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Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Hanoi Jane" Admits to Betraying U.S.

Jane Fonda admits her betrayal of the U.S. for her support of the enemy during the Vietnam War, saying that her 1972 visit to a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun site was a "betrayal of American forces and of the country that gave me privilege." Better late than never I guess.

Polipundit wonders whether "Hanoi John" will follow suit...I think we all know the answer to that already.

Remember that Talking Points Memo?

We still haven't heard much about the origins that "GOP talking points memo" about how the Schiavo case would be beneficial to Republicans politically. And my belief is that we never will.

Maybe that's because WaPo and ABC know the pickle they are in. Fortunately, Michelle Malkin is trying to get to the bottom of the story. In an attempt to backtrack, WaPo reporter Mike Allen said "we simply reported that the sheet of paper was distributed to Republican senators." However, Malkin points out that this is not true and that several newspapers reported that, according to the WaPo, the one-page memo was "distributed to Republican senators by party leaders."

Almost no one in the MSM wants to bring the story up again. Just like Kaizer Soze in the Usual Suspects, the MSM doesn't come this f****** close to getting caught in a memo scandal and then stick it's head up....And *poof* - the memo (and scandal) is gone.

Political Correctness and Mascots

In another episode of overly sensitive university political correctness, not all mascots will be present in St. Louis this week at the Final Four. Although Ramses the Ram, Cardinal Bird the Cardinal, and Sparty the Spartan will make the trek, Chief Illiniwek has been forced to stay in Illinois for the games.

"All aspects of the chief and its dance should be eliminated," said Jen Tayabji, a former Illinois student who is a member of the Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative, a group involved in trying to do away with the chief and the "Fighting Illini" moniker.

This is ludicrous - I believe that more Native Americans are honored by the school's symbol than feel insulted by it. If they really want to find out how people feel about it, why not take a poll among Native Americans rather than assume a few individuals speak for them?

But I have complaints of my own - being a fan of ancient Athens, I am quite insulted by Sparty the Spartan, who is a symbol of Athens' longtime nemesis. That is the ultimate insult. While I'm at it, I'm a true animal purist and feel insulted by Cardinal and Ramses. Everyone knows that cardinals aren't really as tall as humans and rams move on four legs rather than two. The mascots are total misrepresentations of these facts and therefore should be abolished.

Now the Penn Quaker - that's just a symbol of peace and goodness. Can't we all be Quakers? {Link to Open Post at Mudville Gazette}

RIP Terri

Hillary: The Illusion vs. Reality

Just as pundits were saying that Hillary is softening her image to appear more moderate (key word: appear), the NY Sun obtained a fundraising letter signed by Hillary that explains her real views:
"Our opponents will do anything rather than talk about the issues. They don't want to talk about their plans to destroy Social Security, to roll back our civil and constitutional rights, to undermine American security by reducing the number of allies who will work with us around the world."

This is no moderate, folks. Hillary remains true to herself and is the same woman who sat by her husband declaring "right wing conspiracies," while trying to implement a socialist health care plan that would have put government in control of the largest portion of America's economy. No, Hillary is still a hard left, anti-war, government controlling, tax and spend Liberal. Her candid letters to her base only confirms it.

Richard Gere Has a Point

I finally agree with Richard Gere (no, it has nothing to do with gerbils). In today's WSJ opinion page (sub required), Gere implores the E.U. not to lift the ban on arms exports to China because of China's failure to address human rights issues. He also asks the U.S. and E.U. to support Tibetan autonomy within the structure of a "sovereign but benevolent China."

Europe and Washington's most substantial means for pressure is certainly the weapons embargo, which they imposed on China after the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989. Yet the EU is now seriously considering lifting the embargo -- it should not. Sixteen years later, China still has not substantively addressed the human rights abuses that led to the embargo, and, in fact, many of those involved in the 1989 demonstrations continue to linger in prison. In Tibet itself, severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and religion remain in place. This record should not be rewarded with weapons exports.

All the more so since China enacted an anti-secession law providing it with the legal authority to attack Taiwan should it proceed further toward self-rule.

He's correct, and as a Hollywood Lib, maybe the Euros will actually pay attention to him.

OJ's Girlfriend or Schiavo's Fiancee?

Yes, I know the media has already inundated us with the Schiavo case to the point of exhaustion, but the good news is that this article is from Ann Coulter. A couple of money quotes:
Of course, if my only means of entertainment were Air America radio, Barbra Streisand albums and reruns of "The West Wing," I too would be asking: "What kind of quality of life is this?"

Today's brain twister: Would you rather be O.J.'s girlfriend or Michael Schiavo's fiancee?

Surely, if anyone would defend the practice of being on a liquid diet, you'd think Ted Kennedy would.

Hey, it Sounded Like a Good TV Program

Courtesy of Wizbang. Sometimes things are not as they appear...
A Slovenian TV programme that tried to prove top models were brainless bimbos was scrapped after a beauty queen turned out to have a higher IQ than a nuclear physicist.

Iris Mulej, a former Miss Universe contestant, was found to have an IQ of 156 by scientists working for the programme makers.

The test result forced Slovenia TV, the state broadcaster, to cancel its programme involving the model who left school at 16 to pursue a modelling career.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

George Felos is One Strange Lawyer

Thanks to Captain's Quarters for pointing out this article in the National Review on Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos. It's very strange. In George Felos' book, Litigation as a Spiritual Practice, is the following passage:

Felos claims to have used his mental powers to cause a plane he was passenger on to nearly crash. By simply asking himself, "I wonder what it would be like to die right now?" the plane's autopilot program mysteriously ceased to function and the plane descended into free fall. Felos then observed, "At that instant a clear, distinctly independent and slightly stern voice said to me, 'Be careful what you think. You are more powerful than you realize.' In quick succession I was startled, humbled and blessed by God's admonishment."

Read the whole thing...and this is the chief architect who argued for Terri's death before Judge Greer. Who are the radical religious nuts here?

KGB Planned Pope Assassination Attempt

(Hat tip to The Black Kettle for the link.) Agence France-Presse reports that documents found in the former East German intelligence files confirm that the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981 was ordered by the Soviet KGB and then ordered Bulgarian agents to carry out the mission.

Bulgaria then handed the execution of the plot to Turkish extremists, including Mehmet Ali Agca, who pulled the trigger.

