-grave welfare programs we’re going to have to import wogs* to work and make taxes.  Now we all know that nobody wants these smelly wogs ruining our sophisticated cultures—look at what Americanization has done to us all—but we simply are not fucking our wives enough to produce enough Europeans to meet our own demand.  The problem with wogs, you see, is that wogs aren’t European.  To put it as bluntly as I can… they’re wogs.  As much as w need them we simply cannot allow the wogs in.  They will breed like rats and will take over from within.

“So, one option is to cut benefits for those receiving a social pension.  But we can’t do that because the people would revolt in the streets.  Every industry would be on general strike within a matter of weeks.  Not to mention that by cutting welfare benefits for pensioners we are carving the middle out of our own slice of the welfare souffle, and that, too, is not acceptable.

“Then there is the matter of world irrelevance, which the Yanks like to throw in our faces.  But here are the current facts.  We all see the EU as being a counter to the American hegemony in military and diplomatic affairs.  In order to do so we have to drastically increase our military spending.  We’ll need massive government subsidies to our best contractors to develop our own weapons systems.  The amount of this spending is going to be outrageous. 

“Not to mention, who will staff such an army?  Who in our military, apart from the British, has any real command military experience?  Not many.  So we promote those with experience to command roles.  Who will fill the enlisted ranks?  With our median age being 52 years of age, where are going to get the legions of young men and women necessary to build a mighty military?

“Again, we go back to the wogs.  But wogs are not the only answer—oh how I wish they were.  We have an aging population, a third-rate military, with the exception of Britain, a cradle-to-grade welfare state that sucks up a huge chunk of GDP, no ability to cut benefits without starting a continent-wide general strike, and nobody to fill junior military and worker roles but as bunch of filthy, stinking wogs that we import from God knows where.

“Gentlemen, this is a situation we need to fix right now.  Our global irrelevancy is there as plain as the words on this page.  America has beaten us, my friends, and they did it without ever firing a shot.”

*WOGS n. derog. acr. Originally an acronym used in the Middle East by colonial forces to identify those who were employed in the service of the government, i.e. Workers On Government Service, but has now become a derogatory term for anyone foreign to British shores or in some cases to anyone “non-white” regardless of their country of birth or nationality.  UK

Posted by Lee on 06/29/03 at 12:05 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Encouraging Crime
by Lee

I can’t, however, resist this one.  San Francisco has a serious problem understanding cause and effect.  When they enact a program that gives almost $400/month to any smelly, diseased wino who asks for it, the city is shocked when they develop one of the worst homeless problems in the country.  Similarly, when rioters decide to shut the streets down during whatever the protest du jour happens to be, the district attorney continually decided not to press any criminal charges.

In a surprise move, District Attorney Terence Hallinan dropped charges Friday against more than 400 anti-war protesters arrested in San Francisco after the Iraq war began.

The dismissals came just one week after prosecutors had refiled the cases to keep them from being dropped. Prosecutors said Friday that the Police Department had given them nothing to go on to secure convictions against the demonstrators, who were among 2,300 people arrested during more than four days of protests that tied up much of downtown San Francisco.

The cops blame the prosecutors, the prosecutors blame the cops, and the DA doesn’t have the balls to prosecute, anyway.  So, what is the result of these decisions?  Every anarchist left-wing asshat knows that if he wants to come to a town, riot, break windows, vandalize a Starbucks, and tip over a police car, San Francisco is the place to do it, because ain’t nobody gonna do nothin’ to him.

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

Posted by Lee on 06/28/03 at 07:45 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Quick One
by Lee

Hi gang.  Well, I am out of the hospital, and for the next four days or so I will be waited on hand and foot by my kindly aunt and uncle, who have volunteered for the job.  I’m lying in bed, I’ve just taken a handful of yummy yummy painkillers, and I think I might have a bit of a snooze. 

Thanks, again, for all your email and well-wishes, it’s been quite inspiring. The surgery has been a complete success so far, and I have to go visit my doctor on Wednesday for a follow-up.

My sleep schedule is completely screwed, so blogging will return sometime in the next few hours, I imagine.

Posted by Lee on 06/28/03 at 07:35 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, June 27, 2003

The Finger
by Lee

Jim puts forth a challenge to the RIAA. 

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 09:21 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Status Report
by Lee

A number of you have written for a status report, so rather than respond individually I’ll pop up a post.  I’m still in the hospital.  I’m still on the drugs.  And I am fucking SWELTERING in the heat wave the Bay Area has been experiencing. 

The doctor came in right as I was in the middle of typing the above paragraph and told me that I’d be going home tomorrow.  I’m going to be staying with my aunt and uncle, who live up farther north of here, for three or four days.  But the blogging will continue, never fear. :)

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 07:30 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Potholes in the Road Map
by Lee

Condi Rice is on her way to the Middle East, and it looks like a deal may have been reached before she even gets there.

