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  • Archive for June, 2003

    Dangerous Hypocrisy

    Posted by Jonathan on 11th June 2003 (All posts by )

    “Bush condemns Jerusalem bombing ‘in strongest possible terms'” (MSNBC TV). Well of course he does. But he shouldn’t have facilitated the attack by criticizing Israel in a way that made clear he regards cutting a deal as the main goal of his efforts. He shouldn’t have criticized Israel for defending itself — doing on a small scale what the U.S. has done on a large one. He shouldn’t have put the screws on Israel while publicly overlooking continued Arab (except maybe Jordanian) hostility to Israel and sympathy for Palestinian terrorism. He shouldn’t have tolerated the Palestinian leadership’s good-cop/bad-cop game. His inconsistency signals weakness, and it’s no surprise under the circumstances that the Palestinians continue to make terror attacks. For them, it pays.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Israel | 11 Comments »

    Hillary redux

    Posted by Andy B on 11th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Does anyone else see the similarity between H.R.C. and Nixon? Both tainted by scandal, they are also the most polarizing figures from each of their respective parties. The irony is particularly sweet, since H.R.C. revels in her hatred for R.M.N. I think she has a slightly better chance of being elected President than Nixon would have if he were alive today, (and there were no term limits), but not enough of a chance to actually get elected. The intensity of hatred, contempt, and mistrust felt for these two individuals by the body politic is equal at least, and may be skewed higher towards Hillary, with the passage of time having mitigated somewhat the enmity directed at Nixon. Hillary, however, is the true legacy of the Clinton Presidency. Bill Clinton was nothing more than a patsy who achieved his highest goal in life when he ejaculated on a kneeling intern in the hallway of the Oval Office, and a patsy does not merit lasting hatred. All of the baggage of the House of Clinton now falls directly on her head. FWIW, here is my admittedly non-scientific prediction:

    Probability of a 2004 Hillary run—1% She will let fellow Dems cut each other up and will wait for a non-incumbent.
    2008 Hillary run—95%
    2008 Hillary win—5% Have to allow for the Republicans screwing up.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

    Building A Free Iraq: Lessons From Eastern Europe

    Posted by Lexington Green on 9th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Radek Sikorski has a good short article drawing on the experience of Eastern Europe.

    Three major lessons emerge from the Central European experience. For regime change to result in liberal democratic order, a nation must remove the old regime from power, remember its crimes, and dismantle the social infrastructure that supported it. This will be hard for the citizens of Iraq, but not impossible.

    Sikorski argues that the old regime must be pretty ruthlessly rooted out. He also argues that the Iraqi diaspora must be encouraged to return. Their experience living in free societies will be critically important.

    It occurs to me that the same three things will be necessary before a viable Palestinian state can be formed. But we are not trying to do, or to encourage, any of them. The Arafat terrorist regime will remain in place, it will continue to lie about and glorify its terrorism, and the social infrastructure of intimidation will remain in place. Yet more evidence that Dubya’s road map thing ain’t gonna work. (David Warren looks to be right about that, unfortunately.)

    Posted in War and Peace | 4 Comments »

    Trotsky

    Posted by Lexington Green on 9th June 2003 (All posts by )

    So, Leo Strauss is now OUT as the brooding intellectual omnipresence lurking behind the puppet-masters who pull the strings on poor, unwitting Dubya. That rube. No, get this, Leon Trotsky is the true master-mind, ruling the 21st century from the grave, through his minions who have seized the commanding heights from within. Whoa.

    Actually, this is probably truer than the stupid Strauss brouhaha. The intellectual background of many of the original Neocons of the ’70s (Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, et al.) was Trotskyist, just as many of the original circle at William F. Buckley’s National Review in the ’50s were former communists (James Burnham, Frank Meyer (I think), Whittaker Chambers). These guys retained some pretty hard-nosed notions about the use of force after their “conversions”, and they had no sentimentality about the nature of the enemy. So, Trotsky is certainly somewhere in the gene pool of modern conservatism. So, grandpa Leon, welcome to the war on terrorism.