Ali Agca, who is now in jail in Turkey, claimed after his arrest that the operation was under the control of the Bulgarian embassy in Rome. The Bulgarians have always insisted they were innocent and argued that Agca's story was part of an anti-communist plot by the Italian secret service and the CIA.

Schiavo, Sacco and Vanzetti

The American Thinker draws an interesting comparison between the Schiavo case and the nearly century-old Sacco and Vanzetti cases. Having once written a high school paper on Sacco and Vanzetti, I have to agree with many of the similarities.

Both involved the state executions of innocents. In all three cases thousands argued that the condemned never received fair trials. Many levels of court appeals failed and, in the end, the Supreme Court refused to hear either case. Millions petitioned governors to intervene (and commute the death sentences). Both involved national and worldwide outrage and wide scale fights to save them. Both movements failed.

The proponents of the executions, in both cases, bear some similiarities as well. Rightwing hatred toward communists and immigrants on the one hand and leftwing hatred for pro-life advocates on the other. And, sadly, the protagonists in these cases best serve their societies as martyrs than they did as living actors.

I wouldn't go so far as to state that the Sacco-Vanzetti cases were "execution of innocents," since we really don't know for sure even at this point. Still, his point is valid - the cases also show how important it is to hire good lawyers before the finding of facts.

The Flat Tax Revolution

Market Center Blog points out this Financial Times article that describes the success of the flat tax system in many Eastern European countries.

The adoption of flat tax systems in eastern Europe - following their earlier introduction in Hong Kong and the Channel Islands - has sparked growing interest in western Europe and the US.

This month, Poland's centre-left government announced that it would introduce a flat tax system by 2008. The new scheme would set taxes on all personal income and corporate profits, as well as value-added tax, at 18 per cent.

Nine eastern European countries, from Estonia in 1994 to Romania and Georgia this year, have set low, flat rates on personal income and often equally low corporate taxes. The clearest benefits are easier administration and a better understanding of tax bills. Lowering the tax rate and broadening the base discourages tax avoidance and evasion.

Charles Robertson, an economist for ING Bank, notes that Estonia has applied a flat tax for more than a decade without opposition. "Estonia has done incredibly well, and no political party is saying 'It is about time we tax the rich a little more'."

If This Place Were in Miami, it Would be Firebombed

The other day I wondered why it's hip for young people to wear Che Guavara t-shirts and just assumed it was their ignorance. But I wonder what the excuse is for this eatery in Rhode Island...the owners are lucky that it is located half a country away from people in Miami who wouldn't mind seeing it torched. (Courtesy Babalu Blog.)

The ACLU vs. Americans

Michelle Malkin discusses the ACLU's opposition to the Minuteman project at Townhall. The Minuteman Project is a volunteer effort by American citizens to help bring attention to our porous southern border. On April 1, hundreds of Americans from all over the U.S. will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border for a month to monitor illegal aliens and notify immigration enforcement officials if they witness law-breaking (referred to by Malkin as the "mother of all neighborhood watch programs").
On April Fools' Day, the American Civil Liberties Union will show us what a joke its commitment to American civil liberties really is.

...the Minutemen will be exercising their constitutionally protected freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Those would be fundamental civil liberties found in something called the, uh, First Amendment, of which the ACLU is supposed to be the foremost expert and champion.

ACLU of Arizona spokesman Ray Ybarra argues that the mere presence of the Minutemen at the border constitutes "unlawful imprisonment" of illegal (excuse me, "undocumented") aliens (excuse me, "migrants"). Ybarra told the Washington Times that the ACLU will have lawyers on standby ready to file civil cases against the volunteers. He warned that the Minutemen could "come to our state as 'vigilantes' and end up leaving as 'defendants.'"

With truth-in-advertising laws, I think the ACLU needs a new name since it no longer cares about the civil liberties of Americans.

George McGovern: "Democrats are Patriotic Too"

George McGovern wrote an article entitled “Patriotism is Nonpartisan” in the current issue of Nation magazine. In it McGovern says,

“There is a notion abroad in American politics, carefully crafted by its proponents, that is both disturbing and false…The notion is that my party, and especially its standard-bearer of '72, are not interested in the defense and security of America. Nor, according to this notion, do we care about marriage and the family, the sacredness of human life and the things of the spirit. Perhaps my views are outdated, but I have always assumed that every American cares about these values; consequently, they are not issues for partisan exploitation.”

McGovern then goes on to give an account of his life as a public servant and military veteran and defended his views on cutting defense and lifting the embargo on Cuba in an effort to prove his loyalty and patriotism.

Where do I begin?

First, I don’t doubt McGovern’s patriotism or loyalty, nor do I doubt that of the vast majority of Democrats. But I think his thesis that Republicans question his patriotism completely misses the point, just as it did when the Democratic leadership repeated the same diatribe ad nauseam during the 2004 campaign. I also question his argument that all Americans care about marriage, family or the sacredness of human life to the same degree. Many do not have the same beliefs and it’s important to point out those differences during political debates.

Like John Kerry, John Edwards, and other leading Democrats who called on Republicans to “stop questioning their patriotism,” McGovern is using the same tactic to obfuscate the fact that his liberal ideology has not had much of an influence on the success of America at the end of the 20th century. However, the “questioning his patriotism” charge is ludicrous. Republicans may have questioned Democrats’ stance on national defense, their commitment to the War on Terror, and many of their Liberal policies, but not their patriotism.

Since McGovern brings up the impugning of patriotism, let’s look at the facts. During the election, both sides criticized each other’s policies. However, I think he has the accused and accusers backwards: nearly the entire Democratic leadership explicitly called into question the Administration’s patriotism:

John Kerry: “It’s unpatriotic to ship our jobs overseas” [referring to Bush’s free trade policies]. (I won’t even bother getting into the Winter Soldier testimony here.)

Theresa Heinz-Kerry: Called Dick Cheney “unpatriotic” for deferring his service to enter Vietnam.

Wesley Clark: About “Bush’s War:” “That is not patriotic.” About speaking to the soldiers onboard a carrier: "I don't think it's patriotic to dress up in a flight suit and prance around."

Howard Dean:I think it's unpatriotic to do some of the things that this president has done to the country.”