Israel and the Palestinians reached a disengagement deal in the Gaza Strip and Hamas said it decided to suspend attacks on Israelis—dramatic moves driven by U.S. pressure to bolster a Middle East peace “road map.”

The deal on an Israeli troop pullback in Gaza was announced before Saturday’s visit to the region by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice as Israel and the Palestinians jockeyed for pride of place in pushing forward the U.S.-backed peace plan.

But this column by Jim Reed has an interesting take on the issues, pointing out a lesson from history that we need pay heed to.

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 07:13 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (4) TrackbacksPermalink

The Final Nail
by Lee

Remember America’s Sweetheart Rachel Corrie, who went and supported Palestinian terrorists by throwing herself in front of bulldozers?  Well, an Israeli military tribunal has exonerated the soldiers implicated in her death.

Israel’s military prosecutor has exonerated Israeli soldiers in the death of an American peace activist, who was crushed to death by an army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, the army said Thursday.

Rachel Corrie, 23, of Olympia, Wash., died March 16 trying to block the demolition of the house of a doctor in the Rafah refugee camp by standing in front of the bulldozer. The army said the home was being destroyed in an effort to block arms smuggling.

Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in a bloody 33-month conflict. The Rafah camp, on the Egyptian border, has been one of the flashpoints.

So, America-hating asshats can go into warzones to provide aid and comfort to terrorists, and suffer the consequences of doing so.  This is going to drive the loony left nuts.  I can’t wait. 

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 04:43 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Poetic Justice
by Lee

If ever there has been a clearer example of the Law of Unintended Consequences manifesting itself I would love to see it.  Environmentalist groups are shocked to find that the rainforest is still being destroyed.

he deforestation rate in Brazil’s Amazon, the world’s largest jungle, has jumped 40 percent, sparking alarm on Thursday among environmentalists and a promise by the government to launch emergency measures. 

“This is shocking,” said Mario Monzoni, a project coordinator for Friends of the Earth group in Brazil. “The rate of deforestation should be falling, instead the opposite is happening.”

But what was truly horrific was to find out the cause.

Most of the deforestation takes place due to burning and logging to create farms, and the jump in 2002 suggests soy farming is growing rapidly in the area

Brazil is expected to overtake U.S. soy production in a few years, making it the world’s No. 1 producer of a crop that offers large profits for farmers and gives a sizable boost to Brazil’s trade accounts. 

“It was a long, dry season, but the deforestation figures are at least 30 or 40 percent higher than historical trends,” said David Cleary, director of the Amazon program at the Nature Conservancy in Brazil. 

“It’s clear that the soy boom is an important element of this in the southern Amazon and if ways are not found to minimize the impact of the inevitable spread of soy farming, it is difficult to see these figures falling in coming years,” he said. [Emphasis added]

That’s right, you moonbat vegans and lunatic vegetarians!  Your diet choice is destroying the rainforest!  I wonder when we’ll see environmentalists protesting Big Soy.

(Link via The Corner.)

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 04:28 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

No Mas
by Lee

All telemarketers must die.  Since killing all of them would, unfortunately, be illegal, I’ll settle for the National Do Not Call Registry.

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 04:10 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Fun With Taxes
by Lee

Back on Feb. 13 I blogged on the flat tax, using Enron as an example.  My conclusion was

No matter what laws get passed, no matter how complex the taxcode becomes, corporations will always be able to beat the system. The only way to ensure that everyone pays their fair share is implement the flat tax.

Well, I was right.

More than 2,000 individuals with incomes of $200,000 or more paid zero in federal income taxes in the year 2000, according to a report released by the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday.

The report shows the percentage of tax filers with $200,000 or more in income that escaped all income tax liability was at its highest since 1994, but still remained a very small group.  The report was in the IRS “Statistics of Income” bulletin.

A separate IRS report showed the average income tax rate paid by the 400 tax filers with the highest incomes in 2000 was 22.29 percent, up from 22.23 percent in 1999 but below a recent peak of 29.35 percent in 1993.

The rich not paying their fair share by using loopholes and offshore accounts is an issue the geniuses in our government have addressed before.

The numbers may raise questions about the effectiveness of the so-called Alternative Minimum Tax, a method of calculating an individual’s tax liability aimed at ensuring wealthy people pay at least some income taxes.

The AMT was created in 1969 in response to worries some of the rich were managing to completely avoid taxes by using tax shelters. Then-Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr told Congress that 155 individuals with incomes of more than $200,000 paid no income taxes in 1966.

This just validates everything I have ever said about the flat tax.  The more complicated we make the tax code the more the super-rich and corporations will be able to hire the world’s best tax people to minimize or eliminate their tax burden.  As a taxpaying American, this pisses me off.  I don’t have any problems with the rich using the system to their advantage—if I was that wealthy I know I’d do the same thing.  But our government refuses to shitcan the entire system and implement the flat tax, the only true way to ensure that everyone pays their share.

Posted by Lee on 06/27/03 at 11:30 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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