    Another thing, that article has this passage:

    In 1933, while in exile in Turkey, Trotsky regrouped his supporters as the Fourth International. Never amounting to more than a few thousand individuals scattered across the globe, the Fourth International was constantly harassed by Stalin’s secret police, as well as by capitalist governments. The terrible purge trials that Stalin ordered in the late 1930s were designed in part to eliminate any remaining Trotskyists in the Soviet Union. Fleeing from country to country, Trotsky ended up in Mexico, where he was murdered by an ice-pick-wielding Stalinist assassin in 1940. Like Macbeth after the murder of Banquo, Stalin became even more obsessed with his great foe after killing him. Fearing a revival of Trotskyism, Stalin’s secret police continued to monitor the activities of Trotsky’s widow in Mexico, as well as the far-flung activities of the Fourth International.

    There are some analogies here. It makes Trotsky sound like Osama and his Fourth International sound like Al Qaeda. Like Osama Trotsky was a man who proved himself on the battlefield, but was unable to seize political power in his own country, and was driven out of it, who relied on literary skills and charisma to attract a multinational gang of followers, who had sympathizers in many countries who supported and financed him, who was willing to use and advocate violence. The parallels are not that strong, but are still interesting. Critically, Osama will not manage to secure a sympathetic segment of public opinion in Europe or America.

    Anyway, I just hope that if Osama is alive, that our Delta Force guys don’t use an ice pick on him when they find him. Too risky. Just shoot him like a rat at the dump.

    (Via Arts and Letters Daily.)

    Posted in War and Peace | Comments Off on Trotsky

    Drudge Interview

    Posted by Lexington Green on 9th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Radar Magazine has an interview with Matt Drudge, conducted in part by Camille Paglia. Drudge has a few interesting comments. For one, he is a pro-lifer but not part of any organized religion. There are more people like this out there than the media would have us believe. (I’m a pro-lifer, but Roman Catholic, so I’m part of the Evil Religious Right, so no surprise there.)

    Of most interest to me were these comments about Hillary Clinton’s future:

    DRUDGE: Oh, she’s a superstar. She’s the brightest light on Broadway. She’s Harvey Weinstein’s First Lady of our Heart. She is the Democrat to beat in ’08, and her opponent may turn out to be Rudy Giuliani. And if I had to predict right now, I would think she could clean up.

    PAGLIA: Really? But she can’t even give a speech. She has no ability to interact with –people in a spontaneous way.

    DRUDGE: Let’s put it this way: I’m staying alive just to see her run against Giuliani. I think you will see a dynamic, a red-versus-blue rematch, that would just fascinate the country. Camille, as you remember, one of the finest performances we’ve seen out of Washington was the first lady coming out of the grand jury office wearing a dragon coat and white face powder. And I expect much more from Hillary as we ramp up for the next election. She has decided to go undercover and play it very calm and very conservative and Miss Marm. But she will surround herself with the Blumenthals, the Harold Ickeses, and everything else we loved and hated about the ’90s. The corruption, the crimes, the craziness will all come back to the fore.

    I agree with every single word about Hillary. And I am filled with dread and loathing. My only quibble is that I am holding to my earlier prediction that Hillary will run in ’04. The fact that Terry McAuliffe survived the 2002 debacle shows me that the Clintons still have control, and that the money spigots will open for Hillary. Her book just came out. There are nine empty suits to divide and conquer. There is wartime-popular Bush in the White House during a recession — its all in place. Clinton II will launch this Fall.

    No one else seems to agree with me on this. But what the Hell. I’m sticking with my prediction.

    I also disagree that Giuliani will be the R nominee in ’08. Any R nominee has to be at least nominally pro-life and Giuliani isn’t. He should be in charge of Homeland Security. Or Iraq.

    It’s a pretty good, if overlong, inteview, and it is good to see nutty Camille Paglia back in action.

    (via the LA Examiner, via Instapundit.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

    Euro Decay

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Collin May at Innocents Abroad points out the grim truth of European economic growth (or lack thereof). He draws a parallel between the EU and the USSR, in that the EU leaders view their nations, as Soviet leaders once saw theirs, as economic competitors of the U.S. The parallel isn’t perfect – especially when you consider that the EU lacks serious military power, not to mention the will to use it, which are what really got the U.S. to pay attention to the Soviet empire. Still, he has a point.

    Of course, the USSR eventually collapsed. It’s difficult to imagine the EU nations, relatively open societies whose governments are, at least on the margin, accountable, suffering the same fate without first being forced by voters to reform. But it’s also difficult to see how their stagnant economies can possibly outcompete the relatively low-tax, low-regulation, dynamic U.S. Something eventually will have to give. As Collin puts it,

    . . . When are the Europeans going to finally wake up and see that they’re busy rebuilding the Kremlin in the heart of Brussels? Not possessing a crystal ball, that is a question I’ll leave to the Europeans, but maybe the realization will soon sink in as they find that their economies are fast bogging down and their moralizing European empire has nothing but illusions to offer.

