Sunday, November 30, 2008

The environmental movement is trying to take over the world.

Yes, it is. In a proposal that can only make a sane human being exclaim, "Hell no!", the new idea is for an international environmental court that would punish nations that don't protect the environment enough:
Stephen Hockman QC is proposing a body similar to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be the supreme legal authority on issues regarding the environment.

The first role of the new body would be to enforce international agreements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions set to be agreed next year.

But the court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the "right to a healthy environment".
Short of appointing a global economic czar -- and giving him the powers of a Romanov Czar -- its hard to imagine a more profound transfer of sovereignity from nation-states to a global governing body. Unfortunately, the proposal gets worse (my emphasis):
As well as providing resolution between states, the court will also be useful for multinational businesses in ensuring environmental laws are kept to in every country.

The court would include a convention on the right to a healthy environment and provide a higher body for individuals or non-governmental organisations to protest against an environmental injustice.
The proposal not only wants to centralize sovereignity in a one-world governing body; it wants to give the radical, Marxist, eco-radical fringe an absolute veto over the global economy. Objectively speaking, this is totally insane.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's 2008. You can stop drinking the Clinton kool-aid now.

"The Washington Post" recently published an op-ed arguing that Bill Clinton should be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat if she becomes the new Secretary of State. The reason for this opinion is that Bill Clinton as a senator would be the coolest thing ever (embedded hyperlinks in original):
Doing so would spare the governor the agonizing dilemma of choosing from the 20 or so Democrats already named as contenders for the junior senator's seat. Those mentioned include six sitting members of the House of Representatives (three of each sex), Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Caroline Kennedy and her cousin Robert Kennedy Jr., Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (an African American), and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. (who is Hispanic). In this no-win competition, Paterson has to balance claims of gender, race, ethnicity and geography. He could wind up gaining one grateful ally while alienating not only all the losers but also millions of members of the disparate constituencies that each represents.

Hence the appeal of Bill Clinton. Who in his party could question so historic and dazzling a choice? In a stroke, the appointment would provide Sen. Clinton's indefatigable husband with a fitting day job, serve the interests of a state beset by a meltdown in its most vital economic sector and offer a refreshing reverse twist on a tradition whereby deceased male senators, representatives or governors are succeeded by their widows.
Anybody who can still think that giving the Clintons more power is "refreshing" obviously has kool-aid coming out of their ears and nose by now, although the argument that appointing Clinton to the post will keep the high-level idiots in the New York State government from fighting to the death does have a certain charm to it.

As anyone evenly faintly familiar with the Clinton's knows, the level of irrational enthusiasm that the authors of the op-ed are exhibiting can only mean that the article is a "trial balloon". The conspiracy theoretical interpretation is simple. Putting Bill Clinton into the Senate would give Hillary Clinton an ubshakable legislative ally for her time in the State Department. Perhaps more importantly, it would give Bill and Hillary a New York / DC alliance to contend with Obama's Illinois / Massachusetts alliance in 2012. A Senator Bill Clinton would presumably be able to swing a large chunk of the nation's mainstream media back into a Clintonian orbit in 2012.

The suspicion is that this is a blatant political "power play" to give Hillary Clinton a "shadow government" in preparation for 2012. The proposal, as abominable as it is, thus has a silver lining to it: any proposal that potentially allows me to experience Schadenfreude at Obama's expense can't be all bad.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some really boneheaded advice for the GOP

Armin Rosen has an article detailing five major things that the Republicans can do to become electoral victors again. Suffice it to say that there are some real problems with the list, mostly connected with the Libertarian assumptions behind the list points. Starting from the top and working our way down, the author's first of five bullet points is "oppose liberalism". He wrote (author's emphasis and embedded hyperlink):
-OPPOSE LIBERALISM: All of this talk about “the direction of conservatism” is bullshit (and yeah, I realize this is a post about “the direction of conservatism…”) . From Burke to Metternich to Gingrich, the onlyresponsibility [sic] of conservatism has been to provide a principled check on otherwise-unfettered social experimentation.
As it is, this is a good start to this list although we conservatives might have good reason to be wary. The author mostly uses it as an excuse to paper over the Libertarian/Conservative divide in the Republican party, but papering over ideological divides is, technically speaking, a potentially winning electoral strategy. Moving on, we come to point number two:
-DON’T GIVE UP ON SOCIAL CONSERVATISM. BUT DON’T EMPHASIZE IT EITHER: This is part and parcel of my first suggestion. The Rove-Palin divide-and-conquer strategy clearly isn’t a winner anymore, and conservatives really have nothing to gain from taking a hard-right stance on social issues. Then again, they have a lot to lose from giving up on them altogether. A “hate the sin, not the sinner” tack should win back to the social center that’s been voting blue in recent years: basically, conservatives should promote traditional values without championing measures that would punish those who don’t.
Here we see that the conservative's wariness is entirely justified. A Republican party that is terrified of taking a hard-Right stance is a Republican party that has conceeded control of politics to the liberals. Whatever stance we make now, no matter how moderate and reasonable and centrist it seems at the moment, will eventually become a hard-right stance as the liberals keep marching Left. It's just a matter of time.

The author's mistake is that assigning to conservatism the political role of holding the Left in check presupposes that the Left has an inherently legitimate political agenda. That's all fine and good, but what happens when the Left decides that principle, as such, needs to be eliminated from the nation's political institutions? What happens when the Left opposes conservative stances merely because any conservative stance at all is offensive to the Left?

Of course, this is all in theory. Maybe the American people were just waiting for same-sex marriage to be enacted before launching a new golden age of conservative governance as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately for the author's case, his points get a lot worse than this. The author's third point is a major blunder (author's embedded hyperlink):
-DUMP THE DRUG WAR: Need an issue that’ll win back the youth vote while moving conservatives in a simultaneously cautious and more progressive direction? Well, you’re welcome Michael Steele, ‘cuz this is a guaranteed winner.
This is just totally insane. Unrestrained drug abuse is probably the one agent of social change in existence that is even more powerful and destructive than liberalism (look up "China" and "opium" in Wikipedia if you get a chance). If conservatism is really a political movement acting as a check on unfettered change, then why in a million years would conservatives want to unleash drug abuse across the United States?

The author's fourth point is pure political fantasy:
Yeah, good luck with that. Finally, we have the author's point five:
-FOUND AN OPINION JOURNAL OTHER THAN THE NATIONAL REVIEW AND THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Both have gone from being quirky voices of reason in American political discourse to being unreadable party rags.
Yes, that's right. If 2008 has taught the Republican party anything, it is that the Republican party needs more mavericks!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Staring at a movie screen all of your life apparently can damage your brain.

Liberals don't want to destroy religion, they just want to make it "better".

George W. Bush had "compassionate conservatism". John McCain had "national greatness conservatism". Barack Obama has Obamianity:
The Charter for Compassion project on the Internet at springs from a "wish" granted this year to religious scholar Karen Armstrong at a premier Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in California.

"Tedizens" include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin along with other Internet icons as well as celebrities such as Forest Whittaker and Cameron Diaz.

Wishes granted at TED envision ways to better the world and come with a promise that Tedizens will lend their clout and capabilities to making them come true.

Armstrong's wish is to combine universal principles of respect and compassion into a charter based on a "golden rule" she believes is at the core of every major religion.
Yes, that's right, the cutting edge of religous thought in America is yet another attempt to launch a Christianity 2.0 without a pope, a St. Paul, or a Satan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

National service and propaganda

Michele Catalano wrote an article today defending Barack Obama's national service goals. Catalano's basic argument is that Obama just wants Americans to be nice to each other for once. For example, Catalano writes
There are thousands upon thousands of high school and college students, as well as adults, doing some form of community service right now. Service to your community is an altruistic thing; it is a way of perhaps giving back to a community that has given to you. It is a way to reach out to a community, to help others who may not be as fortunate as you, to teach young adults about sharing, caring, and helping others, to do something out of the goodness of your heart that will benefit your community. This is not slavery. This is not forced labor. This is outreach. It represents values. Slavery is an act that benefits no one but the person who owns the slave; community service benefits both the giver and receiver and helps make the world a better place and leaves a general good feeling for everyone involved. It is not comparable to slavery.
Well, yes, voluntary community service is most certainly of social benefit to a nation. The point that Catalano seems to overlook is that voluntary community service can also play a powerful political role in a nation as well. Purely as an illustration of my point, consider a small part of what Michael Burleigh has written about the Nazi charities in "The Third Reich: A New History":
The Nazis sought to rectify these failings [of the Weimar Republic's welfare system] by replacing faceless and obtuse bureaucracy with remoreseless activism, and by fusing charity and welfare. Calling the resulting arrangements an aberrant apotheosis of the welfare state, or a 'racial welfare state', does not quite do justice to the subtlety of Nazi arrangements. Mass voluntarism demonstrated the national commnuity in action, while enabling the government to divert public resources to ends other than welfare.
This isn't to suggest that Obama wants to create a Nazi-style welfare establishment. This is to suggest that charitable giving and voluntary community service, as such, is not a bad thing, but that government-sponsored charity and community service can be used as a propaganda tool by unscrupulous politicians. Catalano's own article betrays Obama's propaganda game in this regard. Catalano writes that:
Obama would encourage a goal of 50 hours of community service for high school students. That’s 50 hours over the course of a year, hours that could be spent cleaning up a park, reading to the elderly, working in a soup kitchen, assisting developmentally disabled children, delivering meals, collecting clothing for shelters, or working with local community programs like Kiwanis. There are myriad ways in which the youth of America can get involved with their surrounding communities, providing a give and take that benefits both the student and the community at large.
Notice the conception of community service as primarily labor-intensive instead of intellectual work. Community service is here conceived as sacrifice instead of "selfishness", labor-intensive work instead of intellectual work, and above all action instead of thought. These are the undeniable hallmarks of propaganda, and in Obama's case, I'm pretty sure this won't end up being conservative propaganda.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Political casualties of 2008, part II

Casualty #2: Public financing of presidential elections

This report really just says it all:
The Federal Election Commission is not likely to conduct a potentially embarrassing audit of Barack Obama’s record-breaking fundraising campaign despite allegations of questionable donations and accounting.

That’s the disclosure from, which reports that Obama will probably escape scrutiny in large part because unlike John McCain, he declined to accept $84 million in public financing.

Accepting that money automatically triggers an audit, meaning that the FEC is obligated to thoroughly audit the McCain campaign’s coffers, which will take months and cost McCain millions to defend.
Let's recap. John McCain, the honorable man, signs up for the inherently noble public financing system to obtain a corruption-free source of campaign cash for his presidential campaign. Therefore, every last penny that McCain spent in his campaign must be rigorously audited to prove that not even the slightest taint of corruption was attached to it. On the other hand, Barack Obama was more than willing to saw "screw you" to the entire system and raise gigatons of cash from anybody and everybody. Therefore, the system couldn't even less whether this was done fraudulently or illegally and won't even bother to investigate.

It is clear that the federal campaign financing system has totally failed. Barack Obama has escalated the two-party rivalry to a point beyond the ability of the current system to comprehend, much less regulate. At this point, simple political survival makes disengaging from the federal campaign financing system the sin qua non of a serious Republican presidential contender.

The only possible way to salvage the system is the Conservative position: remove unconstitutional restraints on political donations. The principle corruption problem in American campaign finance is not making sure that little old ladies and college students aren't giving too much to campaigns. It is fraudulent donations and donations from people who are not American citizens. The FEC will operate much more efficiently if it focuses on preventing electoral campaign crime instead of trying to police the public virtue.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Political casualties of 2008, part I

In a landslide vote, John McCain has been selected to succeed Bob Dole as the nation's next Viagra spokesman. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has received the consolation prize: to become the 44th president of the United States of America.

Instead of crying over spilled milk, it is the job of responsible Republicans to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it for 2012.

Casualty #1: McCain's Political Career

If the events of the 2008 campaign have proven anything, it is that John McCain has lost his grip on political reality. McCain's response to the collapse of the housing market was probably the single most inept political judgement that any presidential-level politician had made in a generation.

Simply put, the housing crash put McCain's conception of honor for a senator in conflict with his conception of honor as a presidential candidate. When the crisis hit and Henry Paulson began pushing for a major bailout, McCain reacted, as he thought an honorable senator should react, by suspending politics as usual and unifying with the president's plan. That's fine for a senator, but not fine for a presidential candidate. A presidential candidate has honor in his duty to the electorate to honorably assembling an electoral constituency to address problems.

McCain is openly contemptuous of this second possibility, of course, although McCain the presidential candidate has spent years successfully misleading the public into thinking that he was capable of both being an honorable senator and an honorable presidential candidate. With the warm glow of mainstream media approbation that he enjoyed during the second Bush's presidency, it seemed like he wouldn't have any problems maintaining appearances or escaping the consequences. In 2008, the housing crisis finally forced McCain to make the tough decision without the mainstream media's safety net, and suffice it say that McCain totally bungled it.

Update: Donald Luskin points out that the "Wall Street Journal"'s editorial page makes the same point in a defense of Sarah Palin:
We are asked to believe that Mrs. Palin was not ready for a national campaign. On what evidence from any part of this election are we to conclude that anyone on the McCain campaign team was ready for a national campaign? ...Let's remember too that the only time Mr. McCain surged ahead -- in the polls, in the volunteers, in the mojo -- was when he picked Mrs. Palin. Before that he and his staff had been flying solo, and they were losing. When the contest returned to the top of the ticket, as presidential campaigns inevitably do, Mr. McCain and his team drove their lead into the ground.

It wasn't Mrs. Palin who dramatically flew to Washington promising a legislative answer to the most important economic issue of our day -- and then, in the words of a New York Times campaign profile, "came off more like a stymied bystander than a leader who could make a difference."

Monday, November 03, 2008

A totally irresponsible conspiracy theory

There is a ninety-nine percent chance that this conspiracy theory is absolutely wrong, but I just can't shake that one percent chance that it might be true.

2008 saw the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series for the first time since 1980. 2008 also saw Pennsylvania become the key battleground state which might decide the fate of the 2008 presidential election.

What if this is not a coincidence? What if the Phillies winning the World Series is a sign that McCain is going to win Pennsylvania (and the election)?

This kind of thing has happened before. And the Phillies winning the World Series is considered to have theological implications by true Phillies fans.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Yet another reason why Pennsylvanians would have to be total idiots to vote for Obama.

You can just say goodbye to Pennsylvania's coal industry if Obama is elected:
Seizing on a newly released audio tape picked up by the Drudge Report, Sarah Palin took the opportunity here in coal country to accuse Barack Obama of “talking about bankrupting the coal industry.”

“He said that, sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry, and he's comfortable letting that happen,” Palin said. “And you got to listen to the tape.”