Al Gore: “He [Bush] betrayed this country…”

Ted Kennedy:Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management." And “Lie after lie after lie…”... “The whole thing [Iraq War] was a fraud.”

Max Cleland: The canard is that Republicans, by questioning Cleland’s positions on the Patriot Act and War on Terror, somehow belittled his patriotism. The truth is that Cleland was the one who accused Bush of going “AWOL,” which is the essence of disloyalty to one’s country.

And these quotes are only from the Democratic Party leadership and are only the most obvious quotes. When we look at, media journalists, college professors and Hollywood stars, it gets even worse. And the American public understands that the vast majority of the aforementioned people are Democrats. They belong to the party and are also embraced by Democratic leadership. Remember Michael Moore, who said that the Iraqi terrorists are really “Minutemen” and that “they will win?” If Michael Moore is not part of the mainstream Democrat thinking, why have Democratic leaders embraced him? And this recent rally shows just how closely the Democratic party has aligned itself with the group.

So what constitutes an unpatriotic action? How about rooting against one’s country in a war? I think most sane people would consider that to be unpatriotic. John Hawkins had a great post from the Democratic Underground on the subject. Even if this Far-left crowd doesn’t represent the majority of Democrats, they have found a comfortable home within the Democratic party. Hawkins also points out this poll within the DU site about whether they are “proud to be American.” Now, maybe the poll question was vague or interpreted as meaning something different, but “proud to be an American” is the definition of patriotism.

Hoping the U.S. fails in its foreign policy just to spite the current administration is unpatriotic. Calling the leaders of our country “Hitlers,” “The Taliban” and “more dangerous than Saddam Hussein” is unpatriotic. Burning a flag is unpatriotic. (Do you think that protestors around the world burning flags and chanting “Death to America” do so because of their love for America?) Who does this more accurately represent – those on the Left or Right?

Democrats may want to blame the Republicans for the public’s perception of them, but instead of wasting time trying to convince people that they are patriotic too, maybe they should instead distance themselves from those in their party that hate their country and everything in stands for.

{Linking to Open Post at Mudville Gazette}

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Yet Another Religious Extremist

Nashville Truth has this post about yet another religious extremist supporting Terri Schiavo. That's right - that right winger Jesse Jackson...part of the "Christo-Taliban Regime" in America.

Not So Quick, Kofi

"As I had always hoped and firmly believed, the inquiry has cleared me of any wrongdoing," Kofi Annan quickly responded to Paul Volcker's interim report on the UN Oil for Food scandal today. However, the report didn't exactly exonerate Annan.
The report released Tuesday also accused the company, Cotecna Inspection S.A., and Annan's son, Kojo, of trying to conceal their relationship after the contract was awarded. It also faulted Kofi Annan for conducting a one-day investigation into the matter, saying it should have been a more rigorous, independent probe.

The report's conclusion was not the clear vindication that the secretary-general had wanted, though the investigation led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker did not accuse the U.N. chief of corruption or any other wrongdoing.

There's a big difference between finding Kofi innocent and not having enough evidence of wrongdoing. Also, I have no doubt that Volcker will give the benefit of any doubt to Kofi - especially since the UN is paying Mr. Volcker's fees.
If Kofi were bound by the corporate laws of Sarbanes-Oxley, he would be going to jail alongside Dennis Koslowski, Bernie Ebbers and Ken Lay.

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?!

I couldn’t help thinking of that paddling scene in Animal House when I read this article about the latest increase in NY sales taxes. Fortunately, with every passing day, Gov. Pataki has a smaller and smaller chance of winning on the national stage.

Republicans for Patches Kennedy

The American Spectator has an article on the prospects of a Senatorial matchup in Rhode Island putting RINO Sen. Lincoln Chafee against Rep. Patrick Kennedy, aka "Patches." It's a tossup for Republicans, with many hoping to see Patrick elected for entertainment value.

"Kennedy against Chafee, man that's a tough one," says a Senate Republican staffer. "If I had a vote, I guess I'd hold my nose and vote Republican, but hope that Kennedy gets the votes."

It's a weird political world when Republicans would prefer to have Patches in the Senate well. "The floor speeches would be worth watching, that's for sure," says another Senate Republican staffer. "Patches doesn't have his father's or his uncles' oratorical gifts. Not even close."

What he did inherit from his family is an uncanny ability to land in trouble. His run-ins with the law are legendary on Capitol Hill, from abandoning his car and running into the Capitol after being chased for speeding in Washington, D.C., to his physical assault of a female, African-American security guard at Los Angeles International Airport, to his well-documented history of drug and alcohol abuse.

He is not known for strong political instincts, and for his sometimes embarrassing floor speeches in the House and on the campaign trail (another reason Gephardt yanked him out of leadership).

I Didn't Know They Had Polls for This

A new Zogby poll shows that 78% of New Yorkers do not favor the force feeding of ducks and geese to produce fois gras. Fascinating. Good day for PETA.

Ex-US Diplomats Oppose Bolton

According to the BBC, 59 former US diplomats wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to protest the nomination of John Bolton, Bush's nominee as UN Ambassador. (Hat tip to PoliBlog for the link.)
Among the most senior signatories was Arthur Hartman, former ambassador to France and the Soviet Union under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and assistant secretary of state for European affairs under President Richard Nixon.

Princeton Lyman, a former ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria, Monteagle Stearns, US representative in Greece and Ivory Coast, and Spurgeon Keeny Jr, Jimmy Carter's deputy director of arms control, also signed the letter.

Fortunately, I think their letter will have about as much an effect as if I wrote a letter myself.

Another Bad Idea in Detroit

By a vote of 7-2, the Detroit City Council decided to spend $30 million per year in public funds to establish an “Africatown,” a race-based business district solely for black businessmen and investors, designed to be a business district similar to Chinatown or Little Italy. According to a study used by the City Council, the black population is being underserved and passed over economically by other nonblack residents.

More specifically, the report complains that entrepreneurial immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East are opening up too many stores and selling too much of everything to blacks. In doing so, it's alleged that these money-grubbing greenhorns are stealing jobs and business opportunities from blacks.

Apart from being unconstitutional, this is just an idiotic idea. First, 83 percent of Detroit is black, so it's hard to see how carving out a black business district is going to change the dynamics of the city in any real way (apart from the redistribution of $30 million via the government). Additionally, businesses don't succeed in the long run because they receive money from the government. Businesses succeed because they sell goods or services that people want at a reasonable price. Little Italy and Chinatown were not designed by the government to help people "get ahead." They were formed because immigrants flocked there on their own in an effort to work hard and make a future for themselves.

Little Italy, in short, was successful because the spaghetti was good, not because someone got a handout from city council.

{Linking post to OTB's Traffic Jam}

Why Irish Eyes Are Smiling

For those of you who still don't believe that lower government spending and lower taxes have an important effect on economic growth, read the example of Ireland over the past two decades. Workforall, a European think tank in Belgium, has studied the economic performance of various European economies and compared those of Belgium and Ireland from 1984 ‑ 2002. They found that Belgian real economic growth over this period amounted to 42%, while Ireland's growth was nearly quadruple that level at 167%. As a result, Ireland went from one of the poorest countries to one of the richest countries in just 18 years.

The authors of the study, Eric Verhulst, Paul Vreymans and Willy De Wit, have performed a multi-regression analysis, trying to establish the relative weights of 25 possible causes of growth differences, including age structures, education levels, inflation, number of annual working hours, interest rates, the ratio between direct and indirect taxes, the size of the public deficit, the impact of the accession to the EU etc. The most striking conclusion was that 93% of the differences between growth performances could be explained by govern­ment spending and tax levels.

Some countries learn, some do not.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Kofi Annan to Sell Out Son, Use "Jimmy Carter" Defense

The Australian reports that Kofi Annan is expected to blame his son Kojo for getting involved in the oil-for-food scandal in the Volcker report to be issued on Tuesday. The report is also expected to confirm that Kofi met with senior representatives of Cotecna on several occasions and that he should have known of the potential conflict of interest concerning his son.
UN officials are hoping to deflect criticism of the UN chief by insisting that his son, Kojo, 29, misled him about payments that Kojo Annan received from a UN contractor....Cotecna acknowledges now that it paid Kojo Annan about $US365,000 over eight years -- twice what it previously admitted.

Mark Malloch Brown, the UN Secretary-General's chief of staff, said last week that Mr Annan expected to be exonerated by the commission, but added that his son's situation might be "very different."

An interesting part of the story is how Annan plans to defend himself:

Aides say Mr Annan plans to mount a "Billy Carter defence," arguing that he should not be held accountable for any transgressions by his son, just as Jimmy Carter, the former US president, was not forced from office when it emerged that his brother, Billy, was lobbying for Libya.

Maybe that's why the two men get along so well.

Hippies and Che Guevara

I've never been much of a fashion hound, but the popularity of 'Che' clothing is completely absurd to me. I saw a young 20-something wearing a Guevara t-shirt the other night and I almost asked him if he had any knowledge of the communist on his tee. I didn't bother because I had better things to do than waste my breath on a young, grungy hippy, but I wonder if he realizes how many people he offends by wearing a t-shirt with Castro's personal killer. I enjoyed reading the reaction of an elder Cuban man when he saw the t-shirts for sale:

One example is 73-year-old Carlos Barberia, who recounts waiting for a bus in New Jersey when he spotted a Guevara T-shirt on a sidewalk rack. He bought the shirt - and promptly set it on fire with a burning newspaper.

"Che Guevara killed my father," he told a police officer, explaining his outburst. "He had my father shot by a firing squad in Cuba."

Thankfully, the officer seemed to understand and let Barberia go, he says.

For some reason, communist killers still receive a certain affection from many on the Left. I wonder if there would be any outrage if I walked around with a KKK shirt. But then again, I would have enough decency not to do something so stupid.

The Schiavo Case: Winners and Losers

Over the past two weeks, the talking heads in the media have insisted that the actions by Congress (some just say Republicans) in the Schiavo case were motivated primarily by political purposes. I don’t agree with this analysis - I believe that there are many people who still consider killing innocent life an immoral act (not a subject many Democrats comprehend).

But with all the talk of “politics” and at the risk of sounding insensitive, I do think there are both winners and losers resulting from the case. None of them lose as much as Terri and her loved ones, but nevertheless, this is the way I see it:

The Losers:

Schiavo’s family: It goes without saying – Terri and her family lose the most important thing of all – and all because Terri’s life was deemed as unworthy of existing any longer.

Congress: Whether rightly or wrongly, the judicial branch essentially nullified Congressional legislation for a de novo trial. Some will argue that Congress’ action was unconstitutional, but that wasn’t a consideration in the court’s refusal. Judiciary 1, Congress 0.

Jeb Bush: Governor Bush asserted that Florida's Department of Children and Family Services had a legal right to intervene and take custody of Schiavo, but when Judge Greer decided otherwise, Governor Bush was put in a no-win situation. By following the judge’s order, Bush upset many Americans who wanted him to intervene to save Schiavo. If Bush did intervene, he would have been branded a “tyrant" by the media and potentially subject to contempt charges for defying a court order.

Michael Schiavo: Apart from Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson, I can’t think of many people who needed PR advice as badly as Michael Schiavo. He will be forever hated by millions of people and face death threats for the rest of his life. Even if everything he said about Terri’s wishes was accurate, several nurses who cared for Terri painted an ugly portrait of Michael as a caregiver. He also could have saved everyone a lot of pain and suffering by handing custody of Terri to her family.

ABC / WaPo, et. al: I could probably include other media sources who ran with the “GOP talking points memo,” but ABC News and the Washington Post’s Mike Allen were out in front. The authenticity of the memo has been shown to be dubious at best, but because the MSM is trying its best to ignore the issue, I doubt anyone will suffer the Dan Rather / CBS treatment.

Feminists: Gloria Steinem and her fan club can’t be too happy that a husband still has the final voice in many legal matters, even against the will of the rest of her family.


Republicans: There was a clear difference of opinion over which is more important – Federalism or protecting life. Also, the MSM’s embrace of the “GOP talking points memo,” even if fraudulent, helped shape public opinion that Republicans were motivated more by politics than beliefs. Still, as bad as the Republican division appeared on the issue of Federalism, I don’t think it hurts the party longer-term. Also, I believe it might even help mobilize many of the conservatives in the battle over judges (watch out red state Senators).

The Democrats looked equally pathetic and is now a leaderless organization that has no vision on controversial issues apart from decrying those of Republicans. (Can you think of a single memorable Democrat on the issue?) Based on Democratic history, the “states rights” argument just isn’t sincere. Remember when Liberals cheered Janet Reno for defying a court order in intervening in the Elian Gonzales case? Also, some Far-left Democrats still pull crap like this, which will never get them much public sympathy.

The Winners:

Judicial branch: By ignoring Congressional legislation for a de novo trial, the judicial branch of the government flexed its muscle. While many people argue that the courts merely upheld the separation of powers, it is clear that the judiciary has more power than ever before and is even more powerful than legislatures in many instances. This is why the fight for judicial nominees will make the Clarence Thomas confirmation look like a cakewalk by comparison.

Lawyers: First, the trial showed how important it is to hire good lawyers. Wizbang had a good summary that shows many of the early mistakes of the Schindler family’s lawyers. Second, lawyers who specialize in living wills are going to see a huge increase in business – heck, I might even get a living will now (Mine will just say, in the event of a similar situation, to turn the tv to The Simpsons or Fox News and occasionally read me a few entries from Instapundit, Polipundit and Right Wing News).

The Blogosphere: Like all big stories these days, bloggers covered the case better than the MSM. The blogosphere also reminded people of its increasing influence. Bloggers on the left helped spread the “GOP talking points memo” rumor, while those on the right later debunked it.

Democratic Underground / Daily Kos: More like self-proclaimed winners - many far left website visitors are happy to see Schiavo die for no other reason than to anger Christians and the “Christo-Taliban Regime” that rules our country...If you don’t believe it, spend 5 minutes on one of DU’s message boards. I don’t think this helps them in any way, but many will feel victorious nevertheless.

Hillary Clinton: Conscious not to appear too liberal to the red states but also not to alienate her base, Hillary avoided a potential landmine by not having to make a Senate vote on the Schiavo legislation. She can now straddle the issue as comfortably as Monica straddled Bill if it comes up during her 2008 campaign run.

Ralph Nader: After trying to muck up the 2004 election for Kerry, Nader remained consistent to his advocacy for human rights (if the right to live can be classified as such). He also helped enhanced his image among conservatives by firmly supporting Schiavo’s right to live (I don’t think this means he’ll be President anytime soon though).

That's a brief summary of the winners and losers - let me know if I missed anyone.

Will this Make Kofi More Depressed?

Roger L. Simon has some interesting info on the UN Oil-for-Food Scam. Paul Volcker's committee has been interviewing Pierre Mouselli, Kojo's business partner, about his relationship with Kofi Annan's son. Mouselli apparently told the committee the following:

1. Previously unrevealed private meetings between Kojo and two separate Iraqi Ambassadors to Nigeria, arranged by Mouselli in or about August 1998. At these meetings Kojo presented the business card of Cotecna.

2. A trip in September 1998 by Mouselli and Kojo to the Non-Aligned Nations Movement Conference in Durban, South Africa during which they traveled with the Secretary General's entourage and later had a private lunch with Kofi Annan. In Mouselli's view, the purpose of the lunch was to make the Secretary General aware of the various business dealings in which he and Kojo were engaged, in order to get the Secretary General's "blessing".

3. Early Autumn 2002. The Iraqi Ambassador to Nigeria makes a surprise call to Mouselli inquiring of the whereabouts of Kojo (at this point Mouselli and Kojo were not in close contact). Mouselli goes to the Iraqi Embassy where he is informed by the Ambassador that we (the Iraqis) have done favors for Kojo in the past and now need to see him. The Iraqis do not specify what these favors were or what they needed from Kojo, but offer Mouselli a visa to come to Baghdad for further discussion.

It will be interesting to see the full Volcker report, to be released on Tuesday. Maybe this is why Kofi recently said he was depressed and close to quitting his post.

Nancy Powell and the Hunt for Bin Laden

(Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ). Richard Miniter of the NY Sun explains that the U.S. hunt for Bin Laden may have been compromised for over two years by Nancy Powell, the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.
Ambassador Nancy Powell, America’s representative in Pakistan, refused to allow the distribution in Pakistan of wanted posters, matchbooks, and other items advertising America’s $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mr. bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

Instead, thousands of matchbooks, posters, and other material — printed at taxpayer expense and translated into Urdu, Pashto, and other local languages — remained “impounded” on American Embassy grounds from 2002 to 2004, according to Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois.

Mr. Kirk discovered Ms. Powell’s unusual order in January 2004 and, over the past year, launched a series of behind-the-scenes moves that culminated in a blunt conversation with President Bush aboard Air Force One, the removal of the ambassador, and congressional approval for reinvigorating the hunt for Mr. bin Laden.

Nancy Powell "left her job" a few months after Kirk's conversation with Bush, in November 2004. She now works in the State Department offices in Washington DC. I hope we haven't heard the end of this story - I'd like to know why she acted on her own to override national security decisions.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter. In the spirit of Bart Simpson - Easter is a time when people of all religions can come together and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now Bahrain!

When will the pro-democracy protests end? Now in can read more at Juan Cole. (Hat tip to Tdaxp).
Tens of thousands marched on Friday in one of Bahrain's largest opposition demonstrations to demand democratic reforms in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state...The peaceful march, called by the Shiite-led opposition, follows unsuccessful talks with the Government on constitutional reforms to give greater powers to parliament's elected assembly, which is on an equal footing with a state-appointed chamber.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

CPI Increases Don't Always Mean Inflation

Hat tip to Prestopundit for this story by Virginia Postrel in the NT Times, which explains that the CPI, while one of the standard metrics for economic inflation, is calculated through an inexact science. The biggest problem is that the measure doesn't always take into account changes in the quality of products or services.
"Quality change has typically been considered the least tractable problem associated with the Consumer Price Index," the National Research Council said in 2002 in a report on cost-of-living and price indexes.

Though businesses and government treat it as a hard number, the Consumer Price Index is not a fact of nature like the atomic weight of lead or the speed of light. It is a statistical construction that requires a lot of judgment calls.

1 Million March in Taiwan

In what is becoming a common, but never tiring, test of people's desire for freedom around the world, approximately 1 million people marched in Taiwan in protest against China's new law that calls for military force in the event of a formal declaration of independence by the island.

I'm not surprised. In this new Age of Democracy, if people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan can gain their independence from unwanted rulers, the Taiwanese people must be asking why freedom shouldn't also apply to them. They have a point.

Publius Pundit has more on the protest. My View of the World also has an interesting (and correct) observation:
Around here if you get 3 people with a sign and a bullhorn coming out against Bush, the war, Haliburton or drilling in ANWR and you get massive coverage in the MSM (Main Stream Media), but why is their coverage so lacking when millions of people around the world march for Democracy and Freedom? Sure, it get’s a short story, but 1,000,000 people in Taiwan, the thousands in Krygyzstan as they took control of their government, and the events in The Ukraine, demonstrations across Iran, Iraqi citizens fighting insurgents on their own and marching through the streets condemning the terrorists…

What of the Soul?

With Easter tomorrow, I find the following post from Polipundit appropriate.
I have heard it a hundred times if I have heard it once the past two weeks. I have heard it said in many different ways, but the concept is the same. Terri Schiavo is a vegetable. She is no longer in her body. Her mind is gone. Her brain is gone. Her body is an empty shell. She has no idea what is going on. She is a potted plant. She can’t feel anything.

On this Easter weekend, I can’t help but wonder whether any of those making statements like the ones above believe in the human soul. If they do, do they think it resides in the brain? Do they believe that Terri still has a soul? Do they believe that those who are mentally handicapped have souls? How can they discuss a living human being in such a way if they believe she possesses a soul?

What You Get For That $4 Starbucks

Hat tip to Roth Report for this post from Say Anything about Starbucks' new "The Way I See It" campaign, which includes quotes from mostly various thinkers, authors, athletes and entertainers (and wannabe politicos) posted on the side of coffee cups.
The problem, critics say, is the company’s list of overwhelmingly liberal contributors, including Al Franken, Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, Chuck D. Of the 31 contributors listed on Starbucks’ Web site, only one, National Review editor Jonah Goldberg, offers a conservative viewpoint.

I'm not sure how this is any different from the media we see every day. Also, because it's a public company, I have no problem with the campaign. I'm too cheap to buy Starbucks, but if I did, I would probably stop doing so if the quotes were anything close to liberal politicking. And if they upset enough like-minded people, sales would drop off and the Starbuck's Management and Board would have to answer for it.

Then again, even a truly left-wing political campaign would probably have no effect on buyers; who would ever have thought they could get away with charging over $4 for a cup of coffee?

Friday, March 25, 2005

"We Need an Exit Strategy"

So say the Sunni insurgents in Iraq, according to the Financial Times.

Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein, who heads Iraq's main monarchist movement and is in contact with guerrilla leaders, said many insurgents including former officials of the ruling Ba'ath party, army officers, and Islamists have been searching for a way to end their campaign against US troops and Iraqi government forces since the January 30 election...Sharif Ali said the success of Iraq's elections dealt the insurgents a demoralising blow, prompting them to consider the need to enter the political process.

Bainbridge Slams Sullivan

I have an increased admiration for Professor Bainbridge after reading his recent post on the continuing faux conservatism of Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan claims that "... religious zealotry cannot be incorporated into conservatism. It is the nemesis of conservatism. And it has to be purged in order for conservatism to be revived."

Bainbridge reponds:

I'm not sure a journalist who's British, gay, and a dissident Catholic, and who supported John Kerry in the last election would be our first choice (or 100th) as a go-to-guy on defining the proper bounds and content of American conservatism...I suspect that what Sullivan really thinks is that there should be no room in conservatism for anybody who doesn't practice Sullivan's unique brand of cafeteria Christianity.

Bravo, Prof. This is dead-on. Sullivan, once an independent conservative-minded viewpoint, has become a talking head for the Chris Matthews-Keith Olbermann wing of the liberal media and his varied stances on Iraq make him a good spokesman for John Kerry. He buys into the "Cheney-Rumsfeld are evil" crowd and believes that anyone who opposes gay marriage is a bigot. That's perfectly fine - so long as he doesn't continue to parade himself as a "conservative." The only places he would be considered conservative are on Berkeley's campus or in Air America's radio studio. It's been a while since I've read Andrew's column regularly because I can get the same "conservative" message from turning on Hardball or CNN.

It appears that Glenn Reynolds doesn't like his views being misrepresented by Sullivan either.

US Sells F16s to Pakistan

Hat tip to Poliblog for the link to this story about the U.S. sale of F-16s to Pakistan. I wonder what else we are getting in return. I'm skeptical that this is a simple thank-you for Pakistan's help to date in the war on terrorism. In a recent post, the Asian Times Online suggested that the U.S. might be asking Pakistan for help against Iran in the event of an attack - or perhaps some additional support in rounding up terrorists in its own country.

Indian blogger Bharat Today clearly is not happy with the decision.

Georgetown Students and Janitors

Last week a group of students at Georgetown University staged a hunger strike to protest the minimum wage for janitors at the school; they wanted it raised to a "living wage," of $14 per hour. Yesterday the school agreed to the demands of roughly two dozen striking students. Don Boudreaux offers his thoughts at Cafe Hayak:

I have nothing against Georgetown U. raising the amount it pays to its janitors. But the full picture of this little episode is different than the cropped snapshots that I see in the newspapers and hear on the local radio stations. The pop image is of selfless, concerned students making a noble sacrifice to help voiceless, hapless janitors get a better deal from a penny-pinching University bureaucracy.

Boudreaux correctly points out that Georgetown currently gets all the janitors it needs at the current wage, and offering more would be "charity," which although a nice gesture, it's far from being morally obligatory.

Now there’s nothing wrong with charity; I applaud it (when it’s done wisely). But why, in this case, did the hunger-striking students single out Georgetown University as an alleged malefactor? Why was the janitors’ employer targeted for its failure to extend charity?

Why didn’t the hunger-strikers demand that George Mason University or Catholic University extend charity to Georgetown University’s janitors? Or why didn’t these strikers demand that all merchants in Northwest DC extend charity to these janitors?

An additional problem I have with Georgetown caving to the students' demands is that a tiny minority of students are allowed to establish the "appropriate norms" for wages. Whose to say that $50k is reasonable instead of $100k? This exercise in socialism is appropriate to foster students for life in Cuba or even Scandanavia, but not for life in the U.S.

When tuition rises and/or fewer janitors are hired next year, I don't want to hear anyone complaining.

Rating Congress on Taxpayer Friendliness

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has released its 2004 results, which rates House Members and Senators on taxpayer friendliness - support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. Every member of Congress is given a score of between 0 and 100, with 100 being the most taxpayer friendly and 0 being the least friendly. The NTU then translated the scores to school grades from A to F.

It should come as no surprise that Republicans scored much higher than Democrats, with an average rating of 62 in the House and 71 in the Senate vs. a Democratic average of 13 in the House and 17 in the Senate. You can view the House members and the Senator members who received the highest scores. Just remember this when you see "polls" that say Americans believe Democrats are better on spending and "fiscal responsibility." I don't know to whom people think Democrats are responsible, but it certainly ain't the taxpayers...

Congratulations to Massachussetts - the only state in the country in which every single member of Congress received a grade of 'F' - with several having a score in the single digits (except John Kerry, who received an incomplete because he failed to show up for enough votes).

U.S. Deserter Denied Canadian Citizenship

Jeremy Hinzman, a U.S. deserter from the 82nd Airborne, was denied Canadian citizenship this week. Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board said Hinzman had not convinced its members that he would face persecution if he were returned to the US. Hinzman,26, currently lives in Toronto with his wife and son. He faces a court martial and could be sentenced to up to five years in prison if he is returned to the US.

Mr Hinzman fled his unit in January 2004, shortly before the 82nd Airborne was due in Iraq... he was the first to receive an answer from a number of US deserters seeking Canadian residency.

Hinzman's lawyer, Jeffrey House, reacted on Canadian TV, "He is disappointed. We don't believe that people should be imprisoned if what they're asked to do is illegal."

The interesting part of this case is that the media portrays it as a soldier deserting because of his opposition to Iraq. This is false. Hinzman was also opposed to the war in Afghanistan (which nearly the entire world agreed with...including the Frogs) and asked the Army to be classified as a conscientious objector. Hinzman ended up serving in Afghanistan in a non-combat role.

This is a case of a soldier who had no business in being in the Army in the first place; maybe he joined without thinking he would ever be deployed - and quit when he realized the function of the Army. I hope he stays in Canada (or moves to Iceland with Bobby Fischer) - I think it will raise the collective IQ of both our countries. Riding Sun seems to agree.

Simpsons Friday

With the tragic case in Florida and tempers flaring, I think some comic relief is in order. Just a few quotes from the Simpsons on the subject of religion.

Homer: No offense Apu, but when they're handing out religions you must be out taking a whizz.
Apu: Mr. Simpson, pay for your purchases and get out...and come again.

Homer: Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.

Marge: Homer, you don't have to pray outloud.
Homer: But he's way the hell up there!

Homer: The lesson is: Our God is vengeful! O spiteful one, show me who to smite and they shall be smoten.

Homer: Lisa, you're a Buddhist, so you believe in reincarnation. Eventually, Snowball will be reborn as a higher lifeform... like a snowman.

Ned Flanders: They've broken every commandment except one.
Carl: Hey Lenny, covet some chili fries?
Lenny: You bet.
Ned Flanders: That's it. The whole shebang.

Bart: Mom, can we go Catholic so we can get communion wafers and booze?

Homer: Your mother has this crazy idea that gambling is wrong. Even though they say it's okay in the Bible.
Lisa: Really? Where?
Homer: Eh, somewhere in the back.

Homer: "Dear Lord: The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done."

Homer: I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?

Bart: Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Harry Reid Acquired Kerry's Flip-Flop Skills

Blogs for Bush has this post about Harry Reid's view on Social Security:

The Senate Minority Leader on March 21, 2005:
"After all, there is no more positive agenda than saving Social Security."

The Senate Minority Leader on March 23, 2005:

"Today's report confirms that the so-called Social Security crisis exists in only one place: the minds of Republicans. In reality, the program is on solid ground for decades to come."

The Soros Conundrum

How does George Soros feel about France? On the one hand, he loves the country's anti-Americanism; on the other hand, France just upheld its conviction of Soros for insider trading. From Bloomberg (hat tip to Daly Thoughts for the link):

Billionaire investor George Soros was found guilty of insider trading by a French appeals court, upholding a 2002 conviction in a case that he's been fighting for 16 years.

Maybe when people talk about corporate scandal figureheads, like Ken Lay, Bernard Ebbers or Dennis Kozlowski, they should add one more name.

A Study in Attitudes

Attitude is everything in life. Whose attitude would you rather have? That of Athlete number 1 or Athlete number 2? Hmm...

It's Still a Great Photo

Hat tip to the Roth Report for the link to this doctored photo of the Bush twins, to appear in the upcoming issue of Maxim. It's just an April Fool's joke...and I've seen far worse.

Socialism Has Always Failed

Richard Rahn of the Discovery Institute explains in the Washington Times the complete failure of socialism through the years. (Hat tip to Market Center Blog for the link.) Still, socialism is praised by people around the world, including within the U.S. (yes, this means you Berkeley, Seattle, Vermont and Massachusetts). Despite history, socialists continue to be ignorant to the system's failure, whatever the form:

The "national socialists" caused the death of tens of millions of people. The communists in Russia, China, Cambodia and elsewhere caused the collective deaths of more than 100 million people and impoverished billions of others.

The Third World socialists have kept their countries unnecessarily mired in poverty for a half-century. The democratic socialists gained control in England in 1945 under Clement Attlee. As a result, the British economy was run into the ground. Hence the British people voted to reprivatize their economy under Margaret Thatcher beginning in 1979.

Rahn also points out the biggest reason people are so oblivious to socialism's failures:

People do not know the history of socialist disasters because the educational establishment and much of the news media have engaged in a massive cover-up. The large majority of teachers throughout the world are government employees or depend on government grants. All too many are thus understandably hostile to the idea government enterprises do not work as advertised and, hence, reluctant to both teach and allow materials in the classroom that show the socialist model neither works in practice or theory.

I disagree with Rahn on one point. He says that "If people knew the real history of all the socialist experiments and its flawed theory, very few (other than the delusional or mean-spirited) would be socialists." I think there are a lot of people who would rather see economic equality, even if that means everyone is worse off because of it.

The Fraudulent "Republican Talking Points Memo"

If you've been watching tv or reading the news, you probably saw the talking heads discussing the "GOP talking points memo" on how the Schiavo case would help them politically. It is now almost certain that the whole story was a fraud. The American Spectator says the following:

Republican leadership staffers now believe the document was generated out of the Democratic opposition research office set up recently by Sen. Harry Reid, and distributed to some Democratic Senate staffers claiming it was a GOP document, in the hope -- or more likely expectation -- that it would then be leaked by those Democrats to reporters. In fact, the New York Times stated that it was Democratic staffers who were distributing the "talking points" document.

Power Line has more. Interestingly, even when it appeared obvious that there were real questions about the authenticity of the memo yesterday afternoon, the usual suspects were still talking it up. Like Clintonista Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian today. I wonder when the media and Democratic apologies will be forthcoming.

The talking points memo was indeed written by a Mel Martinez aide. Despite the fact that no Republicans admit to having seen it, it was idiotic for the 'former' aide to have written it. I was wrong. Well, life goes on.

Cal Thomas on the "Pig Book"

Cal Thomas, at Townhall this morning, questions what happened to the Republicans' promise ten years ago to take control of the budget process and exercise spending restraint in Washington. A decade later, wasteful spending is as rampant as ever.

Sadly, Republicans have been seduced by the love of other people's money and many (there are a few holdouts, but not enough to change much) have succumbed to the same temptations that enveloped big-spending Democrats. Only the "uniforms" have changed. The rules of this game remain the same.

The 2005 "Congressional Pig Book," published by Citizens Against Government Waste, comes out in early April and will help expose some of the taxpayer-funded projects of Congress. In Cal Thomas' words, "The Pig Book is an annual reminder that Congress has become the nation's biggest whore and taxpayers are the johns."

Let's hope it exposes why we're giving $100,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation, $450,000 to the Baseball Hall of Fame, $150,000 for turfgrass research in WV, or hundreds of other pork projects around the country.

Kyrgyzstan: The Next Democratic Domino

After weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan, protestors stormed the presidential compund in the capital, Bishkek, and seem to have gained control of the building. It appears that pressure is mounting for President Askar Akayev to step down. (For all those who don't know where Kyrgyzstan is - I had to look it up the other day - the country borders Uzbekistan, China, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Obviously the people are not oblivious to recent democratic event in the Ukraine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Protesters stormed the presidential compound in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, seizing control of the symbol of power after clashing with riot police who had surrounded it during a large opposition rally. The defense minister was led out of the building by demonstrators...Protesters, who appeared to control the building, threw papers and portraits of President Askar Akayev out of windows. It was unclear where he was.

Meanwhile, Registan says that Uzbek opposition parties are supportive but warned against increased repression:

Exiled leaders of the two main Uzbek opposition parties, Erk (Freedom) and Birlik (Unity), have offered enthusiastic support to the opposition movement in Kyrgyzstan in media statements, but warned that it could lead to increased repression in Uzbekistan.

“After the Georgian and Ukrainian colour revolutions Uzbek opposition and international NGOs have been the target of a government clampdown. No matter what the outcome of events in Kyrgyzstan, the Uzbek government will use it as an excuse to take even tougher measures against any dissent in the country,” an independent local political analyst told IRIN, on condition of anonymity.

Gateway Pundit and Publius Pundit have more on the story.

It looks like President Akayev has resigned and may have fled the country. What hath Bush created?!?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Now What Does Jeb Bush Do?

At a press conference just a little while ago, Governor Jeb Bush spoke to the media and responded to a question about the right to intervene in Terri Schiavo's death. Although there is no transcript available and I don't have his answer verbatim, Bush and his counsel stated that Florida's Department of Children and Family Services has a legal right to intervene and take custody of Schiavo. He stated this as Florida's senate was debating a bill to save Terri's life, perhaps as a way to put pressure on a few wobbly senators to vote in favor of passing the legislation.

Now that the bill has been defeated in the Florida senate by margin of 21-18, Jeb Bush is in a difficult position. If he does nothing after he stated the state has a right to intervene, many people will not forgive him for letting Schiavo die. If he does intervene, the media will excoriate him for being "another Bush tyrant" and acting against the will of the legislature and the judiciary.

Counterterrorism Blog

Thanks to Josh, who emailed me a link to a great counterterrorism blog, which I've added to my blogroll. It's got some great stuff, including this post from today about a successful raid on a terrorist camp in Iraq:
[Ministry of Interior] Special Police Commandos Killed 85 Terrorists, Arrested one Algerian.The MOI's Special Police Commandos conducted a successful raid on a terrorist training camp in Samarra which killed 85 terrorists and led to the successful capture of one Algerian. Commandos were acting on information they had received about a terrorist training camp near Samarra.

Kofi Annan's UN "Reforms"

Kofi Annan’s proposed “reforms” at the UN remind me of most Democrats’ idea of “tax reform” (which typically consists of nothing more than raising taxes). Kofi’s 63-page report is an obvious attempt to deflect the rampant corruption within the UN and to create the impression it knows the necessary fix. And all this just a week before Paul Volcker is set to give an interim report about the Oil-for-Food scandal. Instead, the main result of his “reforms” is to increase in the size, power and cost of the UN. He wants the U.S. to quadruple its funding to .7% of GNP so the UN can distribute it to the developing world..

While Claudia Rossett points out a few of the noble ideas, including a reform of the Human Rights Commission and the Security Council and an international definition of terrorism (which many will never accept), she correctly highlights the proposals’ larger problems:

Mr. Annan forges on to propose nothing less than reforming the entire known universe, via the U.N., while he bangs the drum for a budget to match. He wants to expand his own staff, change the world's climate, end organized crime, eliminate all private weapons, and double U.N.-directed development aid to the tune of at least $100 billion a year, "front-loaded," for his detailed plan to end world poverty.

Fred Gedrich, a former U.S. State Department official, addressed one of the real problems with the UN that needs to be addressed:

A prime reason for U.N. ineffectiveness is because 102 of 191 U.N. members do not have truly free and democratic governments. Fully 47 members are dictatorships and six are terrorist states. They have forged alliances among themselves and the U.N.'s largest voting bloc…This circumstance explains why the U.N. did not stop dictators and thugs from murdering millions of innocents in places like Iraq, Rwanda and Sudan.

If Kofi really wants reform at the UN, he should start with his own resignation rather than increasing his power.