    The EU is on a collision course with economic reality, and it’s a good bet reality will win. I wouldn’t be surprised if the EU survives in some form, though to do so it may have to narrow the scope of its ambitions. The next few years should be interesting.

    UPDATE: Iain Murray is thinking along the same lines as Collin.

    UPDATE: Joe Katzman develops the EU-as-incipient-USSR theme at greater length, and includes many links and thoughtful reader comments.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    Our Warriors

    Posted by Lexington Green on 8th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Don’t let anyone tell you the war against Iraq was a cake walk, nothing to brag about. Strategy page has two emails which you must read. The suicidal Syrian Jihadis died hard … . The T-72 tanks were less than 100 yards away … .

    This is how it really was, and the word is finally trickling out. God bless our American soldiers.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Money Problems

    Posted by Jonathan on 8th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Don Luskin is right about how a “strong” – i.e., appreciating – dollar is not in itself a good thing. But neither is current dollar weakness, because with fiat currency everything that pols and central bankers say takes on excessive, even superstitious significance that can be economically destructive.

    There’s no way around it. Any verbal fart by a major official could be the first indication of a policy change. Vague talk by treasury secretaries that weakens the dollar is therefore just as bad in its own way as are deflationary policies that keep the dollar appreciating. Nobody would care what Snow or Greenspan – or James Baker – said, if the U.S. Govt’s established (ideally, legislated) policy had been to maintain the money supply such that the price of gold stayed in a range of, say, $345-355/oz.

    Even when a discretionary currency regime seems to work well, there’s a strong risk that eventually the people in charge, being people, will overdo it and screw things up. That’s why investors are not unreasonable to fear that the Bush administration may, in a shortsighted political attempt to aid big-business exporters or otherwise boost the economy before an election, or even to punish Europe, be going overboard in weakening the dollar. Sure, Bush said that he doesn’t want a weaker dollar, but he wouldn’t have said that if there weren’t a problem.

    And even in a discretionary-policy environment it’s possible for officials to have enough sense to keep their mouths shut. Clinton and Rubin seemed to understand this, while Bush and Snow apparently do not. That’s reason enough for dollar-holding investors to be nervous.

    Currently the dollar seems to be stalled in a range of 1.17-1.19 Euros. We’ll know soon enough whether we’ve seen the bottom.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Make your own nation

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 7th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Jennifer Government: NationStates lets you create and lead your own country.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Make your own nation

    We are all going to die of thirst!

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 7th June 2003 (All posts by )

    These people are going to ensure it: UN nuclear agency tries to avert water crisis

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We are all going to die of thirst!

    Prominent pro-Arab lobbyist Möllemann dies, very likely by suicide

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 7th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Möllemann published an anti-Israeli flyer during the federal election campaign last year causing a scandal that cost the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei) a lot of votes, unfortunately just enough to let Schröder squeak by with a tiny majority of about 6.000. It turned out later that Möllemann may have financed the flyer by illegal campaign contributions and is also possibly guilty of fraud and other offenses. After months of investigations the Bundestag revoked his parliamentary immunity on Thursday, shortly afterwards police raided 25 buildings in four European countries. Less than 30 minutes later Möllemann plummeted to his death while parachuting; since there are no signs that his equipment was sabotaged suicide seems very likely.

    Stefan Sharkansky has more; he has kept an eye on Möllemann for over a year and has even devoted a website to him: moellemann.com.

    Posted in Europe | 4 Comments »

    Suicide bombing kills five in Kabul

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 7th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Four of the dead are German soldiers, 30 more soldiers and bystanders were injured.

    As terrible this is it still is telling that attacks like this are rare enough to be newsworthy in a country that has been liberated less than 18 months ago. It really seems as if the remaining Taleban and Islamists in general are no longer capable of conducting real operations and are reduced to blowing themselves up like Palestinian terrorists.

    Going after European targets is a seriously boneheaded moveon the side of the Islamists; for all their hypocrisy about the American approach to the war on terror European governments are much less concerned with respecting the human rights of terrorists once they feel forced into all-out war. The European camps are going to be much less pleasant than that at Guantamano Bay, not to mention much larger.

    Posted in Germany | 2 Comments »

    Virus warning

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 6th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Bugbear-B, a particularily nasty mass-mailing worm is spreading rapidly and may even hide in emails that seem to be sent by colleagues or others inside your own organization/network.

    The Register reports on Bugbear-B and links to more detailed information at the McAfee website.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Virus warning

    Robust Blogging

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Steven Den Beste has some thoughts about Blogger and blogging that are worth reading. As a longtime Blogger user I certainly agree with him on most points, though I think Blogger can be adequate if one understands its limitations. For example, it’s true that Blogger sometimes eats posts – which is why I have always composed (and saved) mine in a text editor. But my approach works less well for a group blog, because it’s prohibitively difficult to restore archives using multiple contributors’ saved text files.

    Blogger’s rickety archiving system is also a problem, not because it doesn’t work but because it requires a great deal of time and attention to keep it working. Permalinks didn’t function on our blog for a month or two. I thought it was a system-wide Blogger problem and didn’t do anything about it, until Joe Katzman suggested that I rebuild our archives, and suddenly everything worked again. What a relief. But then, the fact that to solve a recurring problem I had to take a particular action, and didn’t know what that action was before someone knowledgeable told me about it, does indicate a system-wide problem.

    Fortunately, the situation is probably not as bad as I initially feared, because I’ve got our blog’s archives backed up in HTML format on my computer. Also, Sylvain tells me that he was able to access our archives by figuring out what their URLs should be and entering those URLs directly into his browser. OTOH, I don’t know how stable our archives are on Blogger’s server, and restoring the blog from my saved HTML files would be a big pain in the ass. The bottom line is that it isn’t worth sticking around on Blogger to find out the answers to these questions, and Blogger was a time sink even when it worked properly.

    Steven likens Blogger to training wheels. That’s a good comparison. When I think of Blogger I remember what a Russian programmer acquaintance told me, about how it was once common practice in the old country to improvise PC data-backup systems out of VCRs. Sure it works, but you shouldn’t use it if better technology is available. For non-geeks, Blogger was pretty much it a couple of years ago. And Blogger is still safe enough if you back everything up and take the time to practice various defensive rituals to avoid Blogger’s pitfalls. But it isn’t worth it.

    We got much more than we paid for out of Blogger, but it’s time to move on.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Magic 8 Ball

    Posted by Lexington Green on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    While we are rebuilding our shattered e-world, we Chicago Boyz manifest our stolid determination to overcome all disasters by singing jolly tunes as we e-dig out of the e-rubble and begin e-rebuilding this site. Let me share with our dear readers a particularly apropos tune to help restore a tired but sincere smile to their lips, evidencing interior serenity and joy, in these troubled times.

    This page has a link over on the right to the song Magic 8 Ball by cub. You should listen to it. More than once. It is good. It is catchy. It is sweet but not cloying. It has a killer chorus. It is a neglected classic. You should then not resist the urge to sing it tomorrow morning while bathing or driving in your car. You should not be alarmed when it lodges in your brain and won’t get out. You should ask yourself, is that a great song, or what?

    Decidedly so.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Hardball freak-out

    Posted by Andy B on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Watched “Hardball” with Chris Matthews other night when he had Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Steven Hayes, and Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill as guests. I was laughing out loud watching Vanden Huevel’s head almost pop off, raving about how George Bush has committed high crimes by lying to the country and dragging the U. S. into war. I encourage you to read the show transcript
    The exchange I refer to is in the lower third of the page. See the fun you miss when you do not watch TV Lex?

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hardball freak-out

    Novus Ordo Seclorum

    Posted by Lexington Green on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Well, a systemic catastrophe is never to be desired. But, the Blogger blow-out we’ve experienced has caused us to start this new and hopefully better site earlier than planned. Let us go forward together.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Welcome to Our New Site

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th June 2003 (All posts by )

    Last night, Blogger updated its user interface for our account. This morning, Sylvain logged in to post something. Apparently he forgot to sacrifice a goat or say the proper blessing, because the entire contents of the ChicagoBoyz blog, going back to Sept. 2001, disappeared. (The template is still there.) I am not inclined to wait for a resolution of whatever the problem is, so I decided to move the blog to this new site, which we were going to do soon anyway. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to transfer the old site’s archives, but I am working on it.

    I apologize for any inconvenience to readers. I suspect, however, that your ChicagoBoyz blog viewing experience will be smoother on this new site than it was on Blogger. Don’t forget to update your links.

    Thanks